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Tue 17th December 2019

Simonside and Lordenshaws 2019

Simonside and Lordenshaws 2019

14th December 2019

It was a sunny and clear morning as we met at the riverside car park in Rothbury but there was a bitterly cold wind, and this proved to be the feature of the day.

Mark introduced himself to those walkers new to Shepherds Walks and outlined the day’s route. As we made our way up to Whitton Hillhead we saw the snow clad Cheviot Hills in the distance and then proceeded to Great Tosson passing the ruined peel tower. Lunch was taken in as sheltered a spot as possible at the appropriately named Windy Crag!

For the middle of December the weather was good and the visibility excellent so majestic views of this part of Northumberland were enjoyed. We made our way steadily climbing to the foot of the Simonside Ridge and on to the cairn at the summit. Here the wind was exceptionally strong but was fortunately blowing in the right direction as we made our way on the paved path to Dove Crag and down to Lordenshaws. We passed the seasonal Christmas tree on the ridge (strong guy ropes hopefully prevented it being blown away).

When we returned to our starting point Mark wished everyone a safe journey home and of course, thanked them for coming and wished a very Merry Christmas.


Thu 17th October 2019

Warkworth to Craster 2019

Warkworth to Craster 2019

It was a glorious October morning as we met at Craster ready to be transferred to the start of the day’s walk at Warkworth. There were 16 walkers – 13 were new to Shepherds Walks and Sam the beagle. On the minibus to Warkworth, Mark introduced himself and outlined the route and format for the day.

Before walking across the golf course to the dunes, Mark talked about the history of Warkworth castle and its links to the Percy family. As we followed the coastal path to Alnmouth and further on to Boulmer, fantastic panoramic views of the Northumbrian coast and the beaches were enjoyed by all. Lunch was on the beach at Boulmer where Mark again recounted some of the events “on this day in history” and talked about the smuggling history of this small fishing village and the R.A.F. base.

Our route continued along the coastal path past the idyllic Sugar Sands and on to the 8000 year old site of the Howick “round house”. Mark talked here about Howick Hall – the ancestral home of the Grey family, and its famous Prime Minister Charles Earl Grey, renowned for introducing Earl Grey tea to the U.K. in the early 19th century.

As we approached Craster and with the iconic Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance, we witnessed a huge flock of geese – possibly in excess of 1500 - heading south making their distinctive calls. Before we walked into the village, Mark talked a little about the history of the castle and the fabulous Craster kippers  and wished everyone a safe journey home. This was a wonderful walk with unbelievable weather and all who walked thoroughly enjoyed the day.


Tue 10th September 2019

Hartside to High Cantle

Hartside to High Cantle

Hartside to High Cantle – September 8th 2019

It was a glorious September morning as we drove up the Breamish Valley to Hartside – our starting point for today’s walk. Mark welcomed everyone – in particular those walkers new to Shepherds Walks – and outlined the route for the day.

As we walked down to Alnammoor farm and began the steady ascent up Little Dod to join Salters Road lovely clear views of the surrounding hills were enjoyed. At a coffee stop Mark talked about the old drovers and traders routes which traverse the Cheviots and in particular Salters Road. We passed to remote farms of Low and High Bleakhope ( the latter now sadly unoccupied) and stopped for lunch at a sheepfold at the foot of High Cantle. Unfortunately a huge number of midges forced us to quickly vacate the area and climb out of the valley to a much more comfortable rocky outcrop. It was after this short but steep climb that ongoing discussions began regarding Mark’s definition of a climb, an incline and a hill!

The remainder of the walk over the moor via Rig cairn to Linhope was quite simply stunning with magnificent panoramic views and the mass that is Hedgehope and Comb Fell rising above us. Mark took the opportunity to give a very brief history of the Border Reivers and Border Law.

Before returning to the cars at Hartside we made the short detour to take in Linhope Spout which is always a lovely spot although today the aroma of several BBQ’s spoilt the ambience somewhat! Mark thanked everyone for making the walk so enjoyable and wished all a safe journey home.