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Mon 19th October 2015

Nordic Walk Rothbury Carriageway Drive Saturday 17th October 2015

Nordic Walk  Rothbury Carriageway Drive  Saturday 17th October 2015

We met the group in the shop and with a couple of late cancellations this was a very small group.

Poles at the ready we headed outside and warmed up.  I told everyone the start of the route which involved walking up Gravelly Bank, as always there were lots of groans as it was going uphill.  Lesley asked if we could have a stop somewhere with a nice view so she could have her lunch.  I said I knew the exact spot.

We started off with the instruction that the group could stop if they needed to but with the poles they would probably not have to stop as often, if at all.  I also said I would correct techniques if needed.

We got to the top of the bank and a swift admiration of the view (not catching our breath).  Onwards and upwards (literally) to the path which took us past the farm, Gimmer Knowe, I decided to try and remember what Gimmer Knowe meant and failed miserably, so a swift text to Jon, the shepherd of Shepherds Walks, gave us the meaning.  A gimmer is a ewe before she has had her first lamb and a knowe is a hill.

I joked with the group that I didn’t know if we turned right at Gimmer Knowe or if it was further along.  We went further along and turned right at the next gate to take us up (yup another small hill) to the carriageway itself.

We started along the carriageway, which was the route that Lord Armstrong’s visitors used when they visited Cragside.  Lesley tripped over her own feet and fell onto the grass right into a pile of sheep poo, luckily she was unhurt but her knees were mucky (as you can see from the photograph).  She brushed herself off and we carried on. 

The carriageway is a lovely path to Nordic walk along as it is flat.  We headed up to the viewpoint which overlooks Rothbury whilst Lesley and Norma ate their lunch, Anne admired the amazing view and a few photographs were taken. 

We headed back to the carriageway and through the forest where we came across a wide array of mushrooms, indeed this walk could have been called The Mushroom Walk unfortunately we weren’t knowledgeable enough to name them.

We had a choice of two paths and we turned right and came across a tree across the path which we had to duck underneath (not easy when you have a rucksack) although Norma made it look so easy as she gracefully went underneath but this wasn’t the worst part of this path, oh no we came across a gully with a tree across it, we knew we weren’t going to go across this and after watching a couple scramble across we all laughed and as is usual with a Julie Nordic walk turned around went back and this time went straight ahead.

Down this path we all stopped to eat blackberries and blaeberries (bilberries) which were delicious and Lesley said she would have to remember the route to come back to pick them.

Off we walked down to Rothbury and back to the shop.  Our main concern on this walk was whether we would get back in time for tea and cakes but not to worry we did.

Cool down and stretches completed.  We ended our day in Tomlinsons for tea, coffee, banana and choc chip bread, Malteser cake, Bakewell tart and coffee cake.  I explained the up and coming walks for 2015 and also the ideas which we have for 2016 and it looks to be a very interesting year for Nordic walking.

I hope you all enjoyed your day and I hope to see you again soon.


Mon 19th October 2015

Nordic Walking Training Saturday 17th October 2015

The weather for the day was perfect, 12° and light clouds in the sky.

We met at the Shepherds Walks shop and sorted out poles.  We headed down to the Riverside to start the training.

We worked through the first 6 basic steps of Nordic walking including the exercises to reiterate the actions.  This didn’t take the whole 2 hours as the steps were picked up very quickly so we headed along the Rothbury Railway line to practice and I could correct and work on any issues, if needed.

We finished the walk and headed back to the shop for lunch before meeting the rest of the group for the walk in the afternoon.

I hope you enjoyed your training and hope to see you on one of our walks very soon.


Tue 29th September 2015

Volcanic Walk - Hedghope Hill

Volcanic Walk - Hedghope Hill

We assembled on probably one of the finest days for walking this year.   Blue skies, no wind, warm and with excellent visibility.This was a challenging walk which comprised three fairly distinct parts.

Firstly, there was the ascent of Hedgehope Hill (714m). Now this hill is steep! But with plenty of rests we made it. As ever the 'gain from the pain’ was all about the views in all compass directions. From the summit we could pick out all of the other hills over 600m in the Cheviot range (Cheviot, Comb Fell, Wyndy Gyle, Cushat Law, Bloodybush Edge).

Secondly, we walked a couple of miles over blanket bog to Comb Fell.  We did this in 'zig zag' fashion as dictated by the wet and not so wet ground. One or two boots went in too deep here and there. We then descended from the fell into the valley…a short leg but requiring a lot of concentration because we were 'off track’.

The third and final leg was along the valley…but we needed to cross the burn thirteen times (counted by Harry) before the track was defined enough to continue.  It was whilst returning along the valley floor that one of our group slipped into the burn.  Myself and other members of the group were well placed to assist her in getting clear of the water. Apart from getting wet from head to toe she was unscathed and bravely walked on….albeit with squelchy boots. We dried our boots a little further on whilst another member of the group took a ‘wild swim’ at Harthope Linn.  I must remember to bring my swimming gear in the future because we now know from first hand evidence that the swim is ‘invigorating”.

Along the way we noted the Alder groves along the river bank, drystone walls, different kinds of mosses (Star, Antler and Sphagnum) and flowers (Tormentil). In the walk description for this walk I mentioned Herons. On cue, at the end of the walk, there was a Heron flypast!  So graceful.  I wish I could really summon up one of these events whenever I wanted to!!  There was good spirit in the group. Katie, the collie dog, was as fresh as a daisy at the end of the day…giving us a display of her jumping skills towards the end of the walk.

This was my final guided walk of the season. It was good to have the company and assistance of Shepherds Walk’s volunteers, Julie and Martin as well Jon himself on this occasion. If you are reading this and you have been on one of my walks then I would like to say that I have enjoyed your company.

Roy Kennard (Hillguide)
Julie Barnett (Volunteer)
Martin Ainscow (Volunteer)