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Thu 27th August 2015

Nordic Walk - Pilgrims Causeway to Holy Island - 22nd August 2015

Nordic Walk - Pilgrims Causeway to Holy Island - 22nd August 2015

Weather forecast checked, poles packed I headed up to Holy Island to meet Laura (my willing volunteer) and wait for our first group of 15 Nordic walkers of the weekend.

We sat at the Barn at Beal and went through the plan for the weekend.

Laura checked off participants and I took the new members of the group to be taught the technique before we started the walk proper.

We had a group of 4 who had travelled from Wakefield to join us, obviously our reputation is known in other counties.

The group got together and warm up completed.  I explained we had just under a mile to walk on the path to the causeway where we would then take our shoes off to walk across the sands following the poles which should be kept on our right.

On reaching the Pilgrimís causeway whilst taking our shoes off another group of about 20 people asked which we were walking and decided to follow us.  Walking over the seaweed was interesting as some people were slipping but nobody from our group fell over at this point.

We headed up the sands and came across a large expanse of water which was quite deep, the shorter members of the group skirted the outside whilst the taller walked through the deeper part.

We were then walking on sand and seaweed and occasional patches of salt-water mud.  The salt-water mud was very interesting and proved to be the point where a couple of members decided to fall over (just for a change it was me – itís always me!).  I decided to try and step over the ditch where the salt-water mud was but decided to fall, up to my knees with the tar looking mud splashed everywhere, laughter ensued for a change.  The next walker to try was Mary who decided to try and hurdle it.  Unfortunately she ended up even deeper in the mud including her hand which she put down.  Once we realised Mary was okay our group and the 20 other people all laughed.  Luckily Mary has a great sense of humour.

We continued towards Holy Island and another large expanse of water where we took the opportunity to wash our legs and feet.  The salt-water mud comes off really easily.

There was a lot of noise and we soon realised that it was seals who were just in sight.

The group had got very stretched but the beauty of this walk is that everyone can be seen so it isnít a problem.  We all stopped at the end of the causeway to dry our feet and put our shoes back on before finding a coffee shop to have a break.  Most of us went to the Pilgrims Coffee House but a few others took their sandwiches to another part of the island.

Refreshments consumed we all headed back to the sands with the promise of another coffee shop at the end.

No dramas this time as we didnít walk through the salt-water mud.

We all got back to the causeway, dried our feet and put our shoes on again and headed up the path to the Barn at Beal.

Thankfully the weather forecast was wrong and there was no rain.

Cool down and stretches done.  I thanked everyone for coming along and hoped they had enjoyed it and hoped to see them again. 

Marie thanked me for the walk and specifically mentioned how excellent the customer service she had received from Shepherds Walks before and during the walk. I said it is something we pride ourselves on.

Special thanks to Laura for your help.  It was invaluable.

We will be setting up a Facebook group for Nordic walking when we can think of a title for it.

Hope to see you all on 19th September for Humbleton Hill (near Wooler).

Thank you

Julie & Laura xx

Wed 26th August 2015

Charming Cheviot Valley

Charming Cheviot Valley

The forecast for the day was promising and turned out to be pretty accurate. Clear blue skies and warm though rather breezy. At times the gusts of winds made conversation difficult, the wind literally taking our words away. But we persisted anyway!

Most of the ascent gained on this walk is within the first mile as we climb the hillfort Great Hetha. We had fine views towards the Newton Tors, the Collingwood Oaks and towards Ring Chesters. We noted the name of the house below Easter Tor which is called Torlee House; the house in the lee of the Tor!!

This part of the Cheviots is very serene. None more so than the view from Wideopen up towards Black Hag. A charming valley tucked away in a corner of the Cheviots. Beautiful to behold. At the Border Ridge we sheltered from the wind by sitting with our backs to England admiring the vista towards Scotland. A group of mountain bikers appeared…we admired their wheels but preferred our boots!

Walking through the forest on our way down we found Fly Agaric ( poisonous having hallucinogenic effects) and the Common Yellow Russulla (Brittlegill). It was once possible to lose your way through this woodland section but unfortunately someone has tied red and white ribbon everywhere to mark the route!!

Once back at Elsdonburn it was an easy stretch back to the car park, which for once, was full to overflowing. We are so lucky to have these hills on our doorstep! A great day out.

Roy Kennard (Hillguide)
Moira Smith  (Volunteer)

Wed 19th August 2015

Rock Art Tour of the Cheviot HIlls

Rock Art Tour of the Cheviot HIlls

We gathered on a fine Sunday morning with stunning views towards the Cheviot hills providing a backdrop for our initial briefing. This was to be a walk with a difference because, we were anticipating seeing some of the best examples of Neolithic Rock Art in Northumberland, as we progressed through the day. We headed south from Doddington and made our way to Weetwood Moor where we picked up a transfer to Chatton Hill. The rock panels were all located at places with extraordinary views. Indeed, this may have been a part of their purpose. Earlier people saying, ĎThis is our place in the landscapeí. We noted the different motifs on the rock panels and talked about their possible meaning. A meaning , which of course, is essentially lost to us.

We took lunch at Weetwood Bridge the walls of which are at a perfect height for walkers to sit on! We walked 7 miles with relative ease. The only four legged member of the group showing no signs of tiring. The rock shelter at the end, discreetly hidden in the hillside bracken, was spectacular. It provided a fitting finale to our day.

Some of the group were interested in my wifeís next art exhibition which will feature some interpretive prints of rock carvings. This will be at the Holy Biscuit Factory, near the Biscuit Factory, in Newcastle. November 16-22nd. Iíll be at the Preview 18.30 - 20.30 on Monday 16th. Maybe see you there.

We had a good day and thank you all for joining us.

Roy Kennard  (Hillguide)
Moira Smith (Volunteer)