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Tue 7th May 2013

Coastal Challenge 2013

Coastal Challenge 2013

Just under 300 people signed up to do the third Northumberland Coastal Challenge this year and what a day.

After a damp start the walkers and runners became bathed in lovely spring sunshine as they took on the 26.2 miles along one of the best coastlines in the country.

After checking in at Alnmouth all the walkers got bussed upto Budle Bar, just north of Bamburgh then they followed the Northumberland Coastal Path all the way back to Alnmouth, passing through Bamburgh, Seahouses, Newton, Craster and Boulmer before finally getting back to Alnmouth.

People of all ages took on this epic challenge with many people raising money for charities close to their heart.

Please enjoy the images and YouTube film and I very much hope you can join us in 2014.

Time lapse video taken during the morning check in.

Have you ever thought what goes on when all the runners and walkers go home after the Coastal Challenge Walk. 22 seconds gives you an insight what we do at 8.00 pm.

Thu 2nd May 2013

Elsdon Nordic Walk

Elsdon Nordic Walk

What a cold and blustery day! Heavy rain to start the morning, will our walk go ahead? A quick check on the weather forecast and it predicted a dry, sunny morning starting from 10am. Lets go for it!

The weather man was right. On arriving in Elsdon village the skies cleared and it was dry but still with a cold wind. People sat waiting in their cars to keep warm and we all piled the layers on until we got going.

During our warm up routine I talked about the route we were to take, the terrain and the incline. We started our walk following a tarmac track through a farm, were the farmer on his quad bike was tending to his ewes and lambs. The track was slightly uphill and so we soon warmed up. On reaching the farmhouse we regrouped and I broke the news – we are going up a rather steep hill. Yes, that one in front of us!

After a few words of encouragement, a reminder of how to Nordic walk up a hill and with the reassurance it was not a race, we set off, each person at their own pace. And ....... we all made it! Short stride length and leaning forward onto those poles really did help. This was a tough climb, requiring real grit and determination to climb. I stopped halfway up to ask if everyone was ok and got lots of smiling faces but no words said! What a great feeling when we reached the top though and the views over Elsdon were amazing. We could see the snow on top of Cheviot as well as the Harwood Forest stretching over to Winterís Gibbet.

Once we had our breath back we continued over the brow of the hill, crossing styles through rough pasture ground and eventually into green fields. The benefit of all the wind was that it was mostly dry underfoot, with the exception of the odd muddy area beside the dry stone wall styles.

As we began to lose our height and head down towards Harwood forest the hill steepened slightly, giving us an excellent chance to practise our downhill technique. From here we returned to a solid underfoot track, which meandered through Harwood forest, taking us back to the farmhouse where we had begun our climb.

Whilst continuing along the tarmac track, back to the start point, we noticed that the lambs looked different to their mothers. Although the ewes were Scottish blackfaced sheep, with a prominent black face, their lambs had mostly white faces with black markings around their features. They were mule lambs, which are bred mainly in Northumberland. And if you want to know more about them....come on a Shepherds Nordic Walk!

A hard Nordic Walk but very rewarding all the same. Stunning views of the Northumbrian landscape and the satisfaction of knowing that you really did climb that hill.

Mon 29th April 2013

Two Chimneys and A Chapel, Allendale

Two Chimneys and A Chapel, Allendale

We met in the market place at Allendale as the sun started to shine and the cold morning air began to warm.

Actually it was raining and seemed to have returned to winter again but never mind as the group seemed up for a decent walk whatever the weather was doing.

Off we stroud at a fair lick.  We did ease the pace just enough to stop at points of interest on our climb up to the high point on Dryburn moor including the entrance to the Blacket level mine and the site of the Allen smelt mill. It was here that despite the really interesting industrial history we discussed the Allendale brewery beer (on the way into the site), the availability of tea and nice cakes (at the teashop on site) and on the way out the Allendale brewery again.

Having reached the top of the moor we appreciated what the view should look like on a nice day and that the best place to view the skill of the chimney builders was to get inside it out of the wind and rain.

Crossing into the West Allen valley we speculated on the accuracy of the weather forecast via the phone. The phone said the sun should come out at 12.00 and it did (well almost).

Feeling the benefit of a lessening of the wind and rain we continued on to a lunch stop at the Keenley Methodist Chapel (the oldest, working Chapel in the world etc etc).

Now on the home run along the banks of the Allen we negotiated a wee 'bad step' in the path. Someone helpfully suggested that if Paul the guide fell in the river he should make sure his Shepherds Walks uniform doesn't get wet!

Arriving back at the smelt mill we naturally fell into the tea shop before the last short leg back into Allendale village.