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Tue 9th April 2013

Leki Nordic Walking Festival

Leki Nordic Walking Festival

At Shepherds Walks we have been Nordic Walking for many years and over that time we have really enjoyed meeting, and Nordic Walking, with many people so what better way to celebrate this than to have a Nordic Walking Festival.

The number of people attending exceeded all our expectations and it was great to get Leki on board to support the event.   To have them along on the day really made for a real festival feel.

With so many courses during the day and Nordic Walks taking place we also brought in some of the best Nordic Walking instructors the North East has to offer with these coming from all different backgrounds. We have worked with all of them before and really appreciate their enthusiasm and commitment to Nordic Walking.

The day before had been a lovely warm day and the Sunday started off in a similar fashion but it was a little colder when the sun went in.

At 10.00 the first of the hourly Nordic Walking taster sessions started with the ‘Take your skills to a new level’ course starting at 10.30. There was a really good atmosphere with many people truly out for the day and browsing, talking and looking over the Leki products between their sessions.

The hour break for lunch vanished in a flash as the taster sessions restarted and the larger groups congregated ready for both the 2 and 5 mile walks in the afternoon.

They went off and returned at a very good pace and when Nordic Walkers come back with a big smile on their faces you know it has been a good walk.

A very big thank you must go to everybody who came along on the day and for all the great feedback we have received after the event.

This is an event we are planning to move around the region, so we can offer different walks every year. I very much hope you can join us again next year.

Tue 9th April 2013

St Oswalds Way - part 1

St Oswalds Way - part 1

Sundance had been quietly soft shoe shuffling during the week and it had worked for Saturday but had he soft shoe shuffled to soon?  Very early Sunday morning even before the larks had rizzed! Mike gave a sigh of relief it was DRY but overcast and cold.

At 7.00 Richard picked up Mike and they set off for Belford to meet the group.  By the time the taxi arrived everyone was getting ready and so Richard and three of the group set off for the start on Holy Island as soon as the taxi left the mini buses arrived.  Mike was so keen to get going that in the mad scramble to get everyone on board that he very nearly left two of the group behind.

We met up again with Richard and others at the start of the Pilgrims Way where he explained (wittered) about the tides, the sand formations, the fact the marker poles are a fairly recent addition.  Eventually we set off across the sands heading towards Snook Point, at first people tried to dodge the puddles but in the end just walked through them.  As we approached Snook point we entered an area of Eel Grass this was just an excuse for deep mud and puddles hidden by vegetation.  Eventually we reached the tarmac causeway the walking underfoot was easier but we then had to dodge the traffic.  In the end we managed to reach the main land and had a short break.

After a couple of fields the next issue was to cross the North East main line, a quick phone call to the signal man on the phone provided we were given permission to cross and then after another quick phone call to say we had all crossed safely we started to climb up away from the sea and make our way inland to the next major obstacle, crossing the A1 this took about 5 minutes as a constant stream of traffic first one way then the other made the crossing a waiting game.  Eventually all crossed safely and after walking through the village of Fenwick and another witter we stopped for lunch.

After lunch the group was split into three allowing for people to walk more at there own pace. As usual mike helped bring up the rear.  The route now enters Detchant Wood and although a pleasant stroll little in the way of views.  Just after leaving the wood St Cuthbert’s Way  heads west whilst St. Oswalds continues south.  It was along the next section we reached the high point of the day 165m. A good track lead to Swinhoe Farm then one last climb and it was all downhill To Belford.

Mon 25th March 2013

Coastal Challenge Walk 2013 - Training Walk 1

Coastal Challenge Walk 2013 - Training Walk 1

A hardy group of walkers who have signed up for the Coastal Challenge Walk 2013 met at Beadnell for a 12 mile training walk. The country was covered in snow but by some weather quirk the North East coast had escaped the snow fall that caused white out conditions. However the wind was coming directly off the North Sea and made the walk a considerable challenge. The wind stripped warmth from our bodies and good clothing was essential.

The group were taken by minibus to Waren Mill on the edge of Budle Bay to walk southwards to Beadnell. And southwards we began walking glad to be going following the coastal path and St Oswald's Way signs along the lane, up through the wood and across fields. The sea and coast are not visible from this early part of the route but after about 3 miles on  arise the magnificent castle at Bambrough comes into view. So far so good we were protected from the wind until we came to the exposed links course at Bambrough when turning into the wind (we had no choice) it was simply a matter of heads down and get on with it. A small cave underneath the castle provided a short rest bite but the group didn't linger and after a quick drink and sandwich to eat we set off for Seahouses.

Crossing a muddy field that threatened to suck the boots off our feet was followed by a flatter section that helped us to get up a good rhythm - this was after all a training walk.

The approach to Seahouses follows a wooded path which merely lulled us into a false sense of security because when we got to the harbour in Seahouses and the first check point on the actually Challenge Walk we had turned once again into the full force of the wind. The snow began at this point as we searched in vain to look for a sheltered spot for more to drink and eat. We huddled into a doorway in full sight of diners in a near by hotel - were they laughing at us?? No matter this group were up for the weather and to prevent us getting too cold we set off agin for the last leg to Beadnell.

The route out of Seahouses follows the coast about 3 meters from the sea for about half a mile. This was a half mile of searing cold as we were walking directly into the wind. The sea was spectacular with white topped waves curning up froth and leaving no beach to walk on even if we had wanted to. Across the links out of Seahouses the route turns abruptly by 90 degrees. This took us out of the wind and there was a group cheer at this point - we felt as if our ordeal was just about over. The walk along the road to Beadnell is not the prettiest part of the route by it was probably what we needed to finish off the most amazing day.

Well done to all the walkers. As a training walk it was great- we talked about techniques and strategies including pacing and eating on the go. We also worked out that the best way to recover is with a good pint - of milk (believe it or not).

Thanks to the group for a truly memorable day. I for one am looking forwards to meeting again at the next training walk in April.

Chris Constable.