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Mon 2nd July 2012

Cragside Challenge Walk 2012

Cragside Challenge Walk 2012

On Saturday 30th June just over 100 walkers set out and completed the 13 mile Cragside Challenge Walk.

The weather was great as they all passed along what I think is the best scenery Northumberland has to offer.

Please enjoy the YouTube Film and the pictures below.

I very much hope you can join us in 2013. More information about the 2013 Cragside Challenge Walk can be found here.

Mon 2nd July 2012

St Oswalds Way - Weldon Bridge to Rothbury

St Oswalds Way - Weldon Bridge to Rothbury

The North East had been hit by flash floods just the day before but thankfully the Friday of the Rothbury Walking Festival was the day the weather changed for the better.

At last we had a bit of heat in the sun and the air did not hang as heavy as it had been doing before the sky ‘emptied itself’ the day before.

We met at Rothbury Tourist Information Centre in the morning, jumped on the minibus and had a short transfer to the start of the walk.

After all the rain we had I moved the starting point to Thistleyhaugh, which is about ½ mile down the trail. I did this so we missed the short section which ran right next to the River Coquet, which had been in flood twelve hours earlier.

After a quick overview about St Oswald’s Way we head off along the trail with the sun on our backs.

The first farm we reached (Brinkheugh) we were greeted by a shed full of ‘pet lambs’. These will have been lambs that have been taken off their mothers due to either being a ‘triplet lamb’. They certainly thought it was feeding time and we could not convince them otherwise.

We got the glimpses of the historic Brinkburn Priory on the other side of the river. This beautiful 12th century church of the Augustinian priory of Brinkburn survives completely roofed and restored as we continued on keeping to the higher ground to the south of the River Coquet.

Just after Thorneyhaugh we found a great sheltered spot for lunch and the whole group could sit back and enjoy the warm sunshine with great views of the Cragside Estate to our left and the River Coquet down below.

Pauperhaugh was then our first break after lunch before we rose up from the river to West Raw and then on to join and follow the old Rothbury Branch Line. This is a really impressive approach into Rothbury village as you pass through deep cuttings and a wonderful dry path under foot.

The group had all been great company and the weather really made for a great walk along this, one of my favourite sections of the 97 mile St Oswald’s Way.

Mon 2nd July 2012

Old Roads Upper Coquetdale

Old Roads Upper Coquetdale

Well Sundance had danced and soft shoe shuffled the night away in the hope that we did not experience another thunderstorm similar to Thursdays.

After a very bright and sunny start to the morning by the time the group had met up at Wedder’s Leap Carpark the clouds had built up with some ominous dark grey ones coming over the hills.

The walk started with a gentle stroll back down the road for about 15 mins until we came to a finger post just before the road crossed Dumbhope Burn.  The finger post  pointed up the hillside, after a shortish steep climb  the gradient eased until we had reached the crest of the col.  From here we had some good views all the way round.

Yet another non existing path lead us down from the col.  Eventually we found a way marker but even this did not help Mike who made us jump across the stream only to find a bridge some twenty metres further down stream. From here the path down was clearly visible and took us towards Carshope (a Farm now used by the army as a billet when on exercise).

After a lot of discussion about where we should stop for dinner, a suitable stone wall was found to be used as a back rest and in glorious sunshine we had lunch.  After lunch we walked to Carshope and then joined the valley road which we followed to Carlcroft Farm.

Using a footbridge we crossed over to the other side of the river and joined a footpath that climbed up diagonally up Hindside Knowe.  As we approached Stogie’s Cleugh  the path once more became none existent.  It was only when we crested the ridge and joined The Street that once more we had a path/track to follow.

A steep descent down The Street brought us to Slyme Foot and the valley road. We continued along the road to Windyhaugh Farm passing the site of a fulling mill (A dig will be taking place here later in the summer).

Once more we left the valley road walking through the famous hay meadows of Barrowburn Farm.  Even more famous now is the warm welcome and excellent food you find at Barrowburn Farm tea room. After a welcome coffee/tea and cake break we continued along the path to the camping barn originally the  School built in  the 1800’s before walking to the Wedder Leap footbridge and back to the cars.