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Whitton Hillhead Nordic Walk

Whitton Hillhead Nordic Walk

Sun 20th August 2017

A very small group of Nordic Nuts met nice and early so we set off dot on time for my favourite walk, Whitton Hillhead.

We walked up Whitton Bank, passed Sharp's Folly and continued up to the Cup & Ring Marks (Chris decided that martians had created the marks). I pointed out the area beyond Garleigh Moor which has a hillfort on it.

Down to Lordenshaws Car Park and along the road towards Simonside Forest (with Simonside, Dove Crag and Old Stell Crag as our backdrop and the stunning purple heather.  

Heading along the down to the Sandstone Way passed the old quarry workings, along the road to the footbridge to take us to Thropton, crossing the bridge next up was Physic Lane, we had 2 options half way up and Chris made the decision to walk across the fields (passed the hillfort) and down to Rothbury.

We passed many fruit trees, including plums, eating apples, crab apples, cooking apples, blackberries, raspberries, sloes.  Unfortunately we could only pick the blackberries and raspberries, which Sue and I duly did.

We also saw on our travels pineapple Mayweed, a few fungi, honeysuckle berries, bindweed, hogweed and butterburr.

Back in Rothbury, Tomlinson's was our cafe of choice, as always we were not diappointed.

It was a lovely relaxing walk, great weather, great company and in total 9.5 miles (sorry Martyn). 

Thank you all for coming along and I hope to see you very soon.

Info on Sharp's Folly

Sharpís Folly, or Tower, is reckoned to be the oldest folly in Northumberland. It is situated near Whitton, a little to the south of Rothbury, and was built in the 1720s by Rev Dr Thomas Sharp, Rector of Rothbury during 1720-58.

When Sharp (the son of the Archbishop of York) moved to the locality he set up his household in Whitton Tower. He was something of an eccentric, for sure, but, taking pity on the unemployed men of his parish, he hit upon the idea of building the 30-odd foot high ashlar structure as a sort of job-creation scheme.

It wasnít a folly in the purest sense, though, for the tower, after its construction, was thereafter used as an observatory for the reverendís astronomical interests. You could see the sea from its summit, apparently, until the nearby trees grew to obscure the view.

The tower is privately owned so the visitor cannot climb its internal cantilevered stone staircase. However, as you can see from the picture, passing hikers can get close enough for a good gawp.

Info on Cup & Ring Marks, Lordenshaws

Lordenshaws is home to one of Britainís biggest clusters of cup and ring marks.

At first sight the enigmatic swirls and circles etched into the stones could be mistaken for the work of water over many millennia, but are in fact unfathomable symbols carved some 5,000 years ago by our Neolithic ancestors.

Their purpose has been long forgotten, but you canít help but both admire the craftsmanship and the vision of the people who all those centuries ago recognised the landscapes inspiring and otherworldly nature.


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