28th February 2012 

Footsteps in Northumbria 

I sat in Tomlinsons Cafe in Rothbury eagerly awaiting the arrival of Patrick Norris of Footsteps in Northumbria guided walks and my bacon sandwich!


Tomlinsons Cafe 

Both arrived on time and once I'd demolished the sandwich we set off for the Simonside Hills.

We parked close to the Lordenshaw, an area that contains several Bronze Age cairns and an Iron Age enclosure. The enclosure was later used as a Romano-British settlement.

ring and cup cup and ring plaque 

The knowledge that Patrick has of the area became apparent very early on with his overview of the settlements that we were standing in, on and around as we did a circumnavigation of the site.

We then set off on a walk along the Simonside Hills to take in The Beacon, Dove Crag, Old Stell Crag and finally Simonside itself.

Deer Wall towards The Beacon 

Although we climbed all the way to Simonside the ascents were fairly short and not difficult. I was aware that Patrick was always aware of my situation but was not in any way over bearing in his leadership.

misty Simonside 

Even though there was mist at times, as we walked the wide ridge, we still had great views across Coquetdale, towards the North Sea coast and south towards Fontburn Reservoir and the Harwood Forest.

Beyond Simonside we dropped down into the northern edge of Harwood Forest and headed south. Due to recent forestry operations the area was not completely dense forest and logging opened up fresh views as we meandered along the forest track to Chartners, an isolated foresters cottage.

open vista across felled forest Chartners Cottage 

We turned left here joining the Border Country Ride marked along its route with blue horseshoe C's stamped into the top of wooden stakes.

As we approached Fallowless Lough Patrick came into his own seeing toads in the undergrowth that I would have walked past and I thought I was good at finding things!

We were half way round now and still had lots to talk about with Patrick's knowledge continuing to surprise and enlighten me. 

Just before Fallowlees we turned north along the st oswald's way through a small section of wood left behind from the forestry work before it opened up into a wasteland left by the tree felling. Rocks have been placed on stumps to supplement the waymark posts to guide walkers through the area.

Tree stump with rock on it to guide the way 

Once across this felled landscape the route crossed a forest track and dropped down along a wide forest break to rejoin the crossed track further into the valley bottom before crossing a metal bridge and starting a gradual ascent on the other side.

More to come...