Northumberland October 2019

Friday 25th

Rain. Rain. Huge rain. It took Liz and Ariel 5 and a half hours to reach me from the Forest of Dean. I watched TV turning the heating off and back on as their journey time increased. A pit stop and a transfer of interesting luggage (an axe and a bag seemingly full of footwear) from one Skoda Yeti to another and we were off into a wet time warp where for at least half the journey Google Maps told us it would take 3 hours and 22 minutes. If only. 5 soggy hours later we reached Church Cottage in Kyloe. Our landlords had kindly unpacked our Sainsbury’s delivery for us and left us a bottle of organic prosecco. Cheers.

Saturday 26th

Great to see our views across to Lindisfarne. We went shopping in Berwick. I managed to get run over by a car. My foot was trapped under its front wheel for a while but I came away completely unscathed, not even any bruising. I frightened myself and my friends and the driver for which I am truly sorry. I didn’t look before I crossed the road the second time because when I’d crossed it first I looked both ways, saw cars only going one way, saw cars parked facing the same way so made an incorrect assumption. I was lucky the driver was going slowly and that I was wearing new Doc Martens that are very rigid. Of course it was my left foot. But remarkably there is no damage. I have wanted to be dead but I don’t actually want to die. Not yet, not until I’ve finished sorting out the stuff in my house. And not then either. It was a salutary reminder that all it takes is one microsecond of inattention. I am walking around with so many dead loved ones I’m not that surprised it happened. After calming down from my idiocy we went to Cheswick and walked by the sea. Liz and I managed to walk in an area containing unexploded ordnance and quicksand! Back to gigli made by A. Yum. Started watching The Laundromat film with Meryl Streep about the Panama Papers.

Sunday 27th

My foot is none the worse. Remarkable boot. Not even a mark on the boot. From Craster we walked along by the sea to Dunstanburgh castle. At Greymare rock we sent Carol’s ashes off into the sea. A seal joined us while the crashing waves took the ashes away. Called in at Howick Hall for the slowest tea ever and an incorrectly delivered order then walked around the gardens. Back home along the lanes as the sun descended. Liz produced borscht, scrummy. We finished watching the Laundromat. Good movie.

Monday 28th

Ariel and I walked a good part of the way up The Cheviot but decided not to try the summit as it was very boggy and cold on the dark side. Instead we stayed in the sun to descend and bimbled about in some woods. We got back to Liz, a blazing fire, delicious kedgeree and a really rubbish film, Call Me By My Name which Netflix told us included “strong sex”. Only if you are a peach. It was very boring IMO.

Liz took this lovely photo of the steps near our cottage

Tuesday 29th

Billy Shiel’s boat from Seahouses around the Farne Islands. Good weather, a bit of bouncing on the waves, a lot of birds and a huge lot of seals, all sizes and ages. Only £15 for 90 minutes. Fab. Pit stop at the Ship Inn. To Ros Castle, a short steep climb for 360 views. Descended to magnificent burnt orange sunset. I made the green Thai curry, possibly the first time I’ve really cooked for other people since Carol died, and I enjoyed it. We tried to watch Capote movie but Liz and I fell asleep. Lovely day.

Wednesday 30th

We drove to Lindisfarne across the causeway. Straight into Pilgrims’ Coffee which sold nice coffee but was short on competent staff. Up to the castle for a good look round including a history talk. Around Gertrude Jekyll’s garden, over to the priory, the parish church and back to the car to get across the causeway before the tide came in. Home for lunch, then A and I went out for walks in different directions. I stayed out until dark. Dinner and another terrible movie, Roma.

Thursday 31st

We did our own things during the day. I went to Lowick and bought bread, then to Doddington. I did a circular walk to find a hill fort, a stone circle and a cup and ring stone. The paths were very overgrown with bracken and gorse and indistinct for most of the walk. I had to micro navigate using a mix of old and new tools all the way round. I found everything, well I found the hill fort easily enough, I wasn’t sure about the cup and ring marks because I didn’t really know what I was looking for. The stone circle (rems of) only had a solitary stone in a swamp of bracken. There may have been more but I didn’t want to do any more bracken than I had to. I got back to the cottage. We dined out at The Black Bull in Lowick 2 miles away. We all had really nice dinners. Back at the cottage we moved away from awful films and played Bananagram, Liz was very good and I was delighted to have been able to use the word buggery.

Liz and Ariel saw this hare on their walk

Friday 1st November

We set off to have a look at Kielder Forest, as we drove we talked about coffee at the observatory. But unlucky for us the road was being resurfaced just at that point so we couldn’t get there. Instead we had a look in the Alpnhaus (why no ‘e’?) where there is a swish B&B and an Alpine shop, all feeling pretty remote. We carried on to Corbridge where we stopped for our coffee, by this time it was well into the afternoon. Eventually we rocked up at The Moorcock in Norland which is on my doorstep and ate very well in the pub. I can’t rate this place highly enough. Then back to mine to recover from yet another mammoth journey.

Northumberland October 2017

We had a week in Longframlington at the end of October. It was a bit hard because C wasn’t very well. So much so that we missed the first day of our holiday. We took the A19 because the A1 was at a standstill.

We spent an afternoon looking at old churches which was fun. There are only a very few that I find truly make me feel at peace. Went to Whalton, Meldon and Bolam. It was so dark in Bolam church we had to use torches to look round.

One day was a trip to Morpeth for a few shops and then a very short walk at Druridge Bay so we could see the sea in the twilight.

Another day we went to Bamburgh and Seahouses and Budle Bay, going home a long way round via Wooler.

Whilst Carol dialysed, I went to Rothbury and hiked on the hills to look at the pre WW1 training trenches. They are quite distinctive but were more shallow than I expected from the photo I’d seen. I navigated to a 6 fig grid reference which was fun.

The other dialysis day, we had a look into Felton church which almost appears not to have a roof as you walk up to it. I went to Darden Lough to complete a walk we’d failed to finish. It wasn’t that great, annoying underfoot, the path was little used and the heather sort of grabbed my trouser bottoms and twirled them until they were really tight on my calves!! But there was a gorgeous sunset to reward me for my efforts.

We had 2 meals out, at the Northumberland Arms in Felton. Both our main courses were too sweet. Mine was beef with a jus. We also ate at the Anglers’ Arms about 10 minutes from the cottage. Straightforward pub food but relaxing because a straightforward pub.

On the way home we stopped off at Corbridge. Then routed ourselves to Blanchland just because I like it there and wanted to see it again. I drove back on the A68 because I hadn’t been on it before.



Bolam at dusk


Lovely faces at Whalton

Druridge Bay

Some old duffer

Rothbury trenches

Rothbury trenches

I have no idea, made me think of toast

Bamburgh Castle

Bamburgh with Lindisfarne in the background

Budle Bay


Darden Lough

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Shropshire mini break 

Tuesday 8th August

There was a problem with dialysis so we were late leaving. Arrived in Ashton Bowdler just south of Ludlow about 7.15. Quickly got settled in to Orchard House B&B then out to the Charlton Arms at Ludford 5 minutes away. We both had beef carpaccio starters and I also had a cheese soufflé starter. We shared a bowl of chips. Not bad.

Wednesday 9th August

C had cooked breakfast and I had continental. Finally got out about 11. First to Richard’s Castle to look at the nice old church with a great deal of discrimination on seating. From cheap seats to a massive box. Also an interesting screw thread on a huge old beam which stops the building from falling down.

Then to Knighton where cash machine ate Carol’s card grrr. But the bank itself wasn’t open on a Wednesday. To Aardvark books at Brompton Bryan where we lingered and ate cake. Then to Haye Park Wood near Ludlow for a short walk. Back to Orchard House and out again to The Baker’s Arms 7 minutes away in Orleton. C had chicken and mushroom pie with chips and salad and I had nut roast of the day with chips and salad. Chips were better than the night before. Nice food but a bit slow to arrive.

The very grand seats

Falling wall

The cheap seats

Cider press type screw

Thursday 10th August

Both had continental breakfast today. Out to Knighton early to see if the card can be recovered but no the machine has not only eaten it, it has destroyed it. Then to Bucknell which has a nice old post office and onto Bromfield to the Food Centre which is a sort of giant farm shop like Tebay services. Got some bits for lunch and supper. To Church Stretton but the road we wanted was shut so a long way round to get to our walk on the Long Mynd. Set off, had picnic, very warm in sun. C not really up to walking back so sent her on to road 300m away. I walked just over 1k back to the car and drove round to pick her up. A long way and it took ages because the road was narrow and there was lots of driving onto verge and backing up. Some drivers find this so hard to do and are completely unable to reverse using their mirrors. I know I shouldn’t get cross but if I can do it why can’t they?! Finally collected Carol who was loitering with some wild horses. We had to go back down and round following the road mending lorries which were way too big for the road and went very slowly until steam was coming out of my ears. At last they went left and we went right. Back to Church Stretton along with some more numpties. It was hot, just like the last time we were there. Wandered about and then back to Orchard House. Had our snacks downstairs. Out to cross the railway line to see the church but it was shut. It’s right on the River Teme, beautiful spot and Ashford Bowdler is a cul de sac so very quiet despite being poised between railway line and the A49.

Ashford Bowdler church

From the Long Mynd

Carol’s pals

Ye olde poste office

Friday August 11th

We had a rough night but managed to get up and leave the B&B in good time. Had a quick look in the little church which was now open, very peaceful and in a lovely location. Having been brought up in the church, I still love churches even though as Carol says, I’m a complete heathen.

Drove into Ludlow, parked up and wandered around. C got the card sorted out. Drove to the Green Cafe as unlikely that C would get back up the hill very easily. C had an omelette and I had pasta with tomato sauce. Simple dishes done very well.

Stopped at the Food Centre after leaving Ludlow and then headed for home which took a very long time indeed.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Walk log late 2015 to early 2017

This is just a post to catch up for myself on walks I was unable to record at the time because more pressing things were going on. Keeping up with walking helped me to cope with the stresses of Chris’s illness, and she encouraged me to keep at it. Some of these walks I can barely remember, even with the photos as aide memoire.


4th September

Stoodley Pike circuit.

11th September

Temple Newsam circuit with Carol who was having a 6 week stay in Jimmy’s in Leeds.

18th September

And another one round Temple Newsam. Chris was also having a 6 week stay in Morriston, Swansea during this time and I was driving down there as well as to Leeds and going to work.

1st November

Widdop reccy with Cath.


19th March

Cath and I did a reccy for a walk we led in Barnton. A learning to navigate walk in an industrial landscape which we did in conjunction with Saltscape.

25th March

Walsden circuit including Quaker graveyard at Shoebroad Lane, with Babs.

10th July

Barnton reccy with Cath.


30th July

Cath and I did a day showing people how to navigate using a map and compass. The day was organised by Saltscape and we had a good turnout.

We walked from Barnton along the Weaver in a circuit.

15th August

After work I did a quick walk to reccy this for my Brontes by Dark walk. I was attacked by flying ants, and it turned out so was the rest of the entire population of the UK. 9km

21st August

Babs and I did this as part of my preparation for my Wuthering Heights (Brontes by Dark) night walk. Good day out with my dear friend.

27th and 28th August

Good two days with lovely group of volunteer walkers from Bury. The weather held off and we had a grand time sending people off to their destinations and retrieving them once they’d arrived.

10th September

The Brontes by night with my 3 participants. We had a fun time drinking mead in the so called Wuthering Heights.

11th September

A Heptonstall walk with Babs, lovely weather.

20th September

Social media workshop in Hathersage run by MTA.

25th September

Reccy for an Edale walk which I handed over to a ML I met at the MTA do.

5th November

NNAS (National Navigation Awards Scheme) update training in Brocton. This was a very weird day in between Chris’s death and the funeral. Cath and I had to do the training because it’s a requirement to continue to deliver the scheme. The first person I saw when I walked in was a guy who Chris and I did a winter skills weekend with in the Cairngorms. This was in 2009 and I wasn’t blogging much then. We had a great few days up there.


16th December

Blackstone Edge circuit.


18th December

Todmorden circuit.

27th December

Withins Clough circuit.


28th December

Blackstone Edge, up Roman Road.

31st December

Hollingworth Lake with Babs.


2nd January

Hebden Bridge circuit with Cath and pals.

14th January

Littleborough with Babs, frozen ground. She made me go to the pub!


22nd January

Stoodley Pike circuit.


Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Northumberland October 2016

Carol and I had a week in Northumberland in early October. We were anxious about going away and going so far east and being so far from Chris in the far west. It wasn’t a great trip really but we’d had it booked in for ages.
Fri 7th
Drove up. Spoke to Chris on the way, she was not in a great place but still wished us a good time. Arrived to cake.
Sat 8th
Holystone circuit. Forest car park, Roman road, forest, then onto a very busy single track road. It was busy because the Alwinton show was on, Carol tripped over and a nice man in a huge car stopped to help. We managed to avoid some inquisitive cows by nipping up the far side of a hedge. Looked at a Roman Holy Well. Went to the Granby Inn in Longframlington. I had chicken with risotto and veg. C had fish and chips. Food was nice but the service was slow.

Little Ted likes red squirrels

Sun 9th
To Bamburgh to look at the sea, to Seahouses to look at the shops, to Craster to walk to Dunstanburgh. Chicken and pasta dinner in the barn/cottage.


Mon 10th
C to dialysis. I started a circuit of Simonside at 8.30. It was nice to be out so early. Picked up C and we ate our lunch in the car in a nice field! Revisited Chillingham Castle, bit nippy in there and the cafe was pants but the place itself it an interesting old junkyard.

Chillingham castle

Another log pile



Tues 11th
Drove to the Temple of Mithras. I wanted Carol to see it because I’d been excited when I walked Hadrian’s Wall the year before and realised I’d been there 50 years ago. Then a short visit to Corbridge Roman town, a longer one to Corbridge non Roman town. I had a hot chocolate  in the car. There was an exceptionally nice deli. Lots of gin! I don’t like gin but if you did…! Back along lots of  quiet straight roads. Went to the Cook and Barker at Newton in the Moor. I had asparagus and spinach risotto and C had a giant burger. Huge portions. I tried to get online to get a ticket to see Bruce promoting his book in London on the following Monday but failed. Probably just as well.


Roman pusscat

Weds 12th
To Edlingham church and castle in the rain. C to dialysis. Me to Cragside. I looked at the Pump House, the Power House and the visitor centre. Had a hot chocolate and a large piece of NT shortbread in the Still Room which was lots quieter than the Tea Room. Picked up C. Popped into Barter Books. Home for Welsh Dragon sausages with potatoes, broccoli and baked beans. Watched Spectre although I dropped off during the torture scene. Another one to add to the list of movies I’ve slept through.

Edlingham castle

Thurs 13th
No record of what we did this day.

Near the cottage

Fri 14th
Home to find we’d been burgled. Scumbags.

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.



Northumberland week October 2015

Friday 9th October
Just over 3 hours to reach Elyhaugh in Longframlington and be welcomed by Sandra with really good cake, eggs and milk in fridge.
Our barn is very clean. So nice not to have to wash the cutlery and plates before we use them. We each have a big en suite room at either end of the barn. The middle is an open kitchen, sitting and eating space. There is a dishwasher to my delight! which explains the clean pots and pans.
Made an omelette for our supper. No wireless and the phone signal is limited to a small spot in the yard.

Saturday 10th October
Walked round Rothbury. Parked a little up from Cragside and did a 6 or 7 km circuit through Armstrong land passing a hill fort site and a standing stone. Not much to see of either. Pleasant walk. Weather a bit misty but we could see where we were going.

Stopped to look at Angler’s Arms and Carol bought me a beer!
Green chicken curry and rice.
Watched DVD of The Cazalets.


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Sunday 11th October
Intended to amble round Amble but it looked horrible so we ambled round Warkworth instead.
Then to Boulmer to walk north along coast for a few km and back. Dull day but no rain.
To the Angler’s Arms to eat. C had steak and ale pie and I had a carrot and cashew loaf with salad. Good hearty portions with beer.
More of The Cazalets.

Our barn
Our barn

This is very uncomfortable, please take photo quickly!
This is very uncomfortable, please take photo quickly!


From the barn
From the barn

Promising not to get dashed into the waves
Promising not to get dashed into the waves

Sea light
Sea light

Dunstanburgh castle
Dunstanburgh castle

Monday 12th October
From Harbottle up to the Drake stone which is an enormous chunk of sandstone perched on the hill. Legend has it that children passed over it will be cured of their ailments. The stone is so huge they will likely acquire some further ailments in the attempt. Sort of upward keel hauling comes to mind.
On to Harbottle lake then across the forest avoiding the red flag zone. We heard distant explosions most of the day. Back down to cross the River Coquet. Up and around Harbottle crossing back over the Coquet, through the village and up to the castle. Great views from here.
Lovely walk, it stayed dry and then did a massive downpour as we stopped in Rothbury for C to get provisions. Home to shepherd’s pie.

The Drake Stone
The Drake Stone


Harbottle Lake


Harbottle Lake

Roe deer tracks


Ye olde lime kiln

Harbottle castle

The Drake Stone from Harbottle

Tuesday 13th October
Felton to look at old church and a little walk along St Oswald’s way. Looked at a gallery and an artisan bakery charging artisan prices for bread and biscuits.
Dropped C off at industrial estate for dialysis.
Decided not to try the Cheviot as the big hills had big clouds on their tops. Tried to get to the hill forts west of Wooler but the road was closed so I went to Ingram for a 7 km hill fort walk which took 2 and a half hours. The sign said it would take 3-4 hours!
Collected C and home for more shepherd’s pie.

From a hill fort
From a hill fort

On the hill forts walk
On the hill forts walk

On the hill forts walk
On the hill forts walk

Loved the colours
Loved the colours

Evidence of a dig
Evidence of a dig

On the hill forts walk
On the hill forts walk

Felton church looks like it hasn't got a roof but it is there really
Felton church looks like it hasn’t got a roof but it is there really

Felton church
Felton church

Wednesday 14th October
We started off a circular walk to Darden Lough however C wasn’t keen on the bog and unevenness of the path so we headed back to the car.
Drove to Otterburn for PC then Rochester for Roman fort. The fort now has 2 houses in it but you can see clearly where it was. Then we looked in at Otterburn Mill shop which is similar to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and has the same weird CDs and DVDs you can’t imagine anybody wanting.
Home and then out to the Cook and Barker in Newton on the Moor. I had beetroot and goat’s cheese followed by sirloin strips with veg and a small bucket of chips. It didn’t seem a lot but I was stuffed. C had a salmon and muffin thing which looked nice. The food was good and well presented. A bit more pricey that I expected. Good beer. C had Pagan Queen and I had something else maybe a London brew.
Back for the last of the Cazalets which was slightly disappointing.


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Thursday 15th October
To Alnwick for a pootle round. Delivered C to the renal unit on the industrial estate.
Drove just south of Rothbury to park up. Walked to Simonside summit. Practically all on paved path. Great views.
Picked up C. Home to pack. Lovely holiday but I struggled without the wireless and mobile connections.

Pavement up Simonside
Pavement up Simonside

Little cannon
Little cannon

On Simonside
On Simonside

Made me think of Henry Moore
Made me think of Henry Moore

Friday 16th
Stopped in Wetherby on the way home and wandered round the shops. I found some Old Amsterdam cheese in a cheese shop which sold bread at even more inflated prices than the artisan bread shop!
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.


Bannerdale Crags, Mungrisdale Common and Souther Fell, 26th July 2015

Today’s walk plan was to knock off some Wainwrights at the back of Blencathra.

I parked up in Mungrisdale on the road verge after an easy journey of 2.5 hours without stopping for coffee. Set off at 10 a.m. Pleasant and easy walk to the top of the crags along a wide path. It was dry but blowy at the top.

From Bannerdale Crags looking back to Mungrisdale village and beyond

Heading up to Bannerdale Crags

Down a little to a col which joins the Crags with a spur off Blencathra. At this point I veered off and headed due west to Mungrisdale Common. Wainwright must have been having a joke here, his description starts off with “To add to its other failings …..”, continues with “has no more pretension to elegance than a pudding that has been sat on” and “There is little on these extensive grass slopes to provide even a passing interest for an ordinary walker, and nothing at all to encourage a visit.” So why the bloody hell did he bother to put it in, it’s not even a summit as such. There is a suggestion that it was put in to provide some filler for the book on the Northern Fells. The common is a large, flat stretch of featureless bog. And very tedious because the bog got boggier and boggier as I went along, reminiscent of the bogs on the Isle of Jura. It started to rain so once I’d been and found the “summit”, I squelched my way back stopping for lunch on the way after I’d got off the bog. Not a soul in sight on the common.

I’m on a road to nowhere

A helpful navigational aid, just where it needed to be

Back at the col, I went down the River Glendaramackin to reach  a footbridge. Over this and then quickly up onto Souther Fell. The rain was coming in fast over Blencathra by this time. There was a path marked on the map which would take me directly to my car so I aimed off but crossed it without noticing (probably because too faint). So I headed back up a little (I’d overshot the distance) and then located the path in the bracken.

Blencathra disappearing

Why it’s called Sharp Edge

Top of Glenderamackin River

This now brings my total of Wainwrights to 74 which is properly over one third of them done. Five and a half hours of walking. Home by 6 p.m.


Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.