Saturday, 3 October 2015

From St Andrew's Church, Bolam....Oct 2nd.(Northumberland)

   St. Andrew's is a pretty church in Bolam Northumberand. Late Saxon in origin with Norman additions. Its most interesting feature is the window on the south side of the nave. In 1942 a German bomb went through the wall but failed to explode. The pilot was not trying to destroy the church, he was dumping his load destined for Tyneside and trying to get away. Years later he returned and apologised.
Today's walk starts at the church. It is a relatively easy stroll as several of the gadgie crew were out the previous evening consuming beer and curry, both can have disastrous effects.
The whole of the walk is covered by OS OL 42 Kielder Water and Forest A pleasant drive to the church from Newcastle is to head north on the A1, turn off at Morpeth, past County Hall and turn left at the golf course. Turn right at the village of Walton, just past the Beresford Arms and after about four miles the lane to the church is on the right.
The local TV had promised another sunny day, about the seventh in a row, a real Indian summer.
                                St. Andrew's Church Bolam, the small window............
                      is the one where a WWII bomb penetrated the wall of the church.
   At the back of the church a gate leads to the footpath across several fields to Angerton Steads, over the dismantled railway that once ran to Rothbury and across more fields to Low Angerton.
                      fine examples of Ridge and Furrow, the ancient way of agriculture before John Deere even thought of making a steel plough (plow).
A few hundred yards down the lane from Low Angerton the footpath to take is on the left and crosses several more fields and the disused railway line before staying close to the meandering River Wansbeck in which were at least two herons and a little egret. The latter is becoming increasingly common in the north of England, to Middleton Mill near the Medieval Village of South Middleton. Down a farm track to the road, turn left at Middleton Bridge and just across the bridge itself the footpath is on the right. A stell, or sheep fold, in the field makes an excellent Herbie Spot. (About mile 4 on the map)
                                  Feeding time at the stell.
 Lunch over the gadgies continued across fields  to Middleton South, passing close to a standing stone.
                                            Standing stone near Middleton South.
 Turning south east the lads soon came to the highlight of the walk, Shaftoe Crags. Interesting formations and an interesting name. The Shaftoe family  of the nearby Grange and Hall are not the one of nursery rhyme fame. Bobby Shaftoe, him of the silver buckles, came from Durham, cousins of the Northumberland branch.
                                             Shaftoe Crags, specifically Salter Nick.
                                         Punchbowl Stone at Shaftoe Crags. Tradition has it that one member of the family filled a hollow on the rock with wine for his wedding celebration. Hope it's not too porous.
 Beyond the crags the track leads to East Shaftoe Hall. beyond the hall the farm track is built from redundant concrete railway sleepers brought down from Glasgow.
Turn right at the road and after a short walk on the metalled surface the path enters Bolam Lale Country Park. Presumably built for the inhabitants of Bolam Hall this park and its lake is now a popular place for the citizens of the north east to pass a pleasant morning or afternoo looking at the birds on the lake. There are nearly always swans and geese on the water and the woods teem with other ornithological examples.

                                        A goose and several swans on Bolam Lake.
There is an information centre and car park at the north east corner of the park. Leaving the car park the team turned left on the road then right and back to the church and home, by way of the Waggonway Public House just north of Ponteland.
If by chance Mary Blood from Australia reads this, this is the pub I took you and your two world travelling mates to way back in 1965/6! And the young lady who came with us has been my wife for 46 years!!!
If readers are amateur Sherlocks you will notice that the photos look a bit wintery. This is because I was indisposed and didn't actually go on the walk. The pictures were taken in December 2013.
But the readings from Dave's pedometers are from today.

Matrix MMXV  VV
                                                                         steps                        miles
LIDL3D                                                           20272                    9.28
LIDLUSB                                                        19835                    9.07

Thanks for keeping the blog going chaps.
Contains OS data Copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2015.
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