Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The follies of men...................November 24th.(Northumberland)
   Another mid week walk of archaeological interest for me and Dave. We are having a walk from Scots Gap in Northumberland to visit some old and some ancient sites.
  I have no idea why it's called Scots Gap, maybe drovers brought their cattle through here in olden times. It is not the prettiest of villages; once stopping place on the Wansbeck Railway line with a cattle market the most interesting fact we could find was that there is one bus a week, on a Wednesday, that goes to Albemarle Barracks on the "Military Road" and one bus a week, also on a Wednesday that goes to Morpeth. Passengers for these two buses have substantial bus shelters.
 To get there from Newcastle we took the A696 through Ponteland to Belsay, turned right towards Bolam Lake and past the lake, took the B6343 to Scots' Gap. Through the village on the right there is a National Trust Office with a car park.
                                              National Trust office and car park.
The walk:  OS  OL Explorer 42 Kielder Water and Forest
Heading back east through the village we found the finger post on the left pointing up the track past Grangemoor Farm and continuing in a straight line to the wooded valley of the Hart Burn which we crossed using the footbridge, there being quite a depth of water flowing over the ford.
                                               The Hartburn from the footbridge.
  We followed the footpath going through or near to Rothley Lodge, Rothley Mill and Rothley Mill Farm, most of the buildings appearing to having been converted to houses for permanent occupation or maybe holiday homes.
 Once past the houses we headed almost due north on a farm track alongside a couple of fields to reach Rothley. From here we followed the posted path across a field before leaving it and walking up to the first target of the day, Rothley Castle.
 This folly was built about 1755 for Sir Walter Blackett as a viewing point for his deer park. It does look like a ruined castle.

Every deer park needs a folly. Rothley Castle.
Close by it is possible to see the outlines of an Iron Age/Romano British Hill fort and between the two is the site of a WWII searchlight station but we saw no evidence of that.
Dave points out part of the ancient ramparts. High above the surrounding country, a good site.
Back down the hill we rejoined the footpath alongside a well built wall and followed it to a junction where we turned left and headed almost due north on a track next to a plantation until we came to a road.
A bit naughty here, rather than walk on the road going west we battled, without machetes, through the rhododendrons of  "North Strip" before crossing a fence or two into a field and walking up to "Codgers Fort". Supposedly built to defy the invading army of the Bonnie Prince in the '45 uprising, it was actually built in 1769, again for Sir Walter. It is on a craggy hillside and made a fine Herbie Spot, out of the wind but in the sun. Treats were limited, there being only the two of us, we had almond slices and the remains of  flapjacks from .
                Codgers Fort, highly appropriate, Codger is a word similar to Gadgie in meaning.
 Lunch over we headed across the fields in a north east direction until we hit a farm track and turned left, around the end of Rothley Lake, built by damming a stream and used as a fishing lake by Sir Walter when he was tired of his deer park. The track joins the dismantled railway line which we followed to the road.
                                                        Rothley Lake
 At this point we turned naughty again and climbed a wall to bring us back onto thje railway line. At this point it is not a right of way, we risked the chance of an ASBO however and followed it, partly in cuttings, partly on embankments as the line curved round Rothley Lake Nature Reserve, probably not built by Sir Walter.
 At Dell Burn the railway line becomes part of the Wannie Line Country Walk and we felt a little safer as we were legal, although without the blessing of British Rail.

                                            But you may walk along it.
  We followed the line, just before  Scots' Gap there is a junction where another line once headed west. Soon we were back at the National Trust office after a pleasant and interesting wander round Northumberland, a walk that can be extended.
It was a good day for birds too; kestrels, treecreeper, great tits, blue tits, redwings, fieldfares ravens and a buzzard sitting on a bench by the side of the road.

The Matrix MMXV  YYYY
                                                                            steps                                  miles
 Nako                                                                23507                                10.01
LIDL3D                                                           22256                                  7.7!!!!!!!!!!!!!
etrex                                                                                                             8.4
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                         8.2

Dave's LIDL3D                                              18970                                   8.72
  "        USB                                                    18082                                   8.27
  "          Nako                                                  21600                                   9.88

We claimed 8.4