Sunday, 7 August 2016

A rural route round Rothbury... August 5th
  Not a bad bit of alliteration that.  Holidays and family commitments have again reduced our number to four; Brian, John H., Dave and me. We have gone for a relatively local walk in Northumberland, starting at Tomlinsons Café and Bunkhouse in Bridge Street. To get to Rothbury take the A1 north, take the A687 at Morpeth and turn left at the Anglers Arms, Weldon Bridge and continue to Rothbury.   A small Northumberland town with a very wide main street. Nearby is Cragside, the home built by Lord Armstrong who made  his fortune out of guns and ships, once employing several thousand men on Tyneside. The house is now a National  propertyand is well worth a visit. It was the first house in England, if not the world to have electricity from its own hydro-electric plant. It also has a lot of trees and rhododendrons.                                                                                       About 10% of the walk is on OSOL42 Kielder Water and Forest. The other 90% is on OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble. Clever marketing.
                       Reflections in a wing mirror. Tomlinsons, Rothbury.
After breakfast we drove over the bridge turned right and went to the car park by the river. A Yorkshire car park, with benches to sit on as you get booted up.

                                           A freebie in Rothbury.
 The walk;
We crossed the River Coquet to the north bank using the footbridge just visible in this week's car park photo. Turning left we walked along a good path alongside the river for about a mile before crossing a field and then, using another footbridge, crossed to the south bank of the river. Following close to the river, the path across the fields took us to another footbridge and we were back on the north side and in the village of Thropton. (pton on the map!)

                                                           Up to the main street and we headed right, back towards Rothbury, passing The Three Wheat Heads and The Cross Keys before turning left on a road called Physic Street. We followed the street, which became a track very similar to a "Green Lane", both sides lined with bracken, one side with a wall too. The path climbed slowly, on the left we had superb views of the Coquet Valley and the Cheviot Hills. Shame it was a cloudy day.
                                  Across the Coquet to the Cheviots
                            Thropton from Physic Street.
At the end of the lane we came to a gate and turned left, once through it. We were now on one of the carriage drives of the Cragside estate. They are good walking tracks and there are very few carriages these days. Ignoring the first marked footpath on the left we continued to the second (about 4.5 miles), headed downhill and into a wood. At mile 5 we came to a good track and turned right, following it roughly east before turning south and entering a plantation. At this point we called a Herbie Spot and shared ginger biscuits (Rington's in Ben's absence) Hobnob bars and beetroot and cheese tarts from Mrs A. (Somebody forgot his contribution).
                             Human interest for Kathy and Sue.
 Light lunch over we followed the track in a semi circle round the edge of the plantation to Primrose Cottage.
                                            Debdon Valley
                                                   Primrose Cottage.
From the cottage the road winds up to the B6341 road, which can be busy. Almost directly opposite is the exit to the Cragside Estate, but it is also a public footpath and we walked through the grounds.
                         Walking through the park we saw this piece of art..
                      .... and one of the few thatched cottages in Northumberland....
                                        the ornamental lake
                  and an Archimedean Screw which was being turned by electricity, and the wrong way too

                           Cragside, built by Lord Armstrong who made his fortune from making guns and battleships. Supposedly he supplied both sides in the 1905 war between Russia and Japan. His Tyneside works have gone, but the swing bridge he built to allow ships to pass from his works to the sea remains as one of the Tyneside bridges.
 A slender water wheel. Lord Armstrong built  a hydro electric system to light his house. The original equipment is on display in the Power House.  The grounds are well worth a visit, as is the house, a large variety of trees, many neatly labelled too, always useful. Plenty of bird life and displays of flowers, trails for children to follow too.
Having strolled through the estate we emerged on another busy road. Almost directly opposite, by Thrum Mill, a finger post pointed us back towards Rothbury on the north bank. Crossing by the footbridge we were back in the car park.
                                                       Approaching Rothbury.
On the way home we called at the Anglers Arms, Weldon Bridge. The usual three real ales were on offer, one being Black Sheep and another being Marstons Pedigree. The third one? Can't remember.

This is a really good walk, about 9.5 miles of easy walking with beautiful views and a place of interest.

                                                                     steps                                miles
NAK                                                         26812                                  9.3
Dave's LIDL3D                                        20361                                 9.36
  "        USB                                              19605                                 9.28
  "         NAK                                            19567                                 9.26
Etrex                                                                                                   9.61
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                 9.5
Brian                                                                                                    9.47
Walking time             3 hrs 4 mins     talking time 1hr 32 mins