Jen (ylla) wrote,

Northumberland wanderings

I went wandering in Northumberland yesterday, partly in place of the trip to the Eildon hills I haven't done this autumn, and partly as the first Collingwood pilgrimage (Morpeth and Newcastle follows in December). Bramble time is the right time for the Borders, and I still found quite a few, although I thought it might be too late.

Following on from last weekend's theme, I managed to miss the train I meant to get to Berwick (the bus driver let an inspector man have a go of driving his bus, and he did it very slowly), but the next train was due to depart from Berwick a minute after the bus I wanted to get, so I thought it was worth trying, in case it got in sharp. It didn't, but there was a bus going down to Wooler by another road (I'd meant to head down to Hethpool from Flodden) which would let me get another bus back to Akeld and start at the other end of the loop - it also let me buy a map in Wooler, which was nice to have, although I walked off the edge of it for a while.

Pictures from my wanderings are here

I especially enjoyed the first part of the walk, from Akeld in towards Kirknewton - it was a beautiful sunny morning, and the scenery was lovely, and there was an unexpected bonus at Yeavering, where they've discovered the site of an Anglo-Saxon Palace called Ad Gefrin. After spending a few hours wandering about England, it also amused me that the first signpost I came across was for Yetholm, just over the border into Scotland.

I turned off the road just before Westnewton, where it promised me a public footpath to Hethpool (over the hill beside the College Burn) - before long the footpath had turned into an unsignposted field of sheep, but it did pick up again, although it was fairly thorny in places. There's very little in Hethpool, but it's pretty, and I ate my lunch there before heading back up towards the main road.

I walked off the edge of the map soon after that, which meant I didn't have a very clear idea of how far I had to go, and by the time I got up towards Flodden I was getting tired, and the light was beginning to fade. I knew from a previous adventure that the battlefield was quite a way from Flodden village, but I hadn't realised just how far, and I was worried that I wouldn't make it back in time for the last Berwick bus (not too worried, as there was a later Kelso bus and I could get home from there, but I had a train ticket from Berwick, and my feet were starting to hurt), so I headed straight back to Milfield by an even smaller road, and had hot chocolate in the pub there while waiting for the bus, then went off to Berwick for dinner and the train home.

So I basically failed in my two intended objectives, which were to go to Flodden Field, and find the plaque for the Collingwood Oaks around Hethpool (I thought it was either in the village or at the woods on Hethpool Bell, but if so it's not obvious). But I enjoyed the day, and I'd like to go back to the College Valley, maybe in the spring, and wander about the hill forts, and go down and find Coldburn (the other half of CC's title), and stay at Mounthooly, and maybe walk over the border and pretend to be an invader (although I'd probably be invading the wrong way).
(The whole College Valley is simultaneously 10-20 miles south of the Scottish border and about 3 miles east of it and <10 miles north of it (depending where you are), which I find fascinating. You can stand in Hethpool, 11 miles south of the border, and look south at Border Ridge, which is the border again. Crazy border-making people.)

And I did sleep well last night.

Is anyone interested in the York and Hartlepool adventure? I did mean to write it up, but I haven't managed it yet.
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