Archives for category: Cheviots

After June’s washed out walk to Windy Gyle, we tried once more in the hope of a clear sky.  I guess I might have known better.   A dry but over cast day with low cloud.  What I’d like is to capture the views once on top windy Gyle but with the low cloud I had to look nearby for anything of interest.  So, not quite what I hoped, but here are a few of the images from the walk.

The last one was just as it looks.  From a distance it looked like any old sign but on getting closer it seems it never had any original meaning and has since been used for people to mark their passing.  The earliest date we noted was 1964.


Windy Gyle is the third largest of the Cheviots in Northumberland but to be fair, it’s a fairly easy gradual walk.  No real heavy inclines.  Shame on the day that is clouded over as potentially the view from the top could be fantastic.  There is also a cairn on the top of Windy Gyle to landmark the place where an Englishman fell.  He was approaching the border and said to have been waving a white flag to parley with the Scottish.  He was though gunned down.  Anyway, good walk up from Anwintons Coquet Valley.  It’s around 5 mile up and 4 mile back.

Not as much text in this lot as I’d like.  Only as I’m just uploading it now and the walk was about a month ago.  I should really do this when its fresh in my mind.

Thrunton Woods are not far from Rothbury.  This particular day we were graced with what was probably one of the hottest days in the summer.  There are several walks here and many are in fact colour coded and can be done a a couple of hours.  The walk we done used part of the woods and also out an beyond.  In total it was around 10 mile, moderate going and took around 4 1/2 hours.

The start of the walk is fairly steady as you make your way into the woods.

Probably not the best day for wearing shorts as I realised the woods grow quite quickly this time of year!

Still, as you make your way through the woods you do climb up.  It gets the heart pumping but its not that bad a climb.  It does lead to a small opening and some good views from the top.  There are several good places to stop and rest, eat and drink along the top these being a couple we chose.

Eventually you come out of the woods and the walk takes you across plains.  Many of these were filled with heather.

Was just after here that todays amusement came.  On walking along, my father who was walking a few yards behind me shouted for me to stop!  I did and he came over and point out this which I had stepped over while walking:

How he spotted it given he was behind me and is just over 60 years old I dont know!  Anyway, he then went on to flick it about 2ft into the heather.  It had probably just spent weeks crawling to get out of the heather and on to the path, but still…  He seemed to think he was doing it some justice and keeping it out of harms way.  I found that strange given that so far on this walk we had passed a total of one person.

At that moment, this was our view ahead.  You can see the path through the heather that then bends to the left and goes up the hill.  At that moment, I looked away and then looked back and I swear out of no where came a troop of around 20 pensioners!  I was looking around for the trip bus but there was none to be seen.  So I then get a “I told you so” look off my Dad and I stand and look aghast as they shuffle past me!

Either that or it was the heat getting to me.  so yes, the crawly was indeed saved.

So, up to the top of the hill it is and the sun was really beating down at this point.  time for another rest and there was a great spot for this.  Its pretty much all down hill and back from here so this was our last stop.

The forest down below and what we then walked down to.  the down is pretty heavy going as now only was it fairly steep, but the path seemed to be a dried out stream which had alot of sizable rocks.  you worm your way down and through the forest again.  At this point, any sun cream you had on was now gone through sweat and what felt like all of the flies from the locality now knew your wearabouts and took and interest!  Very annoying, but almost cartoon like at points when you see someone walk along with about 20-30 flies following!

This was looking back up to the high point where we last rested.

And the fly road! The only downside of this walk is that the lsat mile or so is pretty much these woodland paths for about 20mins.

So that was Thrunton wood.  A good walk and a good mix of hills, woodland and open plains.


The College Valley leads up to Cheviot in Northumberland. We started this walk from a place called Hethpool. To get there its basically up the A1 and turn off for Wooler on the A697 then follow until West Newton where you turn off for Hethpool.

As it turns out, we picked a perfect day for the walk. As we started, the cloud cover was high giving good visibility.

From the carpark we had to wind our way over a couple of fields. Fairly flat here and you are actually doubling back to where you drove in earlier. Good way to warm up though!

The track eventually skirts the college burn and if you come off track slightly for a moment you are next to Hethpool Linn (a Linn is another word for a waterfall).

From here you continue around and you cross the lower edge of The Bell. Its a bit of an incline here but not much as you are just crossing the side of the hill not going up it.

On the side of the Bell are planted numerous Oak trees. these are called Collingwood Oaks after Lord Collingwood who it is said planted them.

You continue walking north cutting along side a bridge, the one you will have crossed to come into Hethpool. Turning west.

This next part of the walk gives you a few obsticles. Usually these would be easy to pass but when soft soil gets stampeded by cattle and then dries and when some idiot plants a barbed wire fence in front of a style, things get more interesting!

Gause bushes.  Can’t talk about this kind of thing and not mention them.  These perfectly harmless bushes, in fact their bright yellow breaks up the green surrounds and is welcoming.  That is until they become over grown and you try and squeeze a path past them.  Then they become yellow blobs with big pointy sharp teeth.  Could easily have your leg off if you wern’t careful!

Assuming you come out of these alive as we did, then its down across the burn and up the other side.

After some way you then have the first real hill to climb.

This was looking back over after we had crossed the burn and started up the hill.  Gradually you come to the main part and the last stretch of this hill to the top.

This hill is called Staw hill. Atop of Staw hill is the first of the Hillforts. Its difficult to make anything of them when you are there, though aerial shots of them make things much more obvious.

After Staw Hill its down the otherside but only a short distance before its up again. this time up Mid Hill and to the second Hill fort. On the way this was protected by a herd of cows.  Some of them didnt quite have the grasp of the whole protection thing, while others stood stubbornly still.  Unless they were going for the “if we stay still they wont see us” routine.  I have a feeling though it may actually been more of just “sigh”.

Once you bravely navigate the cows and reach the next top it is the highest point in the walk and also a very good place for lunch! Unless its raining or windy in which case its possibly the worst! Cracking views from here though all around you.

Now the down hill starts. In some ways the downs can be as tough as the ups. While the ups get the old heart pumping and legs heaving, the downs put more strain on your feet. Watch out for those twisted ankles! Momentum is also a killer here as I found out! (watch out below! incoming!).

One more hill though.  Once you go down and down and down (with some running thrown in for shear amusement) its then up again.  There is a gentle path (yeah, one that seems to slowly drain you) leading up to a farm.  From here there is the last hill of Ring Chesters.

This you take on the diagonal to around half way and then up the side for the rest.

and more cows

and more hill

Another good place for a quick rest at the top of here and then starts the walk back for the last leg.  From the top of Chesters, its down to the farm and along the road basically.  But, the farm is a fair way down!

From the bottom it is along the road and back to Hethpool to complete the 10 mile.  In this case in around 5 hours.  Still some good views to take in on the way though.

After this, off we went to a pub a few miles down the road.  Never has a pint of shandy tasted so good!