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A Bernician odessy...

kebabking

Not a Girly Swot, but I like them....
A week of hills, castles, warlords and holy men.

This is a meandering thread, to match what passes for my plan - my first decision (made at about 2pm in a rainstorm on the A1 somewhere near Durham) is that I simply can't be arsed to camp: the weather's pretty good, but the ground is wet, and I rather like comfortable chairs and WiFi. So, an opportunity to support the very wonderful Youth Hostel network - I owe many teenaged adventures to the YHA, and if you don't use it you'll lose it - so I'm currently in the very comfortable Wooler YHA having eaten an excellent dinner at a local pub.
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Probably off to Lindisfarne tomorrow, apart from that I want to go to Bamburgh castle, explore what should be acclaimed as one of the UK's finest walled towns at Berwick-upon-Tweed, walk through the site of the Bernician Royal 'town' at Yeavering Bell (there was an honest-to-goodness 7th century amphitheatre, probably built by Edwin of Northumbria, where Paulinus baptized the King and the local nobility in the Roman Christian tradition in 627), and shift some lard over the Cheviots. then down to Hexham and Durham for the weekend.

*Bernicia was an Anglian Kingdom that began by Ida in the late 500's, it roughly stretched from the Tyne to Edinburgh. It later merged, in several tides, with the Anglian Kingdom of Diera - roughly County Durham and North Yorkshire, and with the British kingdom of Rheged, which covered Cumbria and the Solway coast of Dumfries, to form Northumbria.

Updates, musings, and photos to follow...
 
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kebabking

Not a Girly Swot, but I like them....
Have fun in Northumberland - a lovely part of the world. But isn't there an upper age limit at youth hostels, given their name? :hmm:


As long as he takes his water wings he'll be fine. :D
Thankfully no, though of course I could easily pass for a 21yo... (well, maybe after a crash diet, some time under the surgeon's knife and about a week in a bath of moisturiser...).

I've got a bunk room to myself, and the only other people here are some families from Belgium and Holland.

I'm thinking about staying at the YHA in Berwick and getting that proper 'remote border fortress' feel, which might be somewhat diluted by going for the day and then driving 30 minutes back to Wooler, and also staying at the Mounthooley hostel at the bottom of College Valley in the Cheviots - a place so remote you have to get a pass to drive down there....
 

StoneRoad

heckling from the back!
Plenty to see and do in Northumberland ...

And most definitely watch the tide times for the Holy Island causeway, but Seahouses RNLI are very practised at fetching people out of the refuge box. I agree about Barter Books, lovely place.

Hexham itself has quite a few places of interest and the central part of Hadrian's Wall is close by (AD122 is the bus service). Also the "Centre of Britain" is in Haltwhistle.
 

kebabking

Not a Girly Swot, but I like them....
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Wooler and the Cheviots, from the Dodington road to the coast.
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The (wet) tidal causeway of At Cuthbert and St Aiden. To the relief of all, this will not be a naked pilgrimage...
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The priory, the dunes, the castle, the Farne islands, Bamburgh Castle, and the not-to-be-trifled-with sea - both defender, lifeblood, and bane of the Holy Men of Lindisfarne.

There's also a seal investigating a lobster pot as I write this...
 

kebabking

Not a Girly Swot, but I like them....
Lindisfarne was a bit crowded, and while it's always lovely, once you've been before...

So, a coastal exploration.
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St Abbs, Berwickshire - in Scotlandshire, unlike Berwick, which is in Englandshire, sand not in Berwickshire. Lovely fish restaurant, independent lifeboat..
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Coldingham beach - sandy, sheltered, rock pools, RNLI lifeguards, a beach cafe, free parking and a 26,000 ton RFA Argus mooching about offshore.

Excellent day. (Apart from the shattered camera on the back of my phone....).
 

StoneRoad

heckling from the back!
You seem to be having a good time ...

If the weather / sea conditions are suitable, you might enjoy a trip out to the Farnes from Seahouses.
 

kebabking

Not a Girly Swot, but I like them....
Berwick today.

Fantastic walk around the town walls, the Tweed embankment, and the artillery bastions in glorious sunshine, did lots of exploring of little side streets, churches, and the spectacular barracks and parade.

Really worth the effort - and it will remind you a lot of Edinburgh...

Then back to the beach at Coldingham bay, a couple of hours reading and soaking up the beauty of the place, then it rained - so I sat in the beach cafe for an hour with a large hot chocolate and a cake. The rain was stunning, it was a veil of silver merging exquisitely with the blues, grey's and greens of the sea...

A lovely, satisfying day.
 

kebabking

Not a Girly Swot, but I like them....
Into the wild, Master Gamgee...

A little walk in the exquisite Simonside hills on Wednesday, (as well as a trip into Rothbury for some truly spectacular pies from the butcher..), and then something of an explore/shortcut (Tolkien fans will smile at the reference) into the Coquet Valley. Lovely in itself, but if you keep going when you get to the 'this road is owned by the MOD and may be closed to the public while we blow shit up...' sign and the big red flags after some 12 miles of single trackroad, you can drive down the old Roman road of Dere Street through the Otterburn Training Area and join up with the A68. All very beautiful, fantastic views over the Cheviots, as well as the history of Dere Street, but fuck me everything is a long way from everything else in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders: up to Jedburgh and it's beautiful abbey, then over to Kirk Yetholm and down the College Valley to Mounthooly, my gaff for the night.

It's a gorgeous hostel/bunkhouse at the end of 10 miles of private road - fantastic walking to the Henhole, Cheviot, the Schill, Windy Gyle and the Border Ridge - footwith one in England and the other in Scotland for miles upon miles.

Got a nice little walk in on Wednesday evening, but the weather got a bit emotional as darkness fell - thankfully the two other blokes in the hostel (who were doing a peat restoration project high on Cheviot for the NP) had got the fire going and all was forgiven.

Day dawned beautifully this morning, so I packed up and hurtled up to Windy Gyle - it was, you may be shocked to hear, windy. Very, very windy, with windchill dropping the temp down to a bracing 2c. A couple of showers, but visibility was fantastic in every direction all day. Amazing, wonderful brilliant day... I even detoured up to Cheviot on the way back.

Knackered, but very happy. Down to Hexham tomorrow, and then Durham.

(No pictures I'm afraid, the camera on my phone is shattered and EE can't keep up with my movements....)
 

farmerbarleymow

Seagull + Chips = Happy Seagull
ut if you keep going when you get to the 'this road is owned by the MOD and may be closed to the public while we blow shit up...' sign and the big red flags after some 12 miles of single trackroad, you can drive down the old Roman road of Dere Street through the Otterburn Training Area and join up with the A68
I remember going on a fieldtrip with sixth form to Warcop range on one of the few open days a year. Fascinating place, if a bit disturbing with bits of munitions scattered about and clear evidence where they'd been shelling poor sheep on the other side of the valley. :(
 

neonwilderness

What would Badgers do?
and then something of an explore/shortcut (Tolkien fans will smile at the reference) into the Coquet Valley. Lovely in itself, but if you keep going when you get to the 'this road is owned by the MOD and may be closed to the public while we blow shit up...' sign and the big red flags after some 12 miles of single trackroad, you can drive down the old Roman road of Dere Street through the Otterburn Training Area and join up with the A68. All very beautiful, fantastic views over the Cheviots, as well as the history of Dere Street, but fuck me everything is a long way from everything else in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders:
I stay up in the Coquet Valley quite regularly and know it well. Going into the training area is always interesting :cool:

It’s a bit bleak most of the time though!
 

kebabking

Not a Girly Swot, but I like them....
Change of plan...

I'm afraid that Hexham got the knock as I've decided to chop a day, so to Durham (for my adventures in Durham, please see the Durham Cathedral thread in general...), and I'm now staying in the Durham dales at Edmundbuyers YHA - and it's in a pub! A fantastic shooting pub full of tweed, dogs, kids and very happy people - a very good day has been had on the moor, and the pub is the place to celebrate.

A gorgeous, clear evening with the Moors wreathed in purple heather.
 

kebabking

Not a Girly Swot, but I like them....
Yeah, that's the fancy one - the punch bowl. I however was in the rather more agrarian Baa Bar, which has a cobbled stone floor. My fancy dining took the form of a 14 inch pizza (chicken, bacon, mushrooms and red onion - if you're interested) from Morrisons in Consett, eaten in the exquisite evening sunshine of the Durham Dales...

York today. Gorgeous as ever - a quick mooch about the town and markets for trinkets for the family, and a rather excellent burrito from one of the sheds.

The races were on in York, and pretty much everyone in York was either in a three piece suit and tie, or summer dress and 6 inch heels. I, being the scruffy southerner with no sense of occasion that I am, was in neither.

York was, if possible, even more beautiful than I've ever seen it before in the spectacular sunshine - and so, my Bernician odessy ends: the traffic on the A1M, M1 and M42 was, if not completely clear, then at least fairly smooth. The M5 and M6 on the other hand, were I'm told, utter hell.

Home to children, wife, menagerie, and - well - home.
 

baldrick

ooooh timewarp
Plenty to see and do in Northumberland ...

And most definitely watch the tide times for the Holy Island causeway, but Seahouses RNLI are very practised at fetching people out of the refuge box. I agree about Barter Books, lovely place.

Hexham itself has quite a few places of interest and the central part of Hadrian's Wall is close by (AD122 is the bus service). Also the "Centre of Britain" is in Haltwhistle.
I'll be in Haltwhistle tomorrow. Walked to Chollerford today so there will be a change of direction for the next walk. Is there a 'centre of Britain' sign, out of interest?
 

StoneRoad

heckling from the back!
One of the pub/hotels is "Centre of Britain" ...
and the town sign on the old bypass is worth a photo

Are you walking the wall ?
come down the Haltwhistle Burn path to the town - some industrial remains to see.
 
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