Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Hartside to Hedgehope Hill

This walk covered approximately 8miles however quite a bit was following the snowy paths leading up to Hedgehope hill. If you have ever had the misfortune to hike the hills through knee and thigh deep snow you would realise Hell doesn't hold the patent on all forms of torture.  I must admit that at one point in  this wonderful hike I was lying prostrate with my face buried in the compact snow of Hedgehope hill wondering how long it would take the emergency services to airlift me from exhaustion.  Being a photographer I have always combined my walks in the hills with the opportunity to capture some great landscape shots, however this does mean you have to carry all of your camera equipments, lenses, tripod etc along with heavy weather kit, kettle, litres of water and sandwiches.  The weight of my very large rucksac would pose problems for the military but you never know when you might get that special shot - such is the mentality of an idiot/photographer (delete as appropriate).  Combine a very heavy rucksac with thigh deep snow and you start to get the picture of the pain I went through for the sake of enjoyment....!!  The following images take you from Hartside in Ingram Valley, through Linhope and to the waterfalls of Linhope Spout, upwards between Great Staindrop and Dunmoor Hill to the majesty of Hedgehope and back.

Before I lead you through the delights of the Cheviots I would like to share a quote from the author George MacDonald Fraser when he wrote his very informative book on the region and the Border Reviers - "The Steel Bonnets"

The whole region, the very heart of Britain, contains some of the lonliest and some of the bleakest country in the British Isles.  Along the central part of the frontier line itself is the great tangled ridge of the Cheviots, a rough barrier of desolate treeless tops and moorland with little valleys and gulley’s running every way, like a great rumpled quilt……One walks in them with head constantly turning to the long crests on either side, but seeing nobody.  Like their relations, the Cumberland fells and the broken foothills of the Southern Uplands, they are melancholy mountains; probably only the border people feel at home in them, but even the incomer will recognise them as the most romantic hills in  the world 

George MacDonald Fraser, “The Steel Bonnets”.

The road from Hartside to Linhope

From Linhope to Linhope Spout

In 1870-72, John Marius Wilson's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Linhope like this:

LINHOPE, a hamlet in Ingram, Linhope, and Greenshawhill township, Ingram parish, Northumberland; on the river Breamish, under the Cheviots, 8½ miles SW by S of Wooler. The name Linhope signifies "the valley of the waterfall, ''and alludes to a cascade called Linhope Spout. The cascade is a fall of 56 feet, over a precipitous rock, into a dark ravine, flanked with high birchclad rocks. Remains of an ancient fortified British town are at a spot called Greaves-Esh; and comprise three circular encampments, each with surrounding ramparts, enclosing perceptible foundations of houses. The W encampment is the largest, and has 18 hut-circles. A small silver cross, inscribed with the name of Acca, Bishop of Hexham, and thought to have been one of the crosses given to the Hexham pilgrims, was found, in 1861, at the foot of the adjoining Cheviot hill Hartside.
Linhope Burn
Linhope Spout
 Which way now??
Hedgehope Hill in the distance
Hedgehope Hill is at a height of 714 metres (2,343 ft) and a distance of about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the Scottish Border, it canbe climbed from Langleeford in the Harthorpe Valley, over which it looms, or from Linhope.  An alternative route to the summit could involve a long days climb of both the Cheviot and Hedgehope Hill starting and finishing at Langleeford. It is a steep climb from any approach with steeper sides than the taller but flatter topped Cheviot.
Climbing Hedgehope
The mighty Hedgehope Hill

Heading back down with Ritto Hill in  the distance
Please take the oppoprtunity to look at my website for more great images of Northumberland

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Newton by the Sea

Newton by the Sea

Low Newton by the Sea is situated between Dunstanborough and Beadnell on the Northumberland coast.  It is almost completely owned by the National trust and has a small open-ended square of cottages overlooking miles of unspoilt beach. The village itself is an 18th Century fishing village boasting a pub, the ‘Ship Inn’, which reputedly dates back to the 1700’s.   St Mary's church, which dates from the end of the 19th century, is situated on the outskirts of the village and is an unusual building.  The church, originally purchased in kit form, is constructed from corrugated steel sheeting and features pretty stained glass windows.  The village is picturesque and regarded as a hidden jewel along the coast.

Parking is quite limited with a small municipal car park located just before the village entrance.  However, from here you can pick up one of the numerous walks to either the north or south of the coast.  Both directions provide many photo opportunities from rocky outcrops and crags to several wildfowl parks and nature reserves.  Newton Point, Beadnell Bay and Seahouses lie to the north whilst the imposing ruins of Dunstanborough castle can be seen to the south.

In 1313, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, cousin of Edward II of England began construction of a massive fortress. By the time of his execution in 1322, the castle was substantially complete. John of Gaunt improved the castle in the late 14th century as the Duke of Lancaster.  In the Wars of the Roses, the castle was held for the Lancastrians in 1462 and 1464. The damage done was not made good and the castle fell steadily into decay.  The castle is now owned by the National Trust and in the care of English Heritage.

The present castle encloses the entire 11 acres (4.5 ha) headland. A long wall punctuated by two rectangular towers (the Constable and Egyncleugh towers), two turrets and a large twin-towered gatehouse at the western corner protects the southern approach. From the gatehouse, the wall carries northward along the hilltop to a rectangular turreted watchtower, known as the Lilburn Tower.

The twin-towered gatehouse served as the principal residential block of the castle. It is composed of two tall D-shaped towers; the gatehouse-keep is a masterpiece of 14th century castle design. Each tower was of four stories, and was originally capped by four turrets about 80 feet (24 m) above ground level. Gates at each end protected the long gate passage and two soldiers' barracks line the passage at ground level. On the first floor, the gatehouse was divided into three rooms, with the central one controlling the portcullis mechanism. On the second floor above ground level there was a large room running across the entire width of the gatehouse, comprising a hall and chambers.

Newton by the Sea is an ideal spot for walks and hikes to the north and south of the Northumberland coast and for photo opportunities - the wilder the weather the better.