Monday, 30 May 2016

Walking - River Wansbeck Circular from Morpeth to Bothal Mill

My behindness in blog posts is evident.  Today I'm writing something about a walk from five weeks ago.  I'd found the route for this one online and it looked good.  Starting at Morpeth it heads along the River Wansbeck as far as Bothal Mill before heading uphill and walking back to Morpeth.  The AA claim the walk is 8.5 miles but mapping it for myself it was only 7.  The route map can be found here.

The AA give a walking guide too but I'd warn anyone using their guide that there are a couple of errors.  Where it says to turn right immediately after the Old Red Bull Inn it would be useful to know that the Inn was demolished a couple of years ago.  I spent time wondering how far along the road I had to walk but fortunately turned right in the right place on the grounds that if it was wrong it looked to lead towards the river anyway.  Not much further the guide tells to follow a path signed a certain way.  It isn't.  Two mistakes in, or at least very out of date information, and I was only on paragraph one of the guide.  Not an auspicious beginning.

The walk was great.  I'd recommend it.  And I was very lucky with the weather.  The forecast wasn't great but during the whole walk I only got lightly hailed on for a couple of minutes.  I was lucky.  The end of this post shows just how lucky.

I won't say much about it.  The photos can speak for themselves.  To begin, a couple of trees in the woods above the river valley near the beginning of the walk.

The walk then drops down past Pestilence Close - which I'll mention next time - to the river and pretty soon all you can hear is the water and the birds.  It's really very pretty and it felt so good to be away from the city again.  Finally I could climb down the bank to the river.  At this point someone messaged me and I responded with jealousy creating photos saying "I am here, now!"

That's the view one direction.  Here's the view the other way.  A viaduct designed by Stephenson.  Something else to mention in the next post.

Yep, another tree.  I like trees - and there will be plenty more tree pictures in posts to come from days out walking.
Climbing off the path at about this point I saw a little piece of pottery just sticking out of the ground.  I dug out the little pot and have it as a permanent reminder of the day.  It's the one seen in my gratitude diary from a month ago.

Hey, Happy Christmas everyone.

This was attached to a tree.  It might have felt more appropriate if I'd been there just a few hours later and experienced that weather.

The halfway point in the walk is Bothal Mill - another thing to mention in the next post.  You cross the river there using a road bridge on a minor road.  It's not an exciting bridge and replaced an earlier bridge in 1982.

From there the walk leaves the river and heads up the road towards Hepscott - it's steep - until turning off at the top of the hill along a footpath.  I was pleased on that path to see a couple of llamas on someone's property.

The walk then descends back through the woods and past a disused quarry back to the river and follows the riverside paths back to Morpeth.

It had been an enjoyable time and though I was aching due to being immensely unfit I was up to touring the charity shops of Morpeth.  I should return sometime and explore the town properly and be a proper tourist, doing touristy things like visiting the Bagpipe Museum.

I had been walking in a coat at the start of the walk, then a T-shirt for a while.  Ten minutes after arriving home, I took this photo.  It doesn't show the weather well but it snowed quite heavily for a while.  Yes, I really was fortunate with the weather that day.

Next time I will look at a few of the places of historical interest on the walk - there are others and I need to go back and find them all eventually.  After that I will share Blob Thing's day out.  And explain Blob Thing.  I have been asked to give him his very own blog.  Not just a photo here and there or his own little post but an entire blog.  And why not?  He's been a busy Blob Thing recently.  Two nights ago he was on stage in Manchester.  Briefly - until I was told "You can't put things on the stage," a statement which was quite obviously false because I had put something on the stage.  Blob Thing can wait until that post.  That gives you fair warning.

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