Simonside Christmas Walk – 8th December 2018

ChristmasWalk - ChristmasWalk_08122018M-11.jpg We met in the traditional Christmas Walk starting point, Cowhaugh Car Park.  This was the last walk of 2018 and the anniversary of the first Strolls with Poles walk.  What a great day to celebrate with a lovely walk up Simonside. Christmas greetings were swapped.  Ruth handed out Pine Cone Elves, as she wasn’t doing Christmas Cards.  Julie handed out the special mulled wine Strolls With Poles lollies.   A quick warm-up was definitely in order, as it was a little chilly.  Off we went.

The first climb

ChristmasWalk - ChristmasWalk_08122018M-10.jpgJust to warm people up we followed the road up towards Whitton.   Not too steep but enough to get the hearts pumping, ready for the next one.  The view from the gate at Whitton is one of my favourite views of Rothbury, on the other side of the valley.

The second climb

ChristmasWalk - ChristmasWalk_08122018M-1.jpgWe followed the road up to Whittondean and the onto the second climb from here to Lordenshaw car park.  This is a grassy slope but arguably the most difficult climb, even harder than Simonside itself.  Everyone made it though and, hopefully, felt better for it.  Kirsty went off to look at the cup and ring markings that are just off the path.

The third climb

The third climb is up from Lordenshaw to Dove Crag, on Simonside.  We stopped at the car park for a group photo before the climb.  This path goes via the Beacon, where some of us took a little shelter from the wind.

Dove Crag

Finally, we arrived at Dove Crag.  Just round the back of the crag was the decorated Christmas tree, the purpose of our walk.  We gathered and got the picnic out on a makeshift rock table.  There was crisps, chocolate gingers, Ruth’s famous lemon drizzle cake, stollen, fudge, and, of course, Martin’s mince pies and mulled wine. We enjoyed the fayre and gathered for a picture around the tree.  After standing and sitting still for over half an hour we were all feeling the cold bite.  Best to get going and out of the wind.  We headed off the side of Dove Crag and towards the woods.

The woods

We descended into the woods.  It was surprising how much warmer it felt out of the wind and several of us had to remove hats and gloves for the first time in the walk. At the picnic area we stopped to meet another Nordic walker, Jude, who couldn’t make the full walk.  She joined us to complete the last two miles of the walk, back into Rothbury.

The way home

ChristmasWalk - ChristmasWalk_08122018M-13.jpgLeaving the picnic area, we took the path towards Whitton Hillhead Farm.  This is the easy part of the walk as it has a relatively shallow gradient all the way back.  It also helps being able to see our destination almost all the way back. Along the way we could see the Cheviot, in the distance.  No snow on it’s top but covered in cloud as it often is.

Tea time

We arrived back at Cowhaugh car park and did our cool down.  Then off to Tomlinson’s Cafe for tea.  Luckily there were just enough chairs for us.  We enjoyed the great cakes, scones, tea and coffee. Thanks for walking with us in 2018.  See you in 2019. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Julie and Martin xx

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