Royal Grammar School

Newcastle

RGS Friends enjoy a beautiful walk in the Cheviots

RGS Friends enjoy a beautiful walk in the Cheviots

The Friends of RGS enjoyed a sunny day and better underfoot conditions than expected for their Autumn Walk around Wooler on Saturday 12th October.
 
Prior to setting off on the walk, the 19 Friends from Newcastle joined another six walkers from Beadnell and Glanton in the The Tankerville Arms for a delightful breakfast.
 
Those who decided to walk the longer route, around 12.5 miles, were guided by Kevin Flannery and Deb Baker as they headed west towards Longknowe Hill. Here, they spied hill fort remains and enjoyed panoramic views, before veering south via forest trails and through plantations to Elsdon Burn, only 1.5 miles from the Scottish border. From there, the group headed towards Hethpool and beyond. The walkers who had opted for the shorter route, which was between 7-9 miles, took the bus to Hethpool where they picked up the westbound trail of St Cuthbert's Way.
 
There was a real sense of RGS history about this walk, owing to the fact that Hethpool, a hamlet with delightful arts & crafts cottages, is adjacent to the tranquil College Valley. To the left is Hethpool House the 17thC home of Vice Admiral Lord Cuthbert Collingwood. On the hillside across the valley to the east are the Collingwood Oaks, planted to secure a future source of ship making timber but never felled, overtaken by iron clad vessels, like The Fighting Temeraire.
 
While the walkers delighted in historical nature of the walk, they were disappointed that the the reclusive, shaggy, long-horned, feral goats declined to make an appearance. As the trail ascended, gliders hovered above in a clear blue sky and beaters could be seen on the flank of Yeavering Bell. Three of the walkers ascended windy Yeavering Bell, the largest of Northumberland's many Iron Age hill forts with twin summits and evident stone wall remains. Descending, they discovered it was the last day of grouse shooting in that part of Cheviot. Further on towards Tom Tallon's Crag several grouse made an appearance from the moorland heather.
 
A good well marked trail, St Cuthbert's Way continued eastward between Humbleton Hill and Coldberry Hill until, via Wooler Common, the descent into Wooler itself was made. Both groups arrived at the Tankerville Arms within 30 minutes of each other after what was exhilarating day enjoyed by all.
 
The Friends would like to thank Hugh, their very helpful Snaith's driver; pre-walkers Harry James, Kevin Flannery, Colin Campbell, Ken Wilkinson, Deb Baker, Malcolm Archer, Mike Smith & DDS, Mark Bell for the maps and David Arnold for his evocative walk description.
 
Friends of RGS will next be meeting for a Christmas Pizza at Adrianos, Gosforth High Street, on Monday  9th December. The Spring Walk in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire will most ikely be on Saturday 21st March, with a pre-walk taking place in early January.
 
For contact or queries about the next events, please email Duncan Stephen at d127stephen@btconnect.com or text/call 07768 720985.