The Grim and Distant North

Our annual Easter break saw us head to Northumberland this year, our choice of cottage heavily restricted by the requirement to fit in 3 families and 3 enormous dogs. We headed there with a plan to spend a couple of days walking in the Cheviots – enough to bag all 6 Nuttalls, and fill the rest of the time up with the usual tourist things – Hadrian’s Wall, Holy Island and the like.

A further constraint was introduced in the form of Mart (@martinthehills) who we planned to meet up with and do one of said walks in the Cheviots. With him only available Good Friday, we turned our attention to other things for the time being…


I woke with an overwhelming urge to take a walk in the immediate environs of the cottage, and so headed out for a short stroll. This saw me get a feel for the lay of the land in the Breamish valley, and to reccy the first part of the route we would take to the pub later on. The “3 mile” walk to the pub then duly retraced part of the earlier walk before taking to the lanes. 4 miles later we sat down to a pleasant roast dinner. It was quite fortunate to find a pub listed in the Good Beer Guide so close to where we were staying.

Breamish Valley near Powburn
Top of Beanley Hill, a Tump
Titlington Pike, a Tump/HuMP

Eventually, we couldn’t linger any longer and Cath and I took the scenic route home. This meant taking a slightly alternative route over a couple of Tumps, the second of which was a HuMP too. This saw us doing quite a bit of wading through long grass and heather. We got back a bit late to the cottage, and I’d somehow out of nothing knocked off 14 miles for the day.


We headed to Bamburgh to look at the castles and coastal scenery, and this was very much painting day. A walk along the beach to find a suitable vantage point to paint Bamburgh Castle. Later we headed down the coast to Craster and Dunstanburgh Castle. Another 4 and a bit miles banked. The best cream tea of the week was also had.

Bamburgh Castle
Dunstanburgh Castle


With the forecast a bit poor, we decided to use the shelter afforded by the woods at Cragside, a National Trust property a short drive away. A standard (ie overpriced and a bit disappointing) National Trust cream tea was had. Somehow we managed to notch up over 4 miles here too.



Hadrian’s Wall day, starting with a look around Housesteads Fort and then an out and back walk to Sycamore Gap. Generally considered the best stretch of wall, and I can see why. It’s opened me up slightly to be willing to consider doing the whole thing.

Hadrian’s Wall
Sycamore Gap


Thursday had to be Holy Island day as the tides got more and more favourable as the week progressed and we’d already booked out Friday for a walk with Mart. 3 miles and a bit more was done walking around the island and then watching the tide come in over the causeway.

Holy Island
Incoming tide


After all that anticipation, the forecast went against us and we canned the walk with Mart. So no Cheviots at all for the trip. We did, however, go up to Berwick for the day and knocked out 4½ miles walking around.

A walk along Berwick’s town defences


Driving home we decided to stop off at the Angel of the North, as you do.

Angel of the North

Northumberland was great, and probably better than I’d set myself up to expect. I’m sure we’ll be back again. After all there’s 6 mountains sitting there taunting me now.

4 thoughts on “The Grim and Distant North

  1. Great area this but then we would say that, living less than one mile from Powburn! Titlington Pike is our “go to” hill if you want a quick blast and some fresh air with some great views!! Enjoy your next visit and get in to the Cheviots proper!!

    Liked by 1 person

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