From the Tyne & Wear conurbation it’s a fair old drive to Gilsland. It’s past Haltwhistle which is the middle of England so that tells you just how far it is.
We arrived at the start point – a handy little car park next to the school and waited for the rest of our group. Some German tourists were there in a smart camper van so our German speaking walker had a quick chat.
The first leg of the walk skirted the edge of town, passing close to gardens and even going straight through one of them! The spectacular Poltross Burn Milecastle nestled beneath the Carlisle-Newcastle railway is a great place to visit and seems to cling precariously to its steeply sloped grassy location. Although we did leave the houses behind eventually, it always felt like they were close by and within touching distance.
Following old railway tracks and new ones we headed out of town and towards the ruins of Thirlwall Castle where we had our lunch stop, watching occasional trains go by. It’s a lovely panoramic viewpoint and on such a clear day we could see for miles.
After a thickly wooded section of footpath we rose out of the River Irthing valley in the grounds of Gilsland Spa. Still a relatively grand hotel, it has lost a little of its former glory but still enjoys a superb elevated position looking over the Northumbrian countryside.
We were tempted to stop for a cup of tea and a fancy cake but decided otherwise and headed back to Gilsland to finish the walk.