Believe it or not we’ve never walked in this part of Northumberland before today. A good day to break our Ponteland duck then.
It was a bright and breezy day at 11:00 when we started out with the threat of rain lurking on the horizon at 3pm. We walked along the main road, almost to the end of the town, before scything between a couple of houses on the left hand side of the curve of the road. This took us out into farm land and open fields and into the strong blustery wind.
This is an unusually flat part of Northumberland and therefore the wind had free rein to tug at our hats and coats as we picked our way along field margins. After the rain of a few days ago it was a bit muddy in places but thankfully not the quagmire we had feared. Nevertheless, the sticky, slimy mud made for quite tricky walking for the first mile or so.
It dried out a bit underfoot and after two miles we reached a nice stone bridge over the river Pont. This bridge carried a railway line north from Newcastle all the way up to Kirkwhelpington near Cambo. It’s now disused and is another one of those lovely railway line footpaths that criss-cross our region.
We didn’t follow that particular route but instead followed the course of the river Pont further upstream, stopping for lunch under a small copse as the wind blew on.
After lunch we looped back towards Ponteland, following footpaths and old railway lines through the up-market Darras Hall estate; the haunt of footballers, banking magnates and hospital consultants. The path was surprisingly peaceful and was well clothed with trees. However, in February they did little to shield some particularly garish examples of local architecture.
Eventually the path brought us back to Ponteland where we had a reviving hot beverage courtesy of Mr Waitrose.