It’s quite daunting leading your first walk even with a group of friends you have known for years.
- What if you get lost?
- What if the footpaths are blocked?
- What if it rains?
- What if someone falls and breaks their leg and has to be helicoptered out to the RVI and it’s all over Look North on Monday evening as you peep out from behind the sofa in acute embarrassment?
All perfectly valid worries for the first time walk leader. Thankfully, Sally, who led her first walk today, had none of those things to worry about. It all went really well and the walk was fantastic.
We met up just outside the small village of Hepple Bridge, deep in the Northumbrian countryside and set off across nearby pasture, climbing steadily to a row of terraced houses overlooking the valley. One of the houses had a garden shed painted up like the Tardis. Strange folk round here!
Continuing on past an impressive barn conversion we carried on our walk into mixed farmland – all thigh-high barley and contented sheep – before emerging out onto a shallow plateau that overlooked long sinuous loops of the river Coquet. It’s like a geography textbook in this part of the Coquet valley – you can almost see ox-bow lakes forming before your very eyes. Not to mention deposited sediment and undercut banks.
We crossed the river using a long bridge that spanned almost as much land as it did water, testament to the common flooding in this area.
Next stop was the hamlet of Holystone and our lunch break at the site of a beautiful spring that supplies fresh water to the village. The Romans (remember them?) converted a simple spring into a beautiful shady glade with a rectangular stone pool containing the spring.
The second leg of the walk took us back into farmland; the tough, hardworking type of farmland in this part of the world. We were lucky enough to see a hare scampering in front of a combined harvester as the farmer gathered in his wheat harvest at Sharperton. Looping back towards the start point we passed through Low Farnham and plenty of lush pasture land and back down to Hepple for the end of our walk.