As the days lengthen, we have more daylight available in the afternoons and one of our group can contribute walks. Due to work rotas he can no longer come along to Saturday or Sunday morning walks with us and so summer months give him the opportunity to lead short afternoon walks.
Today we found ourselves in Northumberland, up at Hartburn, near Scots Gap – one of his favourite walking spots – for the first of two short circular walks. We had a good turnout as well which meant that room on the slender roadside parking area was at a premium. We managed nonetheless.
This first walk took us down into a steep sided wooded valley with the Hart Burn wending its way at the bottom. The descent was pretty steep to the footpath in the valley where it was cool and sheltered from the blustery wind that was blowing.
The valley was full of flowering wild garlic, their white flowers contrasting with the lush green, pungent foliage. Our walk took us to a partially dammed section of the Hart Burn that was used as a Victorian bathing pond. Nearby was an intriguing structure, carved into the rock that acted as a changing room, complete with covered walkway for lady bathers to discretely enter the water.
This first walk was only about two miles and we finished it relatively quickly.
The second walk was a short drive along the B6343 which inevitably caused confusion and a few wrong turnings along the way! After regrouping and meeting up at the start point we headed off around the countryside at Mitford village. This affluent area lies on the western edges of Morpeth town and contains a good sprinkling of expensive looking houses.
At the very beginning of the walk lies the ruins of Mitford Castle, an imposing structure that sits atop a high mound and commands a good defensive site. At its foot is the course of the Park Burn that looks to have dried up to no more than a marshy track but no doubt was a useful barrier when the castle was first built.
Walking through nearby sheep pasture we circled the castle eastward through lush early summer greenery and stopped for a snack beside the remains of a felled beech tree, its trunk cut into segments like a giant child’s toy.
The final leg of the walk took us back to the village and our cars.
2 miles + 2 miles