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December 16th : A Northumberland Classic

posted 26 Nov 2012, 01:59 by jenny rookes   [ updated 27 Nov 2012, 13:27 by Steve Roberts ]
For our December walk we propose to do the distinctive skyline that features in so many Northumberland views - the crest of the Simonside Hills. It's 11.22 miles to walk from Lordenshaws along the ridge to Simonside, then keep going along the top of Ravensheugh crag to the highest top Tosson Hill, then keep going along the crest of the Simonside hills until we hit a forest road in Harwood. From there we'd basically head south through the forest (GPS useful!) to pick up St. Oswald's Way and follow it back to Lordenshaws past Chartners, which is very old, and Coquet Cairn, which is a good viewpoint that's far enough off the beaten track that not many people get there. It'd be a good walk but could do with good weather, and although it follows paths all the way some of it will be rough ground. It would cover basically the whole crest of the Simonside Hills so would be a Northumberland Classic.

A shorter alternative would be to miss out the second half of the crest that leads to Tosson Hill by heading South from Simonside past Selby's Cove, to pick up St. Oswald's Way again and Coquet Cairn, back to Lordenshaws past Spylaw. That's about 6.5 miles.

We'll need all the daylight available for the full walk so will meet at 9 a.m. in the Lordenshaws Car Park and aim to be back before dark at about 4.00 p.m. If the weather is bad or we are making slow progress we'll do the shorter alternative, which is still a beautiful and satisfying walk.

Access Information

From Rothbury, take the B6342 towards Scots Gap. After about two miles turn right to Simonside Forest. Park in the free Lordenshaws car park on the right before reaching the forest.Grid ref:NZ052987

This walk is not so difficult in terms of gradients (there are one or two short but steep climbs) but any walk in December needs planning and proper equipment. Please come with good boots; warm clothes ( spare hat and gloves are a good idea) ; effective waterproofs; a torch and a day's food.

There are excellent pubs and cafes in Rothbury for an afterwalk/pre Christmas celebration.

With bows
Hope to see you there