Blanchland: Sikehead Lead Mine

We’ve been mountain biking in and around the Blanchland area since we’ve known each other; over ten years now. It’s a great spot; miles of moorland singletrack that’s rocky, but not too technical. We’ve explored a lot of the bridleways and footpaths around there; biking, running, walking, and have often seen the chimney of the Sikehead Lead Mine standing to attention off in the distance when we’ve been bombing down the trail from the Bolts Law trig point. The chimney is accessed via a footpath, and like the good and respectful cyclists we are, we never went down it since we were always on our bikes (bikes aren’t permitted on footpaths you see). Continue reading

Aren’t we all explorers?

What springs to mind when you think of explorers? What images do you conjure up when someone says they enjoy travelling? Thailand? Australia? Far flung corners of the globe and rugged landscapes? Bustling Moroccan spice markets exploding with colour?

Why? Why do you think it’s always foreign lands we imagine when we talk of travel and exploration? Why don’t you ever think of your homeland? Your home county? The town you live in? Continue reading

Cheviots: Murder and Intemperance

One of our favourite places in the North East is the Cheviots; it’s a beautiful and tranquil part of the region well suited to hubby and I. On a day off together when mountain biking isn’t an option, the logical place for us to head is into the hills.

We usually head into the Coquet Valley. It’s one of the easiest for us to reach from our home on the Tyne & Wear border and gives fantastic access to the Border Ridge on the Pennine Way and a whole host of incredible views.

One of our regularly trodden routes is from a small parking area just beyond Barrowburn, up towards Windy Gyle and back down. It’s a moderate route which takes you to a height two-thirds that of Cheviot, but with incredible views overlooking the flat ridge of the long extinct volcano. We’ve walked this route a number of times, but on this particular excursion we became acutely aware of the gruesome and grizzly history following us along our path. Continue reading

Prehistoric Submerged Forest Northumberland

Cresswell: The Submerged Forest

I never cease to be amazed, awed and inspired by Northumberland. It doesn’t matter that I’ve lived here for all 35 of my years; this incredible corner of the world still has the ability to surprise me.

It was en-route home after an inspiring [tiring] walk in the Cheviots that Gordon got a text from a friend. “Where did you get to? I went dog walking along Druridge Bay. If you’re interested, the submerged forest is peeping through the sand at Cresswell.”

Eh? Submerged forest? What the…? Continue reading

Cheviots: Flying Fortress Wreckage Pt 2

Part Two: Paying Our Respects

Gordon had heard, many years ago, that there were remains of the Flying Fortress still on Braydon Crags and that during a dry summer when the peat was sufficiently shrunk back you could walk around the hags and see pieces of the wreckage scattered around like metal confetti. It was an unexpected early-Sunday-morning decision to take a journey into our favourite part of the North East in search of the site, but we decided to make hay while the sun was shining. Continue reading