Mud fails to dampen ramblers’ mood

ON a beautiful sunny Sunday morning more than 30 members and guests from the Morpeth Footpaths Society met at the Plough Inn in the former mining village of Ellington.

The first part of the walk took us from the village to Blakemoor Farm at Cresswell. Because of the wet winter and recently-melted snow, the first part of the walk over fields was extremely muddy in parts and all of us reached Blakemoor Farm with ‘clarty’ boots and trousers.

We took a coffee break at the bird hide at Cresswell Pond. Several ‘twitchers’ were in the hide so most members stayed outside on the boardwalk or by the stone wall opposite the farm buildings rather than disturb the peace inside the hide.

Refreshed by tea and coffee, we then walked along the main road with the pond and its over-wintering birds on the left, before crossing the dunes to Cresswell beach.

The tide was out and the beach was being enjoyed, not just by our group, but by young families and dog walkers. As it was such a lovely day, we decided to have lunch on the beach, after which, we walked up the steps past the busy small shop selling refreshments and ice cream.

Across the road from the shop, behind the trees, we could see the 15th Century Pele Tower built by the Cresswell family. Pele towers are fortified houses and were built as a defence against the Border Reivers.

Fortified by lunch and ice cream, we then continued along the surprisingly busy main road, passing the caravan park and several tethered horses until we reached Cresswell Home Farm. Here we turned right and walked past the attractive stone buildings, including a handsome dovecot tower, which are crying out for renovation and conversion.

The return to Ellington was along a good track (no mud), past the Bewick Drift wind turbines after nearly three hours of walking, including stops.

• It could be a muddy affair at Morpeth Footpaths Society’s next outing.

Walkers will take on an 11-mile trail at Thrunton Woods on Sunday.

The route promises good views of the Cheviots, crags and heather, but it may be muddy, so gaiters and walking sticks are recommended.

The ramble will be led by Janice Morgan and is expected to take around five-and-a-half hours.

Participants should meet on the grass verge opposite a gateway before the car park at 10am.

For further information, visit www.morpethfootpathssociety.weebly.com