S marks the spot for crag walkers

ON a recent warm and sunny Sunday, 11 members of Morpeth Footpaths Society met up in the Forest Enterprise Car Park at Thrunton Woods for the latest of the longer walks in the 2011 Programme.

We started by walking uphill through the Forest along the edge of Thrunton Crag, where on a couple of occasions fine views to the north were available due to there being a gap in the trees.

On reaching the end of the trees we turned right and then through a gate in the drystone wall left onto moorland, where the heather was still in bloom and so lovely to see.

Skirting Callaly Crag, we walked above Hob’s Nick — named after Hobgoblins who were blamed for numerous disasters — and stopped at a cairn for lunch.

From this point there were great views to the Cheviots to the north and west and closer to hand, Callaly Castle.

Continuing south across the moorland we crossed the Coe Burn, before climbing up the north slope of Long Crag, where we reached the cairn and then the triangulation pillar — at 1048 feet the high point of today’s walk.

The sandstone crags here have been weathered into a variety of shapes, which one member with a good imagination likened to Northumberland’s Mount Rushmore.

We then walked east along the ridge on a mixture of peat and sandstone to Coe Crags at 1007 feet, passing a number of boundary stones all carrying the letter ‘S’ on one side, referring to the Selby family which had a number of branches in Northumberland.

After another break on the top of Coe Crags, where we admired the views to the Simonside ridge to the south and Alnwick Moor to the east, we started our descent through bracken and trees on a zigzag path, eventually crossing the Coe Burn again and reaching a forest track.

We turned left here and followed the track as it contoured around Coe Hill and Black Walter, where a lot of the trees have been felled, before again meeting the track along the top of Thrunton Crag. From this point it was almost all downhill back to the car park, where we said our good byes and returned home with aching muscles, but a sense of satisfaction of having spent the day catching up with old friends in a lovely part of Northumberland.

Further details of the society’s walks, can be obtained from Secretary Sarah Howells on 01670 513757 or by visiting www.morpethfootpathssociety.org.uk

Martin Laidler