Hills, hamlets and heavenly views on walk

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AFTER enjoying an extra hour of sleep the night before with the changing of the clocks, 22 reinvigorated members of Morpeth Footpaths Society met up at Wooler for the latest of the longer walks in the 2011 programme.

This time the destination was Yeavering Bell and the distance around 11 miles.

We started by walking past the Highburn House Country Holiday park and then by a single-track road to the pretty hamlet of Humbleton.

Just beyond Humbleton we turned right to walk along the base of Humbleton Hill, which was mentioned in Shakespeare’s Henry IV as the location of a battle in 1402 between the English and the Scottish, which saw a decisive English victory.

The view to our right across the Milfield Plain was magnificent as we continued along the slopes of Harehope Hill, before dropping down to Gleadscleugh Farm. This was followed by a climb up onto White Law, where we saw our first views of Yeavering Bell.

As we descended White Law it was becoming increasingly windy, which was obviously benefiting the gliders that we could see being released after the tow from the nearby Borders Gliding Club at Milfield.

However, the prospect of lunch on the top of Yeavering Bell kept us going up the steep slopes and on reaching the summit we sheltered behind the cairn and enjoyed the lovely views.

Yeavering Bell was the location of one of the largest Iron Age settlements in northern Britain and whatever the original purpose they certainly chose an amazing location.

After lunch, we descended from the top and made our way to St Cuthbert’s Way, which provides a good walking surface all the way back to Wooler with the added bonus that little of it is uphill and the wind was at our backs.

After a couple of hours’ walking we began the descent down into Wooler, just as the light and the wind were starting to fade.

However, we soon reached the car park, where we said our goodbyes and returned home with the satisfaction of having spent the first day of ‘winter’ catching up with friends old and new and enjoyed some of the best views in the Cheviots.

• The next walk in the programme is the six-mile Rothley Circular on Sunday.

Starting at Rothley Cross Roads at 11am, it will take in Greenleighton Quarry and Rothley Station among other places.

Further details of this and future walks can be obtained from the Secretary Sarah Howells on 01670 513757 or by visiting www.morpethfootpathssociety.org.uk

Martin Laidler