Looking for some inspiration to get out into the National Park? Our friend Geoff Holland from Cheviot Walks has kindly suggested some great walks for you to enjoy this Winter.
“A glass of port in one hand and a luxury chocolate in the other and it is easy to go soft around the edges, Christmas can do that to you. The celebrations continue to stretch out and by the early part of the new year you are starting to feel the lethargy seeping through your limbs. The weather, of course, also plays a part, dark, drab days, rainfall perhaps, even a thin blanket of snow would help to lift the mood. Sunshine might be too much to expect.
Then, just when you think that all is lost, you remember the words of the Greek philosopher Aristole: “To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake it is necessary to stand out in the cold”. Eureka, that is the motivation you have been looking for and away you go on your first country walk of the year.
At this time of year, slighter longer days are beginning to creep over the horizon, not quite sufficient for the big walks of summer but nonetheless enough daylight hours to satisfy all levels of fitness. Some folk will have their own favourite walks to blow away the cobwebs of Christmas, perhaps a walk to the airy summit of Yeavering Bell and the remnants of the largest hillfort in the Northumberland National Park.
This superb hill can be reached on the excellent 7 mile KIRKNEWTON HILLFORT CIRCUIT starting next to the Church of St. Gregory the Great, the burial place of the renowned 19th-century campaigner for women`s rights, Josephine Butler. Others, fancying a little bit more of a winter challenge, might choose to tackle the muckle CHEVIOT, a big brute of a hill and Northumberland`s highest. The end of the public road through the Harthope Valley six miles from Wooler, is the natural starting point for an out and back walk.
My preference would be THE ROWHOPE BURN HORSESHOE, a delightful 7.8 mile circuit to one of the best-loved tops in the Cheviot Hills, the iconic and border-straddling Windy Gyle. What could be better than standing on the top of this cairn-crowned hill on a crisp, clear winter`s day enjoying a 360-degree panorama of both sides of the border fence.
Whichever route you chose to walk, just be sure to be well wrapped up and suitably prepared for anything that the winter hills can throw at you. They will still be there when the warmer days arrive.”
Since January 2006 Cheviot Walks has proved to be an invaluable online resource for fantastic walking routes in the Cheviots Hills.