Rothbury & Simonside

Friday 16 August. Today’s walk was a choice between Windy Gyle (something of a challenge) and what might be a slightly easier option starting from Rothbury and climbing the Simonside crags. The latter won out despite being a variation on a “Country Walking” route with the distance unknown until we had finished. It turned out to be 9½ miles with 1,880ft of ascent so it wasn’t that easy: I certainly felt tired by the end!

Our route took us alongside the River Coquet before we started to climb to the ruins of Tosson Tower. Our next stop was at nearby Tosson Burgh Hill Fort after which we started to climb again through the lovely Newtown Park woods. We emerged on a forest road at the foot of Simonside crags. The 200ft climb/scramble to the top of the crags was something of a shock to Josephine but we made it safely to the summit from where we had excellent views across Coquetdale and out to the Cheviots.

The next couple of miles were up and down as we made our way across moorland to a number of minor rock outcrops. Our descent took us down towards Lordenshaw where we stopped to examine one of a number of rocks etched with cup & ring marks. These were made at a time some 6,000 to 3,500 years BC. A steady descent took us back to Rothbury for tea & scones. This was a wonderful walk and the views more than compensated for the effort required.

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