The Simonside Hills

This is night No 74/2018 living in my caravan. This is my second night staying at Nunnykirk C&MC near Rothbury.

This was very much a day of two halves! The morning was absolutely pouring down, so very few pictures. I got up around 0600 and it was steady rain from then until around 1400. When we got up, we went for a very wet walk up the side of the site. A very restrictive walk, as you are warned seriously about not letting dogs of leads due to prosecution, bans, all the usual threats by landowners. There's a huge difference between England and Scotland as far as access goes.

Mid morning, we went up to the forest walk at Simonside FC Forest which, by contrast, has excellent walking rights. Forestry Commission saves the day again!

I returned to the same carpark after lunch. There is also a route which takes you high into the Simonside Hills, and I had a good route in my guidebook I wanted to attempt.

The first leg is a stretch along excellent forest tracks.

The track climbs steadily then enters cleared ground with Simonside crags coming into view.

You leave the main track and follow an ancient hill pass. This particular piece of rock is mentioned in my book. It's reckoned the criss-cross grooves were chiselled into the rock by medieval drovers or travellers to give better grip for their animals when crossing over these hills.

The path gained some good height with great views over Northumberland.

The final grunt up to the summit was steep but well paved.

The crags over to my left.

The final stage was still paved, but a bit of a jumble. There's a spaniel on the summit already!

Finally at the summit of Simonside and it's cairn. A lofty 429m.

There are miles of these flagstones which make for excellent walking. Great for crossing heather moorland and something I've never been on.

We followed the ridge, the next target being Dove Crag.

A massive sandstone tor on Dove Crag.

A spaniel looking over a distant Rothbury.

From Dove Crag we followed the ridge ahead.

These flagstones are brilliant. Grippy, flat, and even. I reckon they're probably limestone?

There are miles of them along these hills, all laid perfectly.

A very good walk, and I avoided all rain showers. Took a couple of hours and the only folk I saw were two fell runners away below me on the forest tracks.

Popped into Rothbury on the return to the site to visit the Country Store. An excellent agricultural supplier who also stocked exactly the dog food I was needing, grain free dried salmon and sweet potato. Lovely!


  1. Shame u haven’t mastered the ‘tie ones self to the dog and be pulled up the hill’ routine dad!xx


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