Thrunton, Ford, and Etal


This is night No.20/2021 living in the caravan and our 4th night at the River Breamish C&MC Site near Powburn in Northumberland.

Woke to another beautiful, fine morning. It clouded a little during the day, but there was still a lot of sunshine. It was very warm. I think because we've had such a cold April and May, that it feels that anything above 20C is roasting! It was around 24C today, and I was cooking at times. Had to really watch the dogs, and made sure they got plenty shade and lots of water. However, this was a great day with some of the best experiences of my trips to Northumberland so far. And it was all within around 15miles of where I'm based.

Got up just before 0600, and took the dogs for a walk around the site dog walk, which is pretty decent and dead quiet at this time in the morning. After getting a shower in the awning and some breakfast, we headed off to the first walk of the day, Thrunton Crags.

The walk started with a walk through Thrunton Woods. Incidentally, this entire route is on Forestry England land, so no access restrictions I'm aware of.

It emerged from the wood onto a high heather moor, just like walking back at Drumtochty!

A network of well worn paths, but quite straightforward to follow on the OS Map.

Lovely weather as we approached the summit trig point of Long Crag, the highest point of this walk at 319m.

The views were fantastic.

Looking across the moorland to the surrounding hills.

Followed a track east to complete a nice circular route on the moor.

The approach to Coe Crags.

There were a good few of these rocky outcrops along the way, with very long steep drops beneath them.

This one definitely had a face like shape to it. Donald Trump?

Or even Boris Johnston??

Returned to the van for a laze around and some lunch. Spotted this Eriba yesterday just along from where I'm pitched. Identical model to the Troll I owned, but didn't have some of the extras mines had like a motor mover or a roof awning. Would I switch back? Not sure now!

In the afternoon, I was keen to do a bit of exploring around Wooler, and stopped just outside Milfield where there is a good dog walk. It was roasting when we walked around the site.

I have read a lot about James IV and his defeat at Flooded Field (just up the road), and the castles of Ford and Etal feature in his history, as he sacked them along with nearby Norham on his march south, where he was defeated.

The village of Ford is stunning! Picture postcard stuff. There were even pheasants wandering around!

A really well preserved village.

Ford Church in the grounds of the castle.

The current mansion was built in 1694, and was owned by a coal magnate who acquired it in 1907, and is still owned by the Joicey family. However, incredibly since 1956 it has been leased by Northumberland Council and used as a Young Persons Residential centre.

Some fine architecture. 

Sitting in a field adjacent are the ruins of the original castle, taken by James IV in 1513. Much less impressive!

Ford is closely associated with Etal, a short distance up the road. It also has a castle, which was also taken by James IV in 1513.

A lot of the structure remains.

This tower was really impressive.

Inside the tower.

Looking up in the tower. Apart from the roof, it was quite amazing how much is standing. Very impressive place, and managed by English Heritage. The reception area looked closed, but I would have got entry free with my SNH Membership.

And finally, I like to do my bit for the local economy wherever I go. Done a bit of research, and I think the closest brewery to here is Hetton Law, near Wooler, probably 10-12miles away. Looked at their website and it is for sale in the farm shop in Wooler, where I picked up a couple. Probably paid a premium, but it goes to a decent cause. This one is the IPA, and it is very good. 

Also stopped at the Carrington Country Store in Wooler and picked up a sack of dog food, incredibly at the cheapest I have ever seen it!


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