At the end of September we finally had a few days holiday. I say finally as my OH hasn’t been on holiday for a couple of years, we were meant to be having a big holiday in December, like a month away, which although it hasn’t officially been cancelled, it’s clearly not going to happen as at least three of the countries we were visiting are not allowing anyone in! I spotted a window in our diaries and booked an Air B&B.
We stayed in Whistlestop cottage in Redesmouth, a tiny hamlet in Northumberland, just a couple of hours drive away. It was perfect, just what we needed – it was a good sign when the welcome tray included a bottle of Merlot!
Whistlestop is an old railway cottage, Redesmouth once had a bustling station, just down the lane was the old station house and the signal box, with the platforms still visible when you walk along the old railway line – even the old platform waiting room was there, albeit in a state of disrepair. Just at the end of the platform you could still see the remains of the turning circle, the engine sheds are apparently now part of a farm. It would be a great place if you’re into railways.
The cottage had a woodburner, a roll top bath, big comfortable bed and a well-equipped kitchen, it even had a secure garden for Lucy, our little dog and a sheltered spot in the back garden which was perfect for a drink on a warm afternoon. It was ideal for a relaxing long weekend.
We went on several walks, just around six miles on average, which was far enough especially for Lucy’s little legs!
We walked from Bellingham, which is a large village nearby, up to a waterfall called Hareshaw Lynn, it was a lovely walk up through the woods following the stream. There was a steady trickle of people walking but luckily when we reached the waterfall it was quiet. It was a lovely spot.
Another day we visited Hexham, I’ve never been before but it was an interesting town, lots of beautiful old buildings and houses. I visited the abbey which is right in the centre of the town. There’s been a church on the site since AD674, but much of the current building from what I can gather is from the 1800’s, the highlight for me was the wall hanging made by local groups to celebrate the millennium. It was stunning! Round the edge the roundels are beautiful embroideries depicting things or places nearby. The quilting in the centre is just gorgeous…and of course it’s the sort of colours I love!
We were pretty close to Hadrians Wall, so we drove the scenic route back from Hexham and walked over to one section of the wall, it’s amazing to think it has been here since Roman times. I quite fancy walking Hadrians Wall Path now, the countryside was beautiful, very different from the Yorkshire Dales too. It’s an 84 mile path from Newcastle upon Tyne to Bowness-on-Solway. We would have walked coast to coast across the country twice then!
On the last day we went up to Kielder, this is a huge reservoir surrounded by Forestry Commission land. To walk round the lake is about 26 miles, so I found a 7 mile circular walk round a peninsula instead. Forestry Commission land walks don’t tend to be the most exciting, but they’re easy walking with good paths usually.
It was at Kielder that I saw those amazing mushrooms…
We were lucky with the weather as you can see. It was cold but sunny. However the cloud cover came across at night time, this was a shame as the area is part of the protected dark sky park, it’s the largest area of dark skies in Europe so it’s brilliant for stargazing – if it’s not cloudy!
We had a great time, very relaxing which was just what we needed. Hoping to go back again next year as there’s lots to see in the area and Whistlestop cottage made a great base for us.