A couple of weeks ago, we bought a new book of local walks, Walking the Old Tracks of the Cheviots, published by Coquetdale Community Archaeology. It’s slightly unusual, in that all of the walks take in historic or archaeological sites. We’ve been keen to try some of the routes, but frustratingly the weather has been wet ever since we acquired it. Yesterday, the sun finally came out, and we headed out on this route from nearby Alnham.
It was a glorious December day, and the low sunlight and long shadows really helped to highlight the landscape features, including ancient hollow ways, rig and furrow marks in the fields, Iron Age camps, and Bronze Age palisades.
The going was mostly good underfoot, the notable exception being the section of the Salter’s Road towards the end of the walk. Still, it wasn’t too bad considering the amount of rain we’ve had over the past few weeks. The views, the clouds, and the lovely mellow winter light more than made up for any sogginess.
As is usual in these parts, we saw very few other people – one mountain biker and another small group of walkers off in the distance – but came across many, many sheep. These are my favourites – dramatic skyline sheep, and the four sheep of the apocalypse.
I always forget how quickly we lose the daylight at this time of year, but we made it back to the car just as the sun was dipping below the hills. It really was a splendid walk, much enhanced by the all the information on ancient sites provided by the book, and highly recommended if you’re in the area. Do note that you’re not always walking on clear paths (or indeed any path at all) though, and that you’ll definitely need an OS map in addition to the book.