After much discussion and debate with one of the fellow walkers, this was finally the walk that was accepted on the basis of a next to no incline and two refreshment stops. The starting point for this north Northumberland walk was at Etal castle car park and the route was originally meant to be six miles long.
Etal is an idyllic Northumberland village consisting of a few different buildings in one street with the most famous building being the Black Bull thatched pub.
Due to my mis-calculation of the speed of traffic on the A697, I cut out half a mile from the first quarter of the walk in order to avoid a rebellion in the ranks and take in a coffee shop at Heatherslaw Mill to keep the group on my side. The mill is a working museum that makes bakery products for distribution to local delicatessens and also houses a souvenir / bakery store with a coffee shop upstairs (a bit of incline for my walking group !!). There is a nearby narrow gauge railway just over the river to transport the non walkers to and from Etal. The above picture show some of the party through the mill stone rushing to the coffee shop !
After sustenance, the trekkers pursue a route through the jungle that doubles as the riverside walk of the River Till in the direction of Ford.....
....with a quick look back at typical countryside from the area
On reaching Ford, a few of the party were quite worried about sitting down on the grass eating sandwiches on the well kept grass. This village has unique architecture with the most famous building being a former school room called Lady Waterford hall. The above photograph is another example of something a bit quirky which housed a glassworks exhibition.
|Overcautious parents !|
All too soon, after a lunch break and a varied countryside walk, we were nearing the end as we reached the traditional gates of Etal Hall and the re-connection with civilisation.
On entering the main thoroughfare of Etal, Jan's plants are always popular with tourists as something to take home. The local village Hall is noted in the background.
It is sometimes difficult to spot anything out of place in this village as we enter the final refreshment location for the day, there are however, trained specimens who tidy up during and after the guests indulgence !