Since following #Northumberland on Instagram, I’m constantly seeing images of the Cheviot hills which sit in Northumberland National Park. The hills run along the central part of the Scottish border offering spectacular views of both sides. The highest point, is The Cheviot itself, sitting at 815 meters high and is in fact the highest point in England outside of the Lake and Peak districts.
What Visit Northumberland doesn’t tell you, and the incredible images on Instagram crop out is the rough terrain. The nature of the hills are a very wet place. The top of the hill is a marsh land which would be an awful place to walk without the stone path of the Pennine way to walk on.
As soon as we parked the car, we should have known how difficult the walk was going to be.
We parked at Langleeford, just outside of Wooler, which is the most common place to park. I’d imagine in the summer, this parking area fills up quickly so get there early.
Postcode; NE71 6RG
There are several ways up, and with a little research you can find one that suits you. We took what should have been the 8 mile version which goes up the valley before doubling back on yourself, up onto the top of the mountain.
In what is practically December, the valley floor was nothing short of a swamp. Following the river all the way along, and crossing it many times the banks of the river were incredibly boggy. Our feet were soaked through as walking in the wet was unavoidable.
Top Tip: Bring some spare socks and perhaps an extra pair to leave in the car for the drive home and some shoes to change into!
Eventually after 4 or so miles of walking alongside and crossing the river in the valley, you start walking up the hill at the end. In the summer, the bracken that grows here covers the path. But if you keep going, you will come to a beautiful sight, the sign that means you’re almost there!
The fence behind represents the Scottish border which shows how far North you are. From here, turn right uphill. This is the steepest part of the climb so if you brought spare knees or lungs, this is where you’ll need those! This steep part is only about 1/4 of a mile but it is a killer. The rocks are quite loose so watch your footing.
You’ll know you’re at the top when you hit a sty in the fence and on the other side, are the beautiful paving stones! These paving stones are part of the Pennine Way path. But most importantly they are a lifeline in this marshy part of the world.
Once here, its fairly level and 3/4 mile to the top along the paved path!
On a clear day you can see right over to the lake district and some even claim north to Edinburgh. We were not so lucky as yesterday was incredibly foggy. So we will have to return in the summer (when the ground is DRY!!!) and see for ourselves.
The path down was incredibly steep and slippery so be careful coming down. We followed the paved stones until they ran out and turned back into marsh. However, the fog finally lifted and we got to see some of the incredible views the Cheviots offer.
Because of all the extra walking we had to do to try and avoid the bog, we ended up walking just over 10 miles, with very sad and wet feet. Slipping over or falling into the bog was a common occurrence throughout the day and the foggy weather really put a damper on things. However, the views coming down made the day worth it. And I really want to give it another go in the Summer on a nicer day!
I hope this is helpful to anyone who is wanting to experience the Cheviots. Just be careful in the bad weather and be sensible on the mountains!
Stay Safe and Happy Adventuring
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