Once again, Lucky driving this time since he’s not done the A69/A1 yet, we picked Dawn up from her dockside den and trundled off up some obscure roads to the diminutive but busy Northumberland town of Alnwick.
Here, we parked badly, just like everybody else and trundled through the town to find Ratten Row – a place where ne’er-do-wells may well have been done away with in olden times, so we had to be careful, what with there being an Irish dog with us an’ all.
This leads to the Duke of Northumberland’s lovely Hulne Park which we could not enter, having been in the company of Lucky O’Pooch.
So, instead, we got lost and skirted a housing estate which appeared at first glance to be absent from my map. This, though, readers, is the kind of thing that happens when you’re not exactly where you think you are.
But we soon sorted out the navigational indiscretion and quite quickly found ourselves on the sylvan path to Alnwick Moor. The path on Alnwick Moor is straight as a dye and handrails (navigation talk for following something) a huge park wall, a dozen or so feet in height. This plods on relentlessly, accompanied by several dozens of black fly to a gate next to a huge golf-ball radar-station thingy. Looking through the gate reveals a superb view of the Cheviot Hills, Coquetdale and heathery ridges to the South.
The wall provides shelter, a warm place to soak up the blazing Northumberland sun, and where a cheese and pickle butty can be enjoyed whilst watching the dog rolling about on his back. In the meantime, workers on the Big White Dome over the wall were making all kinds of odd beeping noises..(?)
Later, we followed the wall over the rough and heathery stuff to Cloudy Crags. Now Cloudy Crags is an ever-so-slightly strange place. It’s made of sandstone and the rock has odd swirly formations (apologies for the use of technical geological jargon here) and a most peculiar arch. It’s also full of nooks and crannies and anybody with an hour or so to spare and, probably, a pair of rockboots could have a nice play on all those lovely friction holds.
We progressed along the radar station service road to join the public road at the point where the “sorry no dogs” sign is. Further road walking and some footpaths brough us back to Alnwick where the car was just as badly parked as it had be3en before.
My mapping says 7 miles. Dawn’s says 8, apparently. These things hardly ever come up with the same answer.