8/23/2020

A Day-Out Diary: Kielder Water and Hareshaw Linn

 

Girl sits on a rock which juts out over a lake


After living in Newcastle for over 2 years, I'm ashamed to confess that I haven't really explored much of Nortumberland. I've been to Bamburgh once or twice, but the bucket list of famous places such as Kielder, Alnwick, Alnmouth, and more, awoke this summer. At the start of this month, we finally packed our bags and headed North up to Kielder.

Initially, the plan was to stay in Kielder all day, but you'll find out a bit further down the post why this changed.

Kielder Forest Drive

Rather than going straight to the water's edge, we decided to head further up towards the Scottish border and approached Kielder via the 'Forest Drive'. This 12 mile stretch of road aids the transportation of Forestry England Vehicles but pairs up as a super scenic public toll road leading to Kielder Castle. 

The website does advise this road is taken by 4x4 vehicles but we managed to do it in our compact Fiat Punto and found that, with a bit of care, the rubble roads are fine enough. The only time I would issue caution would be in harsher weather conditions; on a sunny morning this road is a breeze and the views are just breathtaking. 

One of the points of interest along the way is Blakehope Nick - this is one of England's highest roads at 1500 feet and has a wonderful viewing platform which you can see on my IGTV below!


 

Kielder Lakeside Way Walk

Starting at Hawkhope Car park on the North East side of the water, we set off westward along the Lakeside Way route. This Lakeside walkway stretches the entirety of the water but we only managed a small chunk of it because of the warm weather and subsequent amount of mosquitos and black flies

My word of warning: don't visit on a hot summer's day without a bottle of Deet or insect repellent. 

Not only did we leave with 10-20 bites each (with only our arms exposed) but, since the walkway follows close to the water, there were few seating areas in which we could escape the insects to eat our picnic. Despite this, we saw some wonderful things along the way. From a little family of tiny field mice, a huge gold-ringed dragonfly, and a bunch of magical mushrooms peppered on the ground. 

Since our sore, bitten arms sent us heading back early, we only ended up being out for around 2 hours. As we returned to the car at 1pm, we didn't want the day to be over just yet. Under the lovely blue skies and through beautiful country roads, we decided to head for Bellingham, since it had always been a place on our walking bucket list.


Hareshaw Linn

Arriving in the very busy and compact village of Bellingham, we realised it was the starting place for a walk we'd been eying up beforehand. Smack-bang in the middle of the village is the Hareshaw Burn with a busy but free car park. We set off on the walk after seeing a sign saying 'Hareshaw Linn - 1 mile' and boy OH BOY that was the longest mile of my life. 

While the walk is beautiful and 100% worth it, I just simply don't believe the cartographer who erected that sign. Anyhow, as I mentioned, the walk is lovely. Feeling very immersed in the woodland around and tightly following the Burn the entire way, we reached the waterfall by surprise, turning the corner to see 30 foot of water cascade before us. On a warm day, the spray from the water is so refreshing and I could've sat watching and listening to the sounds all day.

The strength of the walk isn't too hard but, if like me you find inclines a little difficult, you'll want to keep yourself prepared with plenty of water, an inhaler, and a good pair of walking boots. The trail itself isn't particularly paths, maybe some parts of solid ground, but definitely, areas of mud will be found along the way.

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All in all, we left Bellingham feeling triumphant. Despite our dream of a long walk through Kielder being shaken up, we preserved and ultimately ended up on one of my favourite walks I've ever done. I would 100% recommend Hareshaw Linn the most, it's so natural and wholesome and a little less commercialised than Kielder. 

Don't forget to check out my IGTV video to see some clips from across the day!

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