Walking in Northumberland
Having lived in Hexham, Northumberland for many years now (and a visitor since birth due to my grandparents’ location) I am constantly impressed by the number of hikers and ramblers who choose Northumberland for their adventures each year. In all manners of weather and throughout each season the walkers remain steadfast and undeterred. Having been labelled as ‘the best place for walking in the country’ by Country Walking Magazine I decided to investigate further just what this beautiful county has to offer. Covering some 1935 square miles, the ‘best kept secret in England’ is diverse, to say the least.
Stretching, as it does, from west to east, from Cumbria to coast, the terrain, as you can imagine, is greatly varied. On the west you will find rolling hills, rugged moors and, of course, the fascinating sites of the remains of Hadrian’s Wall. To the east you will find a variety of beaches, seaside towns, fishing villages and several magnificent castles. To the north you will find the forests of Kielder and the beautiful borders. You can partake in challenging long distance trails or more gentle circular routes, depending upon your party and intentions.
Having talked to our visiting clients and local passengers alike, in my role as Ecocabs driver and administrator extraordinaire, I have found that, primarily, visitors are here to walk the wall or the coast, both of which are outstanding in their beauty and interest. One of our countless services here at Ecocabs is to offer baggage forwarding from one stopover to the next. Many walking parties prefer to enjoy the walking experience with a lighter load safe in the knowledge that their luggage is making its way ahead of them to the next hotel or guesthouse. EcoCabs can even advise you on your accommodation. We have good links with many local businesses and are happy to recommend our favourites.
So what are the key sights to visit?
Let’s start with the 100 mile long Northumberland Coast Path, my favourite region of the county. Sweeping from Berwick in the North to Tynemouth in the South you will pass through tranquil, unpopulated areas, huge dunes, award winning golden beaches and working fishing towns along the way. You will pass castles, arcades, towns and villages, making this a truly varied adventure. With such beauty spots as Berwick, Bamburgh, Holy Island and Craster along the way, this is a truly remarkable route. Let Ecocabs help make this a memorable experience for all the right reasons. Book your baggage transfers in advance. Arrange transport to each new hotel. Organise your cycle transfers across the county. EcoCabs can assist in a variety of ways.
Alternatively, visit the truly outstanding Hadrian’s Wall heritage sites across the Northern part of the county. Located in Hexham, EcoCabs is at the hub of this historical Roman location. Hexham town itself is steeped in history and well worth a day’s visit.
As part of our many services Ecocabs also offer guided tours of west and central Northumberland. Select from one of our preset tours or tailor-make your own. EcoCabs tour guides have a fantastic in depth knowledge of the Hadrian’s Wall and historic castles and can guide you for one, two or three days. We are so lucky to have many historical sites on our doorstep.
Covering 73 miles, the renowned world heritage site offers a wealth of historical intrigue and miles of beautiful scenery. Rugged, challenging and on occasion, inhospitable; encounter the Roman experience for yourself. Extensive remains of the wall and its many forts can be explored and enjoyed at a variety of sites. Walk the Hadrian’s Wall Path National Trail to fully appreciate this amazing Northumbrian experience. Experience the 84 miles of celebrated walking: through craggy moorland, rolling fields and vibrant urban landscape. Between May and October each year you can use your National Trail Summer Passport to collect the 7 stamps to prove you have walked the trail. Upon completion you will receive a badge and certificate, making you a true member of this elite group. With world famous sites such as Vindolanda, Housesteads and Birdoswald Roman Forts to visit, you will get the true Roman experience. Magnificent ruins, impressive views and captivating museums are all to be enjoyed. Make this part of your Ecocabs tour or make them your primary stop off points along the way. EcoCabs can transfer your baggage by taxi during the day so you only need to carry the essentials for your day’s experience.
So what equipment will you need?
A good pair of boots is the one investment piece of kit that you will need. Dependent upon the type of terrain you will be crossing, you may need a light weight boot or one designed for a harder slog. The variety and choice is vast, so get good advice before you buy. Here are some pointers:
• Try them on late in the day when your feet have expanded
• Wear similar socks to those that you walk in
• Do they feel flexible and supportive?
• The heel should feel firm but not rigid
• If they are not comfortable in the shop, it is highly unlikely they will become so in time
Your walking socks should keep your feet dry as well as protected. Sweaty feet can damage your footwear very quickly so it essential that your socks wick away the moisture with efficiency. Damp socks also cause blisters and corns – a WALKERS WORST ENEMY. The best socks will provide warmth or coolness, cushioning and keep your feet dry. Socks should be changed daily, or as soon as they become wet. Socks with additional padding on the pressure points will be amazingly comfortable.
The clothing you choose to wear will depend entirely upon the time of year and the weather you will experience during your trek. At this time of year, especially this year, it is all about layering. It is unseasonably mild so it is difficult to dress for the weather. The key is to insulate your extremities. Hats, scarves, gloves, thermal socks are all essential. Many light layers that can be added or removed and carried easily are vital. Those closest to the skin should be synthetic wicking materials and followed up with a thicker insulating layer made of wool or fleece. The outermost layer must be waterproof and wind proof. Gore-Tex and Sympatex are fantastic, waterproof and breathable fabrics: expensive but a good investment.
In warmer climes, it is a good idea to wear light coloured clothing to reflect the light and heat away from your body. Cotton is poor at wicking away sweat and so will get wet and stay that way. Synthetic fibres are preferable, as is a brimmed hat. Sun block and a high SPF sun cream are also essential!
How EcoCabs can help
Here at EcoCabs we are not just a taxi company. We are a transport company with customer service as our priority. Walkers, cyclists and holiday makers have relied on us for years to provide their every transport need. From luggage transfers, cycle transport, guided tours to airport transfers, we have it covered. Throughout the year we receive calls from walkers requesting the transfer of their baggage to the next stop over point. It makes their life easy to have their heavy baggage travel ahead of them. Instead of having to pack light and carry it all, our clients can pack everything they want for the duration of the holiday. Items that would have been sidelined can now be brought along and a more luxurious time may be had.
EcoCabs can work to your itinerary and devise a programme of collection and delivery times and dates to suit you. We can recommend hotels, bed and breakfast establishments, rest points and refreshment venues. We can organise guided tours of those hard to reach places. Come rain, sun or snow, EcoCabs never disappoints. In the upcoming season we ensure all our vehicles are road worthy and have even made the newspapers with our efforts to reach people in snowy conditions. Snow tyres, cold weather kits and expert driving skills all help us to stay one step ahead of the rest.
We are more than happy to give you a no obligation quote for your holiday transfers, so call us with all your information. You won’t be disappointed.
Walking in Northumberland