Further tales from Northumberland:Walking the Pennine Way

Published: Saturday 18th Jun 2016

Written by: The Grace Darling Holidays Team

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Further Tales from Northumberland was back this week, as Hexham-born star Robson Green tackled the Northumbrian part of one of Britain’s most famous walking routes: the majestic Pennine Way.

Starting his quest in the north Pennines, Robson made his way to Castle Nook Farm, which is home to the mighty Roman fort Epiacum.

Thousands have walked past this spot, unaware of the extraordinary historical significance of the site, which was once home to hundreds of roman troops and their families. 

This is a protected site, meaning digging is prohibited – but the farm’s moles have been turning a blind eye to this, with their burrowing recently uncovering some buried Roman treasure!

Fancy learning more about Epiacum? Visit epiacumheritage.org for further information. 

Continuing along The Pennine Way, Robson to head to Greenhead, stopping off at Blenkinsopp Castle to meet its owner Mike Simpson, whose family bought the castle for just £2,000 in 1955 – complete with 14th century ruins.

When the family swapped their two bedroom cottage for a castle, the move attracted local attention and even made it into the news.

Looking after the castle has been a labour of love for Mike, who, as a conservation stonemason, has dedicated his life to restoring historic buildings. However 60 years on, it’s now time for Mike to hand the castle over to a new owner.

“It’s going to be very, very difficult, but I will be coming back. I can’t leave it alone. And when I do give the keys up to somebody else the first thing I’ll say to them is, ‘Don’t forget you are the steward of this castle; you have to look after it and hand it over to the next person’,” Mike explained.

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As Robson continued his journey along The Pennine Way, he found out more about Tom Stephenson, a 1930s journalist and rambler, who had the original idea to create a walking trail inspired by other routes, such as the Appalachian Trail in America.

The opening of the route made the countryside accessible to people from all walks of life, where it had never been before, so it was only fitting Robson made his next stop one of Tom’s favourite parts of The Pennine Way: the Cheviot Hills.

Meeting up with 79-year-old fell runner Joss Naylor, the pair made their way through the breathtaking – and at times completely isolated – Cheviots, taking in the sights and sounds of nature.

And with the notoriously unpredictable weather in the hills taking a turn for the worse – and the nearest B&Bs and hotels 20 miles away – it was time for Robson to bed down for the night in a mountain refuge hut. We hope he packed his woollies!

Next time on Further Tales From Northumberland, he’ll be heading to the southern coast of Northumberland to be shown the ropes on board a 100-year-old tall ship, and joining one of the region’s last traditional blacksmiths to learn more about the craft.


The Grace Darling Holidays Team
The Grace Darling Holidays Team

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Your team of holiday experts in Northumberland.


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