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Day 2: Breamish Valley

When we woke up in Hawick this morning, the weather was not as sunny as the forecast had promised. The sky was rather cloudy and it looked distinctly like it might have been raining overnight. It was dry now though, so before we set off towards Northumberland for our main adventure of the day we decided to have an early morning stroll around Hawick.

When we first visited Hawick last year, we were told to visit Wilton Lodge Park, which is apparently one of the best parks in Scotland.


It's certainly a lot bigger than our park in Nuneaton.


Once you get to the edge of the park and turn around to walk back to the town, there are some lovely views of the hills behind Hawick.


I particularly liked this view with the bright yellow gorse.


The park was so large that we accidentally got 7,000 steps walking around it :o  So I was quite pleased to have an excuse to sit down for a while, as we had a drive of around 50 miles to get to our destination in Northumberland.

We were planning to drive to a place called Breamish Valley in the Northumberland National Park. It was a very scenic drive, first of all through the Scottish Borders to Kelso, and then south into Northumberland. The day was still quite cloudy though and the views were all rather hazy.

We were looking for a car park called Bulby's Wood, from where a marked trail was supposed to start. The car park itself wasn't terribly well marked so it took a while to find it, but we got there in the end and parked on a large grassy field next to a river.


The walk was a suggestion from the Northumberland National Park website called the Breamish Valley Hillfort Trail. It was only 4.5 miles, which sounded like a manageable distance, although it did start by leading straight uphill from the car park.


By this time the sky had cleared up and it looked like it might actually turn into a sunny day :)


We certainly felt rather warm as we continued to trek uphill.


Before long the river and the car park looked very far beneath us.


Very far indeed!


At the top of the hill was the Breamish hillfort.


The walk was supposed to feature the remains of five different hillforts.  This one was by far the most impressive; I ultimately struggled to even figure out where the final two were :D 


It didn't feel like it would be worth doing the walk to see the hillforts. But it was certainly worth it to see the views :) 


The good news was that now we had got to the top of the first hill, the path flattened off for a bit and the walk became a bit easier.


We followed a grassy path across the top of the hill until we got to the remains of the second hillfort. There really wasn't a lot to see here, but in the photo below you might just be able to make out some bumps in the ground, which apparently were the remains of the fort's ramparts.


From here the path became steeper and narrower, leading downhill through a small gorge. The path was well signposted, so there was no chance of getting lost.


From here we had another uphill climb to the top of a hill called Cochrane Pike.


There was supposed to be a hillfort here too, but to be honest we couldn't see it :D


There were great views in all directions though :)


From the top of the hill we followed a nice grassy path again.


As you can probably tell, it was a little bit breezy up here!


After a while, our path began to take us downhill.


We had walked across the top of the hill above the trees in this photo, before climbing down into the gorge and back up again, so we could see that we were now starting to swing back round in a circle towards the car park.


The path downhill was quite steep at times, but it was definitely easier going down than up.


At the bottom of the hill was a little stream which had to crossed by stepping stones.


It required quite a big step!


Then it was another grassy path to take us back towards the car.


Somewhere here we missed another hillfort or two!


Even if we didn't find all the hillforts, it was a fun walk with some great views :) We were quite thirsty by the time we had finished, so drove to the nearby town of Wooler to find something to drink. Wooler was a pretty little town.


And it had some patriotic bunting!


From there it was another hour or so to drive back to Hawick. Once I got back inside the apartment I could see that I look rather... pink! It seems to have been a mistake not to wear suncream today, although it definitely wasn't obvious when we woke up this morning that the day was going to be so bright and sunny!

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