43 Ford – Norham

Ford to Norham13.2 miles (21.1Km.)

Ford Forge

Ford Forge

While Ford village is classical architecture, Etal our next delight is rustic with small tratched cottages neatly arranged along the village street with the ruined castle gateway standing at the end of the street. I go off route to find the narrow gauge railway which follows the river bank to Heatherslaw Mill but the last train has gone.

Hay Farm between Ford & Etal

Hay Farm between Ford & Etal

Back on route we share the route with a cycle path along the waterside but it looks like a swollen river has damaged the surface leaving large loose stone which looks unfriendly to many bike tyres. Signage is for the bikes so when our footpath stays along the river bank it’s easy to take a wrong turn. Later our guides also leave the riverside and mix the scenery with a short section across the fields before we return to the bank of the River Till. Sections here are well mown but I suspect this is for the landowner’s paying guests who fish, not to benefit a tired rambler.

Etal Castle

Etal Castle

From Twizel Mill to the bridge the track is easy going on the other bank hidden behind trees is Tillmouth Park Hotel which lives up to its claim as “one of the region’s very best kept secrets”, but indicates to us that the mighty River Tweed is close by. The new bridge at Twizel hides the old stone arch but also offers a platform for a picture. For me this is today’s finish and the relief to pull on a pair of dry socks and boots before driving back to Wooler.

Tillmouth and remains of St Cuthbert's Chapel

Tillmouth and remains of St Cuthbert's Chapel

Next day I meet a dog walker returning to her car who complains about the overgrown path and her wet feet and trousers, another leggins day I fear. I ignore the invite to make a detour and visit the castle and set off along the well worn path, under the disused viaduct to arrive at Tillmouth and the Tweed its size initially hidden as the main channel passes the other side of an island. The ruin of a chapel to St Cuthbert stands on the opposite bank of the Till but his way has been left behind to the south at Wooler.

Scottish Circular Fishing Shiel

Scottish Circular Fishing Shiel

Name boards along the path set me wondering over their purpose until finally I conclude they must name the fishing pegs  rather than dreary numbers, a nice touch if I’m right. Another very nice feature of fishing on the Tweed are the regularly spaces huts or shiels. Some have been left to decay, others are now small homes while a few still serve their original purpose either smartly for the paying guests or rough and ready for the local anglers.

Castle Gunmakers - Norham

Castle Gunmakers - Norham

Norham understands it’s visitors and has done for many years. Castle Gunmakers at 17-19 West Street cater for ‘Fieldsports and Country Pursuits’, including fishing despite the name. Parked in the village centre is a mobile Post Office sadly indictaing the decline in services now on offer but an information board adjacent tells more about Norham’s past. Turner visited the town to paint the castle while Beatrix Potter disparagingly declared “every tenth house is a Public”. I could only see two today and both were closed until at least noon. The Masons Arms had a nice display of window boxes being watered in spite of the drizzle.

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Great English Walk map of section 43

Great English Walk map of section 43

 

Great English Walk hills and dales of section 43

Great English Walk hills and dales of section 43


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