Saturday Snapshots – Great Hetha Walk

We’ve been having a mix of weather recently what with wet days, windy days, dull grey days and a few beautiful sunny days. Wednesday was one of the days when the sun shone the sky was blue and it even felt a bit spring-like. So that afternoon Dave and I decided it was time we took a walk in the Cheviot Hills.

We’ve lived just north of the Cheviots for nearly two years now and have been saying ever since we arrived that we must go walking in the hills. I don’t know how many hills there are that form the range, but there are many of these rounded hills bisected by valleys. They straddle the border between England and Scotland, that area of land fought over in the past, a land where the Border Reivers held sway. The Cheviot, itself is the highest point at 815 metres and the last major peak in England, but we decided to start small with Great Hetha above College Valley and work up to walking the Marilyns.

The photo above shows the view at the start of our walk with Great Hetha on the skyline. It’s 210 metres at the summit where there are the remains of an ancient hillfort. We parked in the car park just south of Hethpool and the walk began easily enough along the private road through the Valley. The photo below shows the Valley looking south:

After a short distance and turning right it’s a steep uphill climb described in Walks in the Cheviot Hills by David Haffey as a ‘strenuous climb‘! I was soon struggling for breath. We stopped halfway up to look at the view northwards to Scotland (and to get our breath back!).

Looking up at that point we could see a small cairn on the summit, still a steep climb ahead.

It was worth the climb to reach the hillfort. This is an Iron Age hillfort dating from about 500BC. The remains of the stone ramparts are still there and it was easy to imagine what it must have been like in such an isolated place, being able to see for miles around, aware of any approach to the hill. According to the Walks guidebook such hillforts would have contained several timber-built round-houses within the stone ramparts, probably being occupied for several centuries.

From there we left the route in the guidebook and walked down the other side of the hill to the valley below and crossed the Elsdon Burn. The sky was most dramatic:

It was getting towards the end of the afternoon and as we headed back to the car, the sheep were being rounded up in the field, below a wooded dome-shaped hill known locally as the Collingwood Oaks (after Admiral Lord Collingwood – there is a hotel in Cornhill called the Collingwood Arms, more about that another time maybe). I wasn’t quick enough to take a photo of the running sheep (they were galloping!) but I managed to snap the farmer and his three sheepdogs on their way back, with the Collingwood Oaks in the background.

There are more photos of our walk on Flickr.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce, At Home With Books.

22 thoughts on “Saturday Snapshots – Great Hetha Walk”

  1. I can definitely feel that “catch” of breath, as the last hiking I did was around a part of the rim of the Grand Canyon. The elevation makes it difficult to breathe, anyway. Mountain hiking is always challenging.

    Lovely photos and lovely surroundings that greet you each day! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I was thinking the hill didn’t look that tall from the first photo, but you can definitely tell from the views on the way up that it’s high. And those views are so beautiful! I love old places like that where there is so much history to imagine.

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  3. So lovely!! A walk outside like this is one of my favorite things of all…brings such peace and helps me remember the beauties of our natural world among all the daily chaos. I’m traveling to Ireland this spring and can’t wait!

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  4. I do miss hiking. Before my husband’s illness we loved to hike and when we were in Scotland, I kept thinking how much fun it would be to walk those hills with all the sheep. The only thing I brought home with me was a little sheep made of plastic and wool.

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  5. I felt like I walked with you. The rolling hills, green pastures, stream and trees, forgiving sky, and your narrative complete the day’s story-exhilirating.

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