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Summer is here
Rejoice! Kielder has had a summer. Surely you remember what one of those was like? My parents told me we used to have them on an annual basis.
With temperatures soaring and minimal rain there has been evidence of cheeky little devils leaving washing on the line....overnight. Apart from the 22nd of July, where we had the most impressive thunderstorm with horizontal rain, sheeting rain and more rain. I just had to stand out in it and have a bit of a cool down. The air was cleared and hey presto, just like magic it was dry by morning for another sunny day.
The sun has been perfect for the summer holidays. The pleasant days have brought striking views, with glorious sunrises and sunsets. You'll know if the odds are high for the sun to be around in Kielder as the symphony of our fleet of lawnmowers will be heard for most of the day. And if it's a bit overcast, then it'll be chainsaws and the thump of log-splitters you'll be hearing.
A lovely spot for a chill and a picnic is around the Kielder Dam. Picnic benches and facilities are available and on those Indian summer days when the air is heavy the Kielder dam area constantly hosts a wonderful breeze. You can relax and enjoy the expanse of Kielder Water whilst reading a book or just eat your own bodyweight in picnic fare.
Just like the beach (Did you see what I did there? I've put Kielder Dam in the same league as a tropical paradise......) don't forget to layer up with the sunscreen as this cooling breeze masks the effects of our summer sun.
Elf Kirk, 500m away from the dam towards Kielder Village offers you a fantastic viewpoint, one not to be missed.
We have had not one but two new places to stay in and around the Kielder area. Two totally different aspects of accommodation and each at opposite ends of the reservoir.
The first to note is Kielder Castle Cottage: on the outskirts of Kielder Village, opposite the castle newly refurbished and open for business all year round. This is an ideal place to stage any activity holiday as you are at the hub of all bike trails and walks in Kielder. Ten metres from the bus stop that provides our services. This cottage has prime location in that it's equally spaced between the Anglers Arms Pub and Kielder Castle Cafe with the shop and Post Office a five minute walk away. What more can I say? Further information can be found here.
And now for something completely different.....all you glampers out there, Falstone (Spitting distance to Kielder Dam) offers Luxury Shepherd Huts. I'm a canvas and sleeping bag camper so this glamping lark was a new one on me. Enjoying yourself whilst camping? Shower, King size bed, log burning stove and a chef to cook for you as well! What's that all about?
Once again the beauty of the Kielder area is on your doorstep with the Lakeside Way and Kielder water five minutes away. Falstone Tea Rooms, The Blackcock Inn and The Pheasant Inn all around the corner.
For further info go to: http://www.poshhuts.com/
For additional accommodation providers log onto www.staykielder.co.uk and www.visitkielder.com.
Slightly off the beaten track but easily accessible is a lovely woodland walk crossing over the Lewisburn two miles outside Kielder Village. I went with the family a week or so ago. There is a car park and we started the walk via the small suspension bridge that spans the burn. You walk through pleasant woodland alongside the burn with a meandering path that has a couple of slopes but all have been 'stepped' by the Forestry Commission. The tranquillity of the of the area is complete: the noise of the burn babbling it's way down the valley, the birdsong and bird life around you and the swish of undergrowth as we wander through cool woodland. As a certain Kent Farmer mentions many a time...perfick!
The last third of the walk takes you onto the Route 10 cycleway along a forest track. Be vigilant to the possibility of other users as you bimble without a care along it. On crossing the road bridge you will see directly in front of you that the ground rises up, forming a ridge overlooking Lewisburn. This offered the perfect vantage point for our notorious Northumberland Highwayman, marauder and general neer do well: Rufus Mason. Legend has it that Rufus plagued travellers of the Lewisburn trail by robbing and plundering many during the 1740's.
The Duke of Northumberland put a price on his head of 50 guinea's (Dead or alive).
Rufus was mortally wounded in 1748 by a traveller who returned fire when accosted. A trail of blood led towards the tunnels of the nearby coal mine, Rufus and his amassed fortune were never seen again.
A wounded and angry ghost, intent on revenge still troubles any wayward strays that walk the trail or who wander away from the group.
(Well that's what I told my two boys as we crossed the bridge......complete poppycock the whole story and character was made up by me on the day. It kept them two quiet and they didn't stray far! )
To download the route and further information log onto: http://www.walk4life.info/walk/lewisburn
Now the kid in me loves this bit....geocaching. I'm sure some of you have heard of it, for those who have never experienced this activity I can confirm that it's great fun. To all intents and purpose it's a treasure hunt for adults with gadgets n stuff.
All you need is a hand-held satnav, a list of 'caches', a sense of adventure and be prepared to pull from your soul that in built love of searching for something that you know is nearby. The Lakeside Way holds a few for the beginner that is ideal to start with. I love it, and you'll see that UsWebbs4 have had a bit of a laugh on the journey. In this photo Mrs. W and my youngest are sorting out the formalities after finding a cache. Whilst myself and the eldest are mucking about and generally up to no good.
www.geocaching.com is a great place for info with a list of Caches. On Sunday the 18th August 13 there is a Creative Geocaching course on at Kielder Castle.
In this introduction to Geocaching (a high-tech treasure hunt), discover how to use the Geocaching website, create interesting caches using your artistic skills and go away with the ability to hide and log your very own cache anywhere in the world!
Time: 11.00am until 3.00pm
Location: Kielder Castle Visitor Centre
Cost: £25 per person
To book, call 01670 620 450.
My personal favourite caches are the ones 'off the beaten track'. There are many caches where it's a few metres off the road. The in the middle of nowhere stuff is great, and guess what. We've had some wonderful caches plopped right out into the moors. Well done guys! (My next one to locate is the Christianbury Crag Geocache by Northumbria Biker closely followed by the one at Lord Robinsons Cairn, once again by Northumbria Biker.)
For anyone fancying a spot of burn fishing there is a really simple process to have a go at catching something in our local burns. You log onto http://www.forestry.gov.uk/kielder , left hand side of the page click onto 'other activities' and halfway down the page you will find the relevant fishing permits information. (Next to the Geocaching info) Rod licences for one day, three days or annual are available from Kielder Village Post Office during normal opening hours.
Now I love fishing, so I had to give the whole booking and fishing process a go, purely as a research tool, I'm sure you understand.
The weather was perfect, I thoroughly enjoyed my day. That's me in the picture, yes I'm the one drowning the worms and feeding the fish.
During the summer hols there are loads of events and activities for young and old all down the valley. Calvert Trust Kielder are hosting drop in days for all. Leaplish Waterside Park have boat hire and the Ferry allowing a gentle pootle around the reservoir. There is a 'working forest' visit where you can see the operations side to the Forestry Commission, cutting trees down in seconds. Kielder Castle is home to many courses, walks and activities and not forgetting the Kielder Observatory with it's Family Astronomy and Rocket Building events. (Naming only two of the many)
One point with Kielder Observatory: it is an online booking system only.
So for further information for any of the events log onto the following sites:
All the best for the summer and I'll leave you with a couple of Summer Solstice photo's taken up at Kielder Observatory when I was fast asleep in bed in the early hours of the morning on June 21st.
Northumbrian Water trout fisheries in the north east of England has built up a well deserved reputation for offering top quality fishing.