I really enjoyed the walk over the Simonside Hills from Rothbury earlier in the summer, and had noted at the time that the heather would look great in August, so on my return to Northumberland for a week’s holiday at the end of August I made a point of doing the walk again.
This time I went with my sister and brother-in-law and we parked at the car park below The Beacon, the first of the hills, which made the loop walk a little shorter than starting and finishing in Rothbury, but it’s still a steepish climb up the first section along part of the St Oswald’s Way!
At the top we were caught in the only heavy shower of my holiday, so we huddled down in the stone shelter at the summit for a while as it passed over. Fortunately, this didn’t take long, so we were soon on our way again following the ridge to the next summit at Dove Crag, a welcome lunch stop with fine views over the heather towards Simonside.
At Old Stell Crag the skies looked threatening again and we could see rain moving across the moorland in the distance, but it seemed to be just skirting our position, so we carried on towards Simonside and down the rocky path to pick up the track down through the forest.
At the track, we looked back across the heather to the rocky outcrop on Simonside with two distant figures on the summit where we had just been. In the other direction we had fine views over the heather to the Coquet valley below.
From here we descended through the trees to Great Tosson and back along the lane to the car park. Before reaching Great Tosson, the path leaves the forest briefly, giving more great views across Coquetdale to the Cheviots in the distance.