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" Northumberland - 4 - Cragside "
Date & start time: Tuesday 28th 1st May 2018. ( Map ref of start NU 073 023 )
Location of Start : Melvin Cottage Cottage, Low Newton, Northumberland, UK.
Stayed at : Melvin Cottage, Low Newton by the Sea Northumberland, UK.
Places visited : Cragside House and Grounds Rothbury, Northumberland.
Walk details : A local walk in the grounds plus a drive round the estate.
With : Ann and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.
Weather : Sunshine and high cloud at first, but ending with a few spots of rain.
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We're on to day 4 in Northumberland, staying on the coast at Low Newton,
but today we venture inland to a National Trust "Stately Home" which is an unusual outing for us.
Cragside came recommended by Dee and John yesterday, as a dog friendly country park
with only the inside of the grand house out of bounds for dogs . . . altogether a great place to visit.
We will go on their recommendation !
It was a lovely start to the day as this view of Dunstanburgh Castle from our cottage holds testament.
After being woken by the light at something past five, I took a few pictures and retired to bed once more !
The forecast for the second half of the day was not brilliant but after breakfast out in the garden
we headed out on a forty minute drive towards Harwood Forest and the Cheviot hills.
A fine Northumbrian landscape . . . worth stopping the car in order to look at the view.
We've driven over via the A1, through the town of Alnwick, then taken a moorland road
which found us looking across at a classic agricultural landscape complete with an old castle, an old village and an old railway track.
That will be the name of the village then.
Five miles further on and we enter a wooded valley, passed a large roadside lake
and turn into the entrance of the Cragside Country Park.
The public was well catered for with large parking areas and good access roads.
Details of what there was to see, or what was going on each day was available at the entrance or at the small information centres.
Ahead, through the trees was Cragside House . . . built by the late Lord Armstrong, the well known Victorian engineer.
- - - o o o - - -
We decided, as we often do, to defer the main attraction of the day in favour of an initial short walk around the woodland paths and tracks,
"taking the scenic route" to get to the house . . . and giving the dogs some exercise along the way.
Ahead was the main visitor centre and cafe, set in the edge of the woodland slightly away from the main house.
It would have been the 'home farm and stables' at the time that the main house was lived in.
Inside the courtyard there was a National Trust shop, a plant stall
and the entrance to the cafe with space for eating out under the verandah if needed.
In the stable block there was an informative display about the family and the society at that time.
Part of the display featured "Women in Industry" and how they were employed in the Armstrongs companies.
The importance of the man as a pioneering engineer was documented in another section.
In the centre there was also a three dimensional model of the house and grounds,
good to get your bearings if you needed.
Myself , Dylan and Harry by Tumbleton Lake, just down from the Visitor Centre.
The lake is a reservoir and part of the grand scheme for utilising water and water power on the estate.
A view of the water shute containing the Archimedes screw and the (blue) generator which produces the electricity.
We walk down past the old Pump House and follow one of the trails down, alongside the stream.
Crossing the Iron Bridge brings you to the start of the steps up through the rock garden, towards the house.
The path brings you out at the beautiful Cragside House
which Lord and Lady Margaret Armstrong created out of the profits of their industries.
The dogs were not allowed inside the main house
so Ann and I took turns to look after them as each of us visited the house.
I'll leave the detail explanations to a minimum as we walk around the house.
The main entrance lobby . . . entrance is free with National Trust membership.
The dining room.
. . . and the sitting room in the newer part of the house.
I believe the old sitting room became known as the library.
The house included some lovely stained glass windows which lit the rooms and provided privacy from outside.
The famous kitchens complete with original equipment and power driven rotisseries in front of the big cooking range and fireplace.
The box furniture with the wheel and cable is a 'dumb waiter' to transfer clean and dirty dishes to and from the scullery below.
A wider view of the kitchen and the displays.
The pot racks mentioned in the leaflet above.
Technical innovations were a feature of Cragside . . . here an hydraulic passenger lift.
Upstairs we visited the grand bedrooms . . .
. . . each with their own seating area.
Upstairs from the main entrance was a grand corridor.
Behind the main room was a billiard room where staff were just testing that the equipment was still in working order.
( I was privileged to be allowed a small go . . . ending up potting the black after a few missed shots ! )
A view back up to the house . . . a most impressive building in such a wonderful setting.
Time to be heading back to the car . . . in order to experience the six mile drive around the "Carriage Trail".
A brief stop at Cragend Quarry . . . presumably the source of much of the stone used for the house.
The incongruous thatched boathouse on the now-drained Blackburn lake.
The road took us on around the Nelly Moss Lakes.
These are artificially raised lakes and water from them was piped down and used to provide hydro electric power for the main house.
The view up the length of the South Lake.
We stopped again at the Nelly Moss car park and explored the vast area of rhododendron forrest.
" Welcome to the labyrinth"
Nelly Moss North Lake from the boathouse.
The circuit brought us back round to Tumbleton Lake . . .
. . . and to the Visitor Centre we had walked to earlier.
- - - o o o - - -
Time to be thinking about heading home,
but as we were so close we decided to call into Rothbury Village before we did.
Rothbury is a thriving little town with a lovely green heart.
Being reasonable commuter distance from the Newcastle conurbation, there was quite a lot of new, tasteful development too.
We took the opportunity to pick up a few supplies for the remainder of our self-catering holiday week.
A view of Alnwick Castle as we drove back in rather poorer weather . . . the first of the week.
The display of spring blossom on the cherry trees in the castle grounds had been impressive
but best seen from a slow drive through town or by making a separate visit to the castle.
For us it was just a short drive back to Low Newton and dinner at The Ship Inn
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Panasonic Lumix Tz60 Compact, or my Panasonic Gx8 mid-range System Camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a local map and tourist leaflets to explore the area.
Previous Lakeland walk - 25th April 2018 - Spring and a Bike Ride
A previous time in the area - This is the first time to Cragside for us so there are no previous pictures to refer to.
Next walk - 2nd/3rd May - Beadnell & Craster