Our latest weekend walk was to another waterfall, Linhope Spout on Linhope Burn in the Cheviot Hills, Northumberland National Park.
Yet again we were blessed with stunning weather. Bright sunshine, cerulean skies, deeply biting cold (which went unnoticed once we were moving) and heart-stopping views with hills and valleys reminiscent of New Zealand’s south island.
The Lure of Tragedy
I’ve a suspicion that waterfalls are becoming an addiction although the attraction of this one, having been recommended by friends, was the slightly morbid fascination that a woman had recently died there. This knowledge certainly piqued my excitement. I haven’t managed to verify the tale so it’s sounding like an urban (read rural) myth but it heightened my interest for sure and made us take extra care the whole time.
Dangling an End-Goal Carrot
For younger Kids of the Wild yet to develop their hiking stamina, a waterfall provides an exciting and interesting focus to a walk. As an only child, Caroline can get tired or bored sooner than children with siblings so if we’re not with friends (when she can run great distances without a whinge), having a goal for the walk maintains her momentum during down times, which usually occur going uphill! A bankside picnic at a huge waterfall worked well.
We saw Caroline’s first Goldcrest; a tiny flame-fairy flitting about in a conifer.
There was also a lot of Pheasant noise which interestingly felt misplaced. In other rural areas a Pheasant call can be a real affirmation of being in the countryside but here, in the remote, rugged wild it was an oddly unwelcome reminder of domestication and human interference in nature. I wanted raw wild to complement the raw beauty of the land. Sorry Pheasants, some other time perhaps.
Children, Dogs and Squirrels
The 3-mile round walk to Linhope Spout is moderately hard. Some of it follows farm roads (closed to public traffic) with a couple of challenging hills for young children, one rocky and slippy in wet or ice. My challenge was the frozen mossy grass on the high ground, welly soles proving useless for grip.
Dogs need to be under close control or on leads for part of the way as it is permissive access over grouse land.
There are red squirrels in the area though we didn’t spot any.
Park at the roadside near Hartside Farm (Grid Reference NT 976 173). For toilets stop sooner at Bulby Woods car park in Ingram – after that it’s Wild Wees ahoy!
There’s a map board near the farm for those without OS, and a signpost once you reach the hamlet of Linhope.
Up in the hills, the waterfall is at first invisible, then unassuming and then a precipitous and roaring chute, dropping 60′ (18m) to a 6′ (2m) wide, 16′ (5m) deep plunge pool, perfect for wild swimming in the summer. It’s effectively an infinity pool where you swim against the current.
Where’s the waterfall?
The Waterfall of Doom
Explored from above and below, it’s easy to see how one false move could lead to a fatal fall, but nevertheless it was a great adventure for a 7-year old (and me) and a wildly beautiful location with some tricky scrambling down the rocks to the pool.
We picnic-ed briskly, getting super-cold backsides on the freezing bank, paddled, bouldered over stepping-stones and headed home at sunset for hot chocolate in the van.
Anyone heard of ‘Waterfalls Anonymous’ so I can curb this growing addiction?…or possibly extract some secret locations from fellow sufferers!
What’s your wild addiction?