After our rejuvenating walk at Simonside at the end of December, I was determined to get outdoors and start 2019 with an annual new year’s day walk, like our dander to the Duddo Stones a couple of years ago.
This year we arranged to meet friends we’d been partying with the night before, for a big family walk in the hills.
Apparently they have more stamina and motivation than we, who were still in PJs at the time we were due to meet up! (1am is a late night for me in normal circumstances, let alone at the moment with my ongoing outdoor struggle and Caroline’s erratic fatigue and temperamental leg pains).
So we chilled out at home for a couple more hours before heading out to climb to the late iron age hillfort at Brough Law in Northumberland’s Ingram Valley (where we’ve previously plodged and canoed, as described by Caroline in her joyful, humourous rambling you can read in her Breamish Valley and canoeing write up)
Back at Ingram we headed to Bulby’s car park at grid ref NU 0078 1636 (OS Explorer OL16 The Cheviot Hills) with toilets including one with wheelchair access and a mini information centre displaying leaflets about the area.
Here we bumped into our friends – completing their walk as we were setting out on ours! Seeing them was possibly the straw that broke the camel’s back for Caroline…
What to do When the Kids Say No
She was still shattered (‘grired’ as she said – grumpy and tired!) and we experienced a full-on new year’s day revolt of tweenage proportions. She refused to attempt the steep hillside of Brough Law (288m high) amid much foot-stamping and frustrated tears.
Wot No Mummy Magic?
I reeled out a barrage of Wild Mummy sympathy, empathy, encouragement, cajouling and eventually irritation, resorting to a chocolate bribe and even carrying her part of the way (Mummy hero, she’s no featherweight these days!) until her mood turned – it would have been hard not to with views like this…
In Caroline’s defence, the ascent is fairly steep for 3/4 mile and she was very tired with the leg nerve pain she’s been experiencing recently.
There’s an ancient iron age settlement at the summit of Brough Law which I’d hoped would spur her onwards, as per my post on how to make walking with kids wonderful.
However my thus-far correct hypothesis, that having an end goal will motivate tired kids, proved wrong for the very first time 🙁 She’s now 9. Could we be hitting the tweens already?!
She’s no quitter despite feeling fed up and she made it, begrudgingly, to the top.
We met a heritage warden who’d been surveying the ancient site for a new App which will show virtual images of what the settlement looked like in ancient times. A clever idea I look forward to trying.
Brough Law Iron Age Hillfort
The settlement on the plateau summit of Brough Law is pretty large, believed to have been built at a date after 335 to 155 BC in the late iron age.
It is described as a multivallate hillfort (multivallate meaning that it has two or more ramparts forming multiple lines of defence). It actually has three defence ramparts which can be seen as stone walls and cairns or rubble banks. They make it easy to discern the shape of the walls and ditches, with gaps denoting the entrances.
The views are impressive and the sun was low when we reached the top.
Caroline was persuaded to take the longer route back and though still pretending to be grumpy we had a lot of laughs going downhill.
We got back to the car and were really glad we’d made the effort. A hot drink was the order of the day.
Hot Chocolate and Cake
There’s an unexpected gem of a cafe in the hamlet of Ingram itself. We arrived fifteen minutes before closing at 3.45pm and were treated to warm hospitality, delicious cakes and a luxuriously rich hot chocolate.
The cafe has a multimedia information centre as well as local gifts and crafts for sale. And as they were closing we were kindly treated to the last three cheese scones to take home. Lucky us (they were delicious!)
Ingram cafe is highly recommended after a day’s hiking in this beautiful valley.
Caroline came down with a sore throat the next day so I’m treating her out-of-character new year mutiny as an under the weather one-off. She’s had a cough ever since, which is probably why she was so fed up…
More outdoor inspiration
Buy the Map
OS Explorer Map OL16 – Cheviot Hills
Wild wishes to you all for a year of wild outdoor adventures and family fun in 2019 and beyond.