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)

Image of map board of Breamish Valley, Northumberland

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.

Image of girl in blue coat and outdoor clothes sitting on dry stone wall chewing a stick

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…

Image from hilltop of rugged landscape over valley towards distant mountains
Looking back down to the river Breamish where we parked

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.

Image of child in blue coat following man in dark coat through stone ramparts of iron age hill fort at top of steep hill

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.

Image of stone wall outline of hillfort boundary on hilltop plateau

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.

Image of sun ray bursting through grey clouds in distance at top of rocky grass hilltop


Caroline was persuaded to take the longer route back and though still pretending to be grumpy we had a lot of laughs going downhill.

Image of child with sad face being carried on top of grassy hill with grey clouds behind

Image of woman in green top hugging child in blue coat on top of grassy hill with sunset sky behind
A touch of faux-grumpiness!

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.

Image of wooden sign with black etching of sheep and words Ingram Cafe

Image of man and woman sat on coloured chairs at round Ingram Cafe table with gifts for sale and fairy lights in background

For a longer walk further up the Ingram Valley go to Linhope Spout with its spectacular waterfall and plunge pool, great for wild swimming.

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

For more fun things to do in the north east check out my Northumberlandpages and for more fab family walks check out Kids of the Wild’s walking and hiking pages

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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.