Summer Walk Report 12 - Shaftoe Crags near Bolam Lake, 12th August 2012.

On Sunday 12th August 2012, Shaftoe Crags was the location for visit number twelve on the Summer Programme.
This was a new venue for the Camera Club and the sun shone as members gathered at the field car park at Bolam West Houses, close to Bolam Lake.
Walking in a south-westerly direction we followed the permissive farm track past a small lake and woodland, on through a working farm and past East Shaftoe Hall. Turning west we continued close to a row of farm cottages, through a gate and onto an old drovers road. Rising slowly we now moved onto open moorland with cattle grazing amongst the ferns and this path led us uphill to a small coppice of silver birch trees as the first rocks of Shaftoe Crags came into view. On arrival members climbed onto the hugh boulders that appear to balance precariously on the crags edge, giving them spectacular views of the farmland to the south and west of the county. Cameras were kept busy at this location with the strange rock formations being photographed from every angle.
One rock called the Devil's Punchbowl, had a strange basin shape carved in the surface that was allegedly filled with wine for the wedding of William Blackett of Wallington in 1775.
After a short rest, we continued walking north past Shaftoe Grange, a large house set in a beautiful quiet location and it was hard to believe that we were only eleven miles from Morpeth.
Moving on, most of the group made a small detour from the path to avoid a marsh area but two unnamed members got wet feet as they went bog trotting, much to the amusement of the others. Following this path we were soon at Salters Nick, a small gully next to a lone pine tree that was part of the old Scotland to Newcastle drovers road. Climbing onto the hilltop we then we followed the gently sloping grass bank down to the lake we had passed earlier, completing our planned circular walk.
Slightly more rugged and exposed than our normal outings this was an excellent walk with plenty of scope for photography.
Thank you to those who were prepared to have a go at something a bit different and contributed to a good humoured & pleasant afternoon out. Davy Bolam.