Saturday, 22 March 2014


Cragside House
So we're in Northumberland for a couple of days, and we're looking about for things to do, places to visit, that sort of thing.  Being members of the National Trust, we checked out what was on offer and found Cragside.  I remembered my day at Gibside and thought that Cragside would be similar, perfect for a 5-6 mile walk with plenty of shelter from any passing shower. As an added point of interest Cragside was the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity, which meant that we may actually have a look round the inside.  But to be honest, we were looking forward to the a wander around the grounds – apparently there are 42 miles of paths. Perfect!

And it was a brilliant day. We parked in the Formal Garden car park and then wandered just as we pleased. Before lunch we managed to spot a couple of deer and have look at the visitor centre before crossing the iron bridge and visiting the house. The house is quite awesome and full of gadgets, such as a hydraulic lift for the staff. Sadly a lot of the rooms are quite dark because the Trust are trying to protect the contents from sun damage. I think Peter’s favourite room was the billiard room. I liked the suite at the top of the house which had been set up for a royal visit. Quite fantastic, and the views across the estate are stunning.
Debdon Burn from the rustic bridge.  This is where we saw the deer
This is the only picture I took inside the house.  This magnificent marble fireplace weighs around 10 tons and is supported by the cliff (it's upstairs).  Just extraordinary!
After our first mooch, we convened back at the campervan for tea and some freshly made tortilla wraps. I had a quick look in the wildlife hide just off the carpark.  Although people were telling me there was a greater spotted woodpecker about, sadly I never got to see it. Plenty of tits, robins and chaffinches around though. 

After lunch we set off up the Crag for the to have a walk around the estate in earnest. We walked around the Nelly Moss Lakes and over to the drained Blackburn Lake with it’s thatched boathouse. From there we made our way back to Cragend, which is actually a quarry and an area I found fascinating.
Nelly's Moss North Lake
Nelly's Moss South Lake
The thatched boathouse, onto Blackburn Lake.  As you can tell, the lake has been drained, 30+ years ago at a guess, but the boathouse remains.  It's even got a boat in it.
On we went to Cockcrow Stone and Slipper Tarn, where  paths in between were wonderful. Surrounded by woodland, we much preferred these wilder area to the gravelled/paved walks lower down.

We wandered all afternoon before eventually making our way back to the house.

All in all a fantastic day. We didn’t get to see a lot of things I’d have liked, such as the Waterwheel and the Powerhouse, but that just means we’ll have to go back, which we’ll do without hesitation as soon as the time is right.

And our fantastic day was finished off with an evening meal in Clennell Hall which I can highly recommend. The food was really good, with the best chips ever, and a very reasonable price too. What more can you ask for?

Tomorrow we will be going home after a little bit of shopping.   But we will be back, Cragside is definitely worth the visit. 

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