Trip Report: Two Sundays and a surprise

I’ve been a bit tardy with these trip reports having only mentioned my most recent Sunday hike in passing up until now. I’ve been slowly ticking off Northumberland’s Marilyns over the course of a few months. Up until now I’ve reported on trips to The Cheviot and Long Crag and now I’m going to add Shillhope Law, Tosson Hill, Housedon Hill and Ros Hill to the pile.

On the morning of Sunday 9 December I headed to Shillhope Law. It was quite a chilly day, with spots of ice still on the ground, and sunny with a fair breeze high up. This hill tops out at 501m, the second highest Marilyn in the county. I parked up alongside the River Coquet, which was high due to recent rain, got my stuff together and started uphill through the farm towards the day’s first target.

Down by the river

View of the top

Shillhope trig

Shillhope silhouetteI was followed up by a party of rather interesting folk. It turns out they were members of the ICI hiking club who were well on their way to completing the Marilyns. I had a good chat with a couple of them on the way down about Munros, scrambling and the industrial history of Cleveland. The walk was short, steep and steady with great visibility at the summit but a bit of wind that made my Patagonia Houdini indispensable. On to the next one.

The second hill for the day was Tosson Hill, in the Simonside Hills near Rothbury. Starting from Hepple Whitefield Farm I headed east to find the start of the path up this heather-covered lump. By now it was about 2pm and I was climbing the north west side of the hill so light was dwindling somewhat. After a couple of minor navigational errors in the brush I found the path to the top and trudged my way up through the muck to the trig point where I got a well-needed cuppa on. Coming down it was getting dark enough for me to get the torch out but I got back to the car with just one minor incident. Four Marilyns bagged.

Tosson from the farm

through peat to the top

Tosson trig

Brew in the wind

Tosson descent

So onto today. I took a trip up to Housedon Hill, 6km from the Scottish border. This is the most northerly English Marilyn and is reasonably remote sitting on the northwest edge of the Cheviot Hills. I parked up at Reedsford Farm just along from a very high river and broken footbridge. The grassy path up to the top was quite steep and a bit boggy in places but it only took about half an hour to reach the summit. Visibility was amazing with views out over the Cheviots and miles and miles of rolling farmland to the border with Scotland.

Housedon Hill

south view

silver ribbon



Marylin two took me down to Chillingham Castle and Ros hill. I think you’d call this a roadside Marilyn as the trig point was probably about 1/3 of a mile from the road – an easy climb and understandably popular with folks visiting the castle and cattle park. I even saw someone wearing a pair of Fila trainers and a hoody on their way down as I started my ascent. Six down, two to go.

Ros Hill


Ros trig

And now for the surprise.

I thought it would be nice to give the 7 people who read this blog a New Years ‘gift’ – my first YouTube video! This one’s for the geeks who enjoy talk of technical fabrics and the like. It is basically a list of the kit I took out today, just to try filming on my new camera and get a bit of feedback on what people think of a prospective bearpacking YouTube channel, heaven forbid!


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