A weekend in Allendale

With Val and Kenn at Swallow’s Rest Cottage, near Allendale

We spent the May Day Holiday weekend with our good friends Valerie and Kenn in a lovely cottage, Swallow’s Rest, on farmland near Allendale in Northumberland. Unlike the Easter Weekend a couple of weeks before, which had been warm and sunny, the weather was cold and damp – we even had sleet and hail on the Saturday. However, we got out and about and enjoyed ourselves as we always do – Valerie and I have a long history of friendship having started secondary school together, aged 11, and although we might have fallen out occasionally, I don’t think it’s happened since we were about 16!

Killhope Mine

Killhope Mine

On Saturday we crossed into County Durham to visit the North of England Lead Mining Museum at Killhope. (I was pronouncing this Kill-hope, but it seems to be Killup.) There are several buildings above ground to visit and you can also tour part of the old mine – wellies included, it’s ankle deep in water. If you take your own, make sure you check that they are watertight: Val discovered too late that hers leaked!

The working water wheel is spectacular.

Climbing above the wheel there’s a pleasant walk round the reservoirs with a couple of hides for wildlife watching.

One of these squirrels is real!

There’s also a small café and museum. I liked this story about the proddy mats!

Finally, the site has some pleasing sculptural features. We all enjoyed our day out here.

Allen Smelt Mill

Allen Mill in its heyday

There is much more lead mining heritage to see in this area. Just outside Allendale is Allen Mill which was a massive industrial operation, smelting lead from many mines and extracting silver from it. Now it is being restored and turned into a small business park. We visited twice: one of the units is an Indian restaurant where we ate on Friday night (the Spice Mill – excellent). We came back to look round properly on Sunday morning as we set out on a walk.

As you can see in the gallery above, this mill also has sculptures. The last image shows A conflict of interest by Dave Morris which incorporates the Christian cross and Muslim crescent with a selection of weapons. He intends this as an anti-war statement and plea for world peace. Amen to that!

East Allen walk

River East Allen

Sunday’s circular walk took us along the River East Allen and through some attractive farmland. If we look flummoxed in the first picture below – we were. These very feathery hens just refused to stop to be photographed!

The sheep were more cooperative.

We were intrigued at this system of bells to avoid flying golf balls. Ring once when you start to cross the field, and twice when you reach the other side. We could see no golf course – maybe the sheep liked to play?

Some of the farm houses were exceptionally pretty. This was a lovely walk all round, and a short detour took us to The Crown at Catton where we had a delicious Sunday lunch.

Allendale Town

The Tearoom, Allendale

Finally, as is our custom, we packed up on Monday morning, left the cottage clean and tidy, and headed out for breakfast. The Allendale Tearoom hit the spot, but we didn’t linger afterwards because it was so cold and wet. We made do with a quick walk round to see all the pubs we didn’t visit – our cottage was well out of town and no-one would have volunteered to drive.

Even a visit to the local Dalek couldn’t tempt us!

So we returned to our cars, with Val and Kenn heading south to Yorkshire and us heading north to Glasgow. We had intended to stop at some of the Roman Wall sites on the way home, but decided just to keep going. After all, we only had a couple of weeks before our next trip away – to the beautiful island of Islay. Coming soon!

65 thoughts on “A weekend in Allendale

  1. Dr Sock August 5, 2019 / 23:14

    That old mine looks very interesting. I can’t imagine why a lead mine would not want to be known as “Kill-hope.”

    I noticed from your photo that your British squirrels have longer ears than our Canadian ones.

    I showed Rob the photo of the Allen Dalek in the linked article and he immediately recognized it and was able to name it. In contrast, I had no idea what a Dalek was.

    Jude

    Like

  2. BeckyB June 24, 2019 / 10:07

    What a fabulous weekend . . . . on the golf ball bell warning, what do you do if you walk the other way?!!

    Like

  3. Lisa Dorenfest June 22, 2019 / 16:29

    Sleet and hail! Not fair. Luckily, you were kept warm in the company of good friends. The Dalek gave me quite a start, You made me roar with your ‘one of these squirrels is real. And you know I love ‘Ring My Bell”

    Like

  4. Green Global Trek June 19, 2019 / 14:12

    Looks like a lovely weekend despite the weather. Isn’t it amazing how childhood friendships from so long ago stay strong and survive the years. Enjoyed all the lively scenery in your photos.

    Peta

    Like

  5. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) June 19, 2019 / 12:32

    At least they have some kind of system in place for golf balls! I’m always wary of getting beaned in the head when I walk through the golf course parts of Wimbledon Common (I sort of feel like they have no business having a snooty golf course on a “common” in the first place, but that’s another issue). Even though the hens wouldn’t cooperate, I can still tell they are handsome chickens!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel @ The Glasgow Gallivanter June 19, 2019 / 22:29

      Rescued from spam! Everything looks normal so I can’t think why that happened. Good point about the golf balls, I always feel a bit wary round golf courses too. The chickens were exceptionally pretty ones but they led us a merry dance.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Elaine Muir June 19, 2019 / 07:21

    Away again? 😊 Drop me a line when you’ve time – latest updates wiped out my contacts.

    Like

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