Just back from Coquetdale - five miles west of Alwinton. Spent the night in a bun barn with teenagers 16-18. Not the sort of thing they would normally do. They debated what they wanted to do, planned it and applied for a young peoples grant successfully and we supported them to do the activity. Weeny came as well. They were ace. We managed a 5mile walk as well over a small hill. and along a valley. Weeny had some help but walked 4 miles at least. She was rather brilliant. The teenagers were good with her too but I dodn't let her cramp their style. We looked for different coloured wild flowers, slugs, tramped over bridges, jumped over muddy puddles, and ahhhh! at views and baa'd at sheep. Northumberland being splattered with history we walked through Murder Cleugh and Thieves Wedder. Murder Cleugh is a spot where Robert Lumsden a landowner murdered his pregnant lower born mistress. There is a cross and a headstone to mark the spot. Lots of Border Reiver tales. Oh the Thieves Wedder is a spot where a sheep rustler pinched a sheep then fell into the deepest part of the River Coquet as it flows through the valley and drowned. Ain't Northumberland lovely.
We stayed at a place called Barrowburn - a bunk barn - stone wall camping. Ace spot. Nothing about at all.. Very basic. Real fire. Cooked together etc etc. They evaluated their experience and worked out how they could improve it, better kit due to the weather ( these are not camping outdoor young people types). We played board games, jenga, parlour games etc and everyone had some jollies. I do believe there may have been well hidden alcohol. However it was drunk sensibly - some are over 18 but college policy is no drinking full stop. No one drunk, annoying, upset, stupid, being sick etc etc. We can't go around demanding that all canteens are sampled, bottles full of pop sniffed. If we saw it then we would have had to confiscate it lol - save it for later ;-) we threatened!
I would go back - excellent spot. The Cheviots are empty unlike The Lakes. Desolate which is how I like hills most.
www.barrowburn.com There is also a deer hut which is better equipped. Maybe we may return but in style.....
Most of all the Yoof had a ball for a mid week overnighter. They want to do it again but bigger and better but may repeat the trip on their own time independently without pesky work supervision.
Times like this I like my job. They will also be doing D of E - well some of them . They liked the navigating bit. We gave them turns with the map and leading the group. It was a dead easy route. Some of it along a well marked path along the valley past farms.
Weeny and I may return for a night all on our own for bonding and fun. Biggles thinks its expensive and prefers tents given the costs involved. He is a yorkshire man after all.