Escape …

… down forestry roads, deep into Wark Forest.  I am no off-road hero but, some loose gravel I can cope with at sensible speeds.  The attraction is that it takes you places you would never otherwise go and mostly, you are completely alone.  This route starts at Whygate, a place already far from anywhere, at which point narrow tarmac with passing places turns to unmade forestry roads.  Three miles in a sign advises that the already rough track is unsuitable for motorised vehicles.  I have a sneaking suspicion that this is designed to deter through traffic – apart from a ford, Google Earth seems to show a cycle route which at worst has grass growing down the middle.  I was suitably deterred but intend going back to attack it from the southern end.  With echoes of the Northwest Passage I have a burning ambition to break through from Once Brewed on the Military Road to complete a fabulous circular route.

As it was, I turned back and headed over Shitlington Common (I kid you not) to Bellingham, down the North Tyne Valley to Wark and then along the eastern side of the Tyne to Barrasford, Chollerton and home.

It was wonderful to be out and I make no pretence about it being an ‘essential journey’ other than for the sake of my sanity.

The off-road section in Wark Forest

Almost a selfie

Beyond Whygate

End of the road at Grindon Green – or is it?

Turning around

One of two fords at Whygate

Shitlington Common

…and again.


  1. brownanthony1outlookcom · March 18, 2021

    Great to see some countryside
    Regards Tony

    • northumbrianlight · March 19, 2021

      Thanks Tony – good to hear from you. Trust all is well with you and yours. All the best, R.

  2. Sue · March 18, 2021

    Doesn’t look any worse on that gravel track than tracks I have rallied on in past times…..

    • northumbrianlight · March 19, 2021

      A very astute observation, Sue. They used to use forestry roads in this area for the Pirelli and Roger Albert Clark rallies. The surface is mostly ok but then you come across stretches of deep gravel where they have repaired water damage – they can be quite alarming 😉 What did you used to drive?
      Hope you are keeping ok – all the best, R.

      • Sue · March 19, 2021

        I used to do some Clubmans Classic rallying in my little A H Sprite…all very mundane but huge fun!

  3. J.D. · March 18, 2021

    I’d say that trip is as essential as any other. 🙂 I hope you do see where that road goes.

    • northumbrianlight · March 19, 2021

      Thanks Julie – definitely on the ‘to-do” list now. Hope you are keeping ok and enjoying life in your new home. All the best, R.

  4. restlessjo · March 18, 2021

    The selfie made me smile back at you, Robin 🙂 🙂 It’s a fairly lightweight bike? It poses well, and was that a hint of blue sky I detected? No excuses needed. It’s all wearing a bit thin now, isn’t it? Today we drove to a shop on the edge of our municipality and walked from there to a favourite place, just because we wanted to. We passed maybe half a dozen people, mostly cycling, in a 2 and a half hour walk.

    • northumbrianlight · March 19, 2021

      Always pleased to make you smile, Jo 🙂 At 206 kg dry, it is a middleweight – I could probably lift it if necessary but something like the Honda CR250 at under 100 kg would be the much more sensible option if I was to make a habit of this.
      I am sure the thinking majority have quietly had enough – we know what we need to do to protect ourselves. Hope you are keeping ok and you can resume your travels before too long. I have a motorcycle tour of Scotland booked for May with a group of like-minded buddies. At the moment it looks to be on. All the best, R

  5. Valheru Rides! · March 18, 2021

    Bloody lovely patch of the countryside and a great bike to travel through it too!

    • northumbrianlight · March 19, 2021

      Many thanks – you can lose yourself on a motorcycle in Northumberland. It is a fantastic, mostly empty, county.

  6. Tish Farrell · March 18, 2021

    Three cheers for your break-out, Robin. Essential. Absolutely. Sanity is in short supply, so those of us who still have a few shreds left need to nurture them.

    • northumbrianlight · March 19, 2021

      Thanks Tish – I am not sure you can rebel against the rules when you don’t know what they are 🙂 As you know, I stopped listening a long time ago, again, for the sake of my sanity. I hope you are both keeping ok. All the best, R.

      • Tish Farrell · March 19, 2021

        We’re fine, thanks, Robin. KBO as Churchill was wont to say.

  7. nickreeves · March 18, 2021

    Hey, good to see you back out in the wild light.
    It’s been a year (or more) since I was in Chollerton or near Bardon Mill.
    Excellent photos!

  8. sustainabilitea · March 19, 2021

    Sanity is the perfect excuse for escaping, Robin. I’ve driven on worse roads in Wyoming, so I don’t blame you for going there. I’m looking forward to some longer trips soon. Stay sane!


    • northumbrianlight · March 19, 2021

      Hi Janet – hope you are keeping ok and that your longer trips materialise before soon. Not sure if I am sane or not but, I am happy 😀
      All the best, R

      • sustainabilitea · March 19, 2021

        Just waiting to get all our tax things done so I’m free to travel…with care, of course. I’ll drive, not fly. Good to know you’re happy and sane? Who is, right? 🙂

  9. Aviationtrails · March 20, 2021

    It’s a gorgeous part of the world and looks like an ideal place to lose yourself in. I think most people gave up ages ago judging by the roads. I’ve been stuck in a classroom with 30 kids so I know I did!

    • northumbrianlight · March 20, 2021

      Well done – even under normal circumstances, that sounds like a health-hazardous occupation. We depend on good people like yourself to keep going.

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