Rule of thirds …

Photo Challenge – The Rule of Thirds: a literal and almost literary ( ūüôā ) interpretation, taken by chance, earlier in the week (Thursday).

This door leads into Beaufront Castle grounds from the road between Beaufront Woodhead and Sandhoe – I doubt it has been opened in years.

It was not me
Who carved his name upon this once proud tree

For one thing, I support MUFC, not NUFC ūüėÄ

Not guilty ...

(click on the image to enlarge)

Sunshine after rain

Walk out of our drive, turn left and the road heads down the hill towards Beaufront Castle. The road zig-zags left, then right, then left again before passing the castle lodge.  Another turn left takes you to the only opening in the high hedges which leads to a field of cut hay. Turning left again, the road zig-zags right before the field with the longhorns and then straightens up at the back of Sandhoe Hall and our nearest postbox. This was the short walk we took on Saturday after a day of torrential rain Рeverything was still drenched but a harsh, bright sun pierced the trees turning forgotten corners of nature into star turns:

Sunshine after rain Sunshine after rain Sunshine after rain Sunshine after rain Sunshine after rain Sunshine after rain

(click on the images to enlarge)

Beech tree

From the same walk as yesterday, this is a beech tree in the woods above Beaufront Castle. ¬†Half way up there seems to be a creature – at first I thought it was an over-sized bee but now I am not so sure. Suggestions are welcome ūüôā :

The bee tree


Travel theme: Ancient.  We live at the top of a hill.  The road climbs out of Hexham from the west and flattens as it reaches the summit at the school and farm buildings Рan earlier post shows the open views looking west.  Carry on further east and the road narrows between farm cottages and then descends beneath overhanging trees to the back of Beaufront Castle.  In the twilight this can be a sinister place Рthe first image shows the stone walls lining the lane towards the hamlet of Sandhoe.

Ancient roads

The present-day castle dates from 1841 but the earliest records of a tower on this site date from 1451.  When the original castle was demolished to make way for the John Dobson designed building, some architectural elements of this ancient monument were reclaimed by the locals.  Walk round Sandhoe today and you can still find them.  Here are just three: two surprisingly ornate entrances attached to once humble cottages and an elaborate horse trough:

Ancient doorway Ancient doorway Horse trough

(click on the images to enlarge)

Weekly Photo Challenge: One Shot, Two Ways

The same place, the same time; one shot, two ways.  The view is south from Beaufront Hill Head, across the Tyne Valley towards Corbridge, Slaley and beyond.  This is the highest farm on the Beaufront Castle estate: Beaufront Hill Head is at 214 metres above sea level whereas our home at Beaufront Woodhead is at 167 metres.  The views south from both locations are breathtaking in either landscape or portrait Рparticularly if you climb to Beaufront Hill Head from Sandhoe Рthe majority of the 217 feet ascent is completed in just a few hundred yards:

One shotTwo ways

(click on the images to enlarge – particularly the second)


Today has dawned miserable again; a cold north easterly from Scandinavia has brought more rain and the threat of snow on high ground – we are on high ground, about 550 feet above the Tyne Valley. ¬†To the south are views of Dilston, Slaley and the northern hills of County Durham. ¬†In the foreground are Swallowship Hill and the woods that rise to the southern side of the valley. ¬†This is the site of the Battle of Hexham, 15th August 1464 – “the last battle of the first chapter of the Wars of the Roses”.

On that long ago Tuesday (5th March 2013) with the promise of Spring in the air, we walked these woods and looked back across the valley to see our home looking south towards Swallowship; even the name holds promise.  Today there is just damp mist and no view at all, in either direction.

Swallowship Woods

Swallowship Woods

Swallowship Woods

Swallowship Woods

This is the view north from the lower eastern slopes of Swallowship Hill – to the right, off centre, Beaufront Castle can be seen towards the top of the ridge, shining in the Spring sun. ¬†Our distant home at Beaufront Woodhead is a ‘half an inch’ up and left (click on the image to enlarge).

North towards Beaufront

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

This time I have been literal, these photos are home Рall of these were taken a few days ago.  Turn left out of our drive, walk a few hundred yards downhill and this is the view east along the back of the Beaufront Castle estate.  The sides of the road are permanently damp, even in the height of summer.  The lane is in deep shade when the leaves return to the trees in Spring such that it is like walking through a dappled green tunnel; the rains run off the hill to the left and the waters remain trapped in the gullies.  This explains the bright green of the moss which covers the drystone walls for their entire length РI have not adjusted the saturation (an intended pun).

(click on the images to enlarge)

Home - Beaufront WoodheadIn researching this post I thought I would Google Beaufront Castle and to my amazement came upon an article from the Hexham Courant published in March 2007.¬† This piece of history had completely passed me by; in short, “in the Second World War, if the Nazis had chosen to strike into England from the North, Beaufront Castle would have been the headquarters of the Battle of the Tyne”.

Further along the lane, this gate is a signature for the Castle, a private place we have never visited close up in all the eighteen years we have lived here.

Home - Beaufront WoodheadAs you approach the centre of the small settlement of Sandhoe from the west, there is a sharp uphill turn left which climbs some 220 feet in less than half a mile.  At the top is Beaufront Hill Head where the views to Corbridge and beyond open out to the south; from here you can see forever.

Beaufront Hill HeadI have found peace under these vast Northumbrian skies and this fitting music is playing as I write this post from home; it is Peter Broderick’s Human Eyeballs on Toast – an unpleasant title/lyric for such a gentle melody played on a wonderful sounding upright Ernst Gabler piano.