So here it is, our very first blog and you may be surprised to find that the very first blog from a family-friendly, dog loving, heritage railway is about jogging. Well it is…and it isn’t…
National Walking Month
May is National Walking Month and it’s also the month when here, high up in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, we see signs of spring everywhere. The fells and fields of Alston Moor are alive with the sound of the wading birds who arrive in February/March to breed. Curlews, Lapwings and Oyster Catchers are here in abundance and their distinctive calls gladden our hearts after snowy winters.
The warm Easter weather we all enjoyed this year has encouraged the wildflowers to shoot up and while some are still pushing their way towards the sun, others like these beautiful Forget-me-Nots are in full bloom. The South Tyne Trail which runs alongside our track is an easy walking route heading northwards along the valley and at this time of year you will be able to see gambolling lambs, gorgeous wildflowers and if you are very lucky, deer and red squirrels too.
A gentle stroll or a strenuous walk
The more adventurous walker can start their walk at the source of the South Tyne above the village of Garrigill, or could walk the 13 miles (21 km) from Alston station to Haltwhistle, but a gentle stroll to our first picnic site is just as good. With a station hopper ticket you can ride to Kirkhaugh and walk to Epiacum Roman fort and as dogs are welcome everywhere on our site, you can bring all the members of your family for a great day out. Our visiting wading birds are ground-nesting and this is predominantly farming country so we do ask you to keep your dogs under close control, preferably on a short lead and of course to scoop any poop and bin it. Poop bags are available free of charge in our ticket office.
Alston is a Walkers are Welcome town, the website is well worth a visit and the walks programme for 2019 is now available. Explore North Pennines is a useful website with lots of downloadable walking routes and our gift shop stocks a range of local walks leaflets too so there’s no excuse; get your sturdy shoes on, pack a waterproof, explore, walk and breath in the clean air. Let the peace and tranquility of this beautiful area improve your sense of well-being, which many of our visitors tell us it does.
And so finally, on to the jog bit of this blog. Should you get bitten by the walking bug and want to take things a little further the NHS Couch to 5K programme is a great place to start and the South Tyne Trail is a great place to find out if jogging is for you. We know because we’ve tried it! And should you spot a keen runner jogging along with a liver and white Spaniel it’s likely to be Janis, our finance officer, so do give her a cheery wave as she passes.