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Northumberland Walk
Black Hag from Kirk Yetholm

Nat Park - Northumberland

County/Area - Scottish Borders

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 8.5 miles / 13.8 km    Ascent - 2110 feet / 639 metres

Time - 6 hours 20 minutes    Grade - moderate

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Ordnance Survey Explorer OL16Sheet Map1:25kBUY
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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Black Hag from Kirk Yetholm
Click image to visit gallery of 5 images.

For completeness this walk starts in the village of Kirk Yetholm the northern terminus of the Pennine Way. It combines the high and low level alternative routes for the first (or final) section of this long distance footpath. Despite being very close to England (on the other side of the fence) for some of the way this route stays on Scottish territory for its full length. Ensure you take adequate clothing as there is little shelter along this walk.

Ample parking is available around the pleasant village green in Kirk Yetholm (grid ref NT827282). Take the lane signed to Halterburn climbing out of the village. The lane then descends to a cattle grid where a finger post defines the onward route of the Pennine Way across a footbridge over Halter Burn. The path climbs across the flanks of Green Humbleton to reach the border fence near Stob Rig.

Turn south following the border fence to climb to Whitelaw Nick. From here you get a clear view forward and you realise the terrain is not as easy as you may have imagined. In fact anyone tempted to walk the Pennine Way is well advised to try this walk as it offers a short but valuable insight into the levels of fitness required on this northern section of the path. An unwelcome descent from the Nick is followed by a long steady climb to the summit of Black Hag which is just off the Pennine Way. The summit itself is not very inspiring but there is a fine view into Northumberland as well as a good retrospective of the route covered so far.

Retrace your steps and locate the junction of the high and low level (or good and bad weather!) alternative routes. Take the left fork - a track rather than a path - which descends towards the north. Height is soon lost and you reach Birky Knowe where a finger post provides guidance on the onward route of the path across fields. The lack of path erosion is indicative of the low numbers of people walking this way and solitude is one of the great aspects of walking in this part of Britain. Follow the path past the abandoned farmstead of Old Halterburnhead, which offers the only shelter on this walk, and continue down the valley to reach the cattle grid crossed earlier in the day. All that remains is a final uphill pull along the lane before the village of Kirk Yetholm comes into view.


Other walks nearby

Walk 3296 Grubbit Law & Hownam Law from Morebattlemoderate7.0 miles
Walk 1314 College Valley, Hethpool, Great Hetha and Elsdon Burneasy/mod4.0 miles
Walk 3644 Blackhaggs Rigg & Great Hetha from Hethpoolmoderate9.6 miles
Walk 3646 Hethpool, Sutherland Bridge & Great Hethamoderate6.0 miles
Walk 3739 Elsdonburn & Trowupburn from Hethpoolmoderate8.2 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

The Pennine Way

The Pennine WayGuidebook to the Pennine Way National Trail with OS map booklet. The 265 mile route from Edale to Kirk Yetholm takes three weeks to walk and is suitable for fit and experienced long distance walkers. The route crosses the Peak District, Yorkshire Dales and North Pennines National Parks. Includes separate OS 1:25,000 map booklet of the route.
More information

Pennine Way Map Booklet

Pennine Way Map BookletMap of the 270 miles (435km) Pennine Way National Trail, between Edale in the Peak District and Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. This booklet is included with the Cicerone guidebook to the trail, and shows the full route on Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps. This popular long-distance route typically takes three weeks to complete.
More information

Map and Compass

Map and CompassAn instructive guidebook explaining map and compass techniques, to help readers enhance their outdoor experiences. Whether you are experienced in map-reading, or have never used a compass before, this guidebook will sharpen your skills and have you exploring new areas in no time. There are also tips for GPS and digital mapping technologies.
More information

Further Information

Walk Location Map

Walk location map

Northumberland Walking

The Northumberland National Park covers a diverse area of landscape between the Tyne and the Scotland England border. The highest point within the National Park is the Cheviot and besides this famous hill there are many other notable summits. The valleys are also of interest to walkers, although some have restricted access. More Information

Walk grading - Learn how each walk is assessed and select a walk to suit your ability and experience by going to Walk Grading Details.

Accommodation Nearby

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