In anticipation of starting a new part-time role at the end of the month, and losing the flexibility that my freelance life offers, I booked myself a midweek overnight stay near Kielder Water in Northumberland.

My plan for day one of the trip was to walk a 10 km loop around Bull Crag peninsula, starting and ending at the Waterside visitor centre. Day two would involve cycling the full 40 km loop of the lake on the Lakeside Way.

On day one I set off for my walk around 11:30AM and, given the number of parked cars, I was surprised how few people I met on the path. For long stretches all I could hear was the crunching of my footsteps, the birds and the gentle lapping of water.

I walked for around an hour and stopped in the shade of the pine forest to eat lunch. I made sure that distance wise I was at least half way along the route. My picnic spot was idyllic with a strong, and welcome, breeze coming off the water.

Shingle shoreline at the edge of a reservoir. Water showing a tint of red from iron content.

Before setting off again I swapped my camera for my binoculars to see what I could spot in what proved to be a dense section of forest. There was plenty of activity, based on the birdsong. I heard wrens, robins, and a willow warbler but only caught sight of the underside of a siskin and a very friendly chaffinch.

View along sandy path cutting through pine trees.

The last section of my walk along the ‘alternative route’ which helps to form the loop around the peninsula was by far the least scenic few kilometres. It was hilly too with a far more uneven surface and very little shade.

I finished the loop around 2:45PM and treated myself to an ice cream (a mint Magnum was the day’s choice) and an espresso. After this refuelling stop and with a couple of hours to go before I could check in to my B&B, I hopped in the car, parked up near the dam and set out to check out another stretch of the shoreline.

Top of a wall covered in moss in foreground with water from reservoir a deep blue behind it.

Walking along the dam gave a great angle across the reservoir and I enjoyed the return of the breeze. With the exception of a few cyclists on the dam who were coming to the end of their rides at Hawkhope, I only saw one pair of walkers who were following the same route as me onto The Belling and up to the Wave Chamber.

Stone kairn seen through trunks of a few towering pine trees.

On the dot of 5PM I made my way to the nearby village of Falstone to check in to my accommodation for the night. After cleaning up, I secured a quiet spot in the (relatively) cool bar to enjoy a meal and refreshing pint (or two) before turning in for an early night ahead of continuing my Kielder adventure on day two.

Walking stats

Distance covered: 16.46 km

Elapsed time: 4 hours 46 minutes

Moving time: 2 hours 7 minutes

Average speed: 5 km/hr

Max elevation: 249 m

Tags: #holiday #walking #activity #northumberland