The Sycamore Gap Tree is said to be one of the most photographed trees in Britain so when we drove past it with Elsa (arguably one of the most photographed dogs in Britain) on the B6318 in Northumberland the lure to stop and explore was just too much to resist. A quick search on Google maps told us that the walk from Steel Rigg car park would take us approximately 18 minutes so we pulled over and set off with both Elsa and Buffy. In hindsight, what we should have done was check The Outdoor Guide's website for a more comprehensive guide to this walk, including details about the terrain... What might have taken an experienced rambler 15 minutes took us 50 minutes (one way)!
The reason that the walk took so long was because a large portion of it involves climbing up and down very steep rocky paths... this is not the type of walk our little Lhasa's legs are used to doing, but fortunately Elsa took to it like a duck to water! She absolutely loves climbing up hills, rocks, stairs and any other obstacle that she is faced with. Of course it wasn't practical or safe to let Buffy follow her example on this occasion so she spent most of the journey in our K9 Sport Sack.
It seemed like every time we got to the top of a hill another one stood before us but we were determined to reach our goal: to see the Sycamore Gap Tree in its full glory, and we were not disappointed.
I remember my aunt telling me about this tree years ago, after it was featured in the 1991 movie Robin Hood: Price of Thieves starring Kevin Costner. The area still looks exactly the same today as it does in the movie! Of course it also has a much deeper historical significance for Britain too; it sits alongside Hadrian's Wall, in a UNESCO World Heritage site.
After a short rest we set off back to the car along a slightly easier path which took us directly through the centre of a field full of grazing cows... another obstacle that we don't usually come across on day to day dog walks. Elsa was very calm and Buffy was in the K9 Sport Sack, but I was still anxious about the situation, having read that cows can be dangerous if they charge at you and that if they do so then then the advice is to let your dog go as they will be able to outrun the cows. We watched another couple with a dog walk past one cow that was blocking our path in close proximity and they seemed fine, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I felt like 'safety in numbers' was the best way forward so we waited patiently until a group of ramblers went past and tagged along with their party to navigate the cow field. They took a much wider berth than the other couple which made me feel better about the situation, and as we went past we saw that there was in fact a calf in the field... no wonder the cows were scrutinising us! Click here to read an informative Countryfile article about cows, walkers and dogs.
The countryside in this part of Britain is so beautiful, I really loved the experience (well maybe not the part with the cows) and it was great to see both Elsa and Buffy enjoying the walk while we all took in the fresh air.
To top it all off, when we got back to the car a mobile coffee van had parked up while we'd been walking; a hot coffee and a banana muffin were exactly what I needed after our walk!
What are you waiting for? Take your paws to Sycamore Gap for a walk!
The Outdoor Guide Link | https://theoutdoorguide.co.uk/walks/national-trust-walks/sycamore-gap-walk-northumberland/
Sycamore Gap, Henshaw, Hexham NE47 7AL