Northumberland Castles Challenge #7
Today’s post is all about Dally Castle – set in the Northumberland National Park, not far from Lake Kielder, it’s a fab castle to visit with little ones (as it’s not too far from the car park and it’s free!) or if you’re more adventurous, a great starting location for a circular walk.
Castle trips have become all about chasing the sun, and on this Friday morning it was finally sunny!! But of course, by the time we’d messed about a bit getting the picnic ready, and although it was still sunny in our village, once we had driven the 20 miles North West to Dally Castle, the clouds had crept in!
The journey out to Dally Castle is terrifying!!! All the roads around Corbridge are like a rollercoaster anyway but the A68 and the road out towards Bellingham in particular are full of really steep climbs and just as steep descents. As you go over the crest of the hill you feel like you are literally about to drop off a cliff! The boys thought it was great and did loads of screaming – this was a direct result of Emily and I who were screaming in fear. Quite exciting really.
Anyway, so apart from a few clouds and a rollercoaster drive, we arrived with relative ease to this “castle” in the middle of nowhere (Northumberland National Park) that Google doesn’t seem to know about. Thankfully the apple maps on my phone directed us without a hitch.
As soon as we drove down the path we spotted it – that’s how adept we are getting at spotting these mounds of earth with a few stones on them. And as it was so close and there was the tiniest patch of sunlight, we decided to brave the climb before having lunch.
Well, that was a stupid plan.
The boys definitely had other ideas (mainly involving chasing a cat, then a sheep, then crying) so after a false start, we piled back into the car for our picnic.
Suitably satisfied after our in-car adventure picnic, we were ready to try again!
This time with a bit more enthusiasm. Although not as much from Beau.
So, Dally Castle…what’s the story there?
Well, apparently there are tales of intrigue involving yet more village bothering Giants (see Elsdon Castle) but also head-less horses, secret tunnels, family feuds and love-matches!
But basically, this castle wasn’t a proper castle. It was a built as a ‘house with remarkably strong walls’ by David Lindsey between 1230 and 1237 after King Alexander II of Scotland’s Sister gave him the land (source). However, the sheriff of Northumberland didn’t like it and complained to King Alexander III of England and the crown later confiscated the tower in the 1300s.
In the 1400s it was upgraded to become more castle like but in peaceful times the building fell into ruin and the stones were used to build the nearby Dally Castle House (pictured above with Reuben and the cat) and Mill.
It was a fun Castle to explore as the banks are really steep and there’s still plenty to climb on at the top, with the outline of the old castle still intact.
It was also quite blowy up there, what with it being one of the highest peaks around. Reuben wasn’t overly keen on that!
It was particularly tricky to get a group shot here – Either Reuben was wandering about or the rest of us weren’t ready.
This was the best of a bad bunch!
Both boys decided to bring their special bags, and took a minutes rest to admire their belongings.
We decided to go see the sheep on the next field but Beau wasn’t in the mood for the walk and it was starting to get chilly, so we were all well ready for a bit more coffee from the flask (well the mums were!) and home.
I hope you enjoyed Dally Castle! Have you been exploring your local neighbourhood recently?
I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to in the comments below!
If you would like to visit, the site is totally free with parking nearby. It’s very much in the middle of nowhere though, so use the loo before you leave and bring a picnic. If you have bigger kids or a means for carrying toddlers, you might also like this 4 mile walk (or more like 6 if you are planning on walking back to your car!) which takes in the castle and some of the wonderful surrounds. You could also nip in to Tarset Castle while you’re in Lanehead!