One of the penultimate high points gained on the northern end of the legendary Pennine Way, Windy Gyle is one of Northumberland’s greatest summits. Hikes to Windy Gyle lead you amongst an isolated, rugged landscape, on the very frontier between England and Scotland.
This hinterland has always been wild and sparsely populated. A history full of tales of reivers and brutal lawlessness adds to the atmosphere. Fortunately, today it is only the tempestuous weather you’ll have to concern yourself with whilst you enjoy this stark landscape, rich in hiking potential.
Old drover’s roads provide access to many of the walking routes to Windy Gyle. The farmstead of Cocklawfoot at the head of the Bowmont Valley makes for a good starting point from the Scottish side, whilst the Coquet Valley provides access to the south of the border. On the banks of the River Beamish, the charming village of Ingram makes for a lovely base.
Once up on the tops, you can follow the border fence along the main ridge, where you’ll feel as though you’ve one foot in England and one in Scotland. Finger signs erected to aid Pennine Way walkers also point the way ahead. Thanks to these navigational aids and the gradual inclines, you should have no trouble in winter conditions with the correct clothing and a decent pair of winter boots.
Upon arriving at the summit, you’ll find the extensive stone pile of Russell’s Cairn - which is thought to be a Bronze Age burial marker - a rough shelter and a whitewashed trig pillar. The view is lovely on a good day. A tumultuous sea of rough, rolling green stretches away into Scotland. The distinctive Eildon Hills can be seen to the north west, backed by the Southern Uplands.
Windy Gyle might be overshadowed by the mighty Cheviot but it’s one of the jewels of this range. Standing at 2,031 feet (619 m), the summit boasts breathtaking views and is topped with a Bronze Age burial cairn, Russell’s Cairn.
October 14, 2022
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