Cragside

After experiencing two days of toast arriving after my cooked breakfast was served I had a cunning plan. I ordered a piece of toast to come with my cooked selections. On this occasion the table toast arrived before my breakfast so I need not have ordered a piece to come with my breakfast!

When we had eaten we headed off to Cragside. I wasn’t completely convinced of the choice, I knew the pleasure drive, one of my favourite aspects of Cragside was closed due to fallen and hanging trees. It might just have been open if we left it a couple of days… Despite this I went along with the plan, the Dahlia beds in the formal garden are always spectacular at this time of year.

On arrival at Cragside, more parts of the estate were closed than we expected. As always we chose to visit the formal garden first so that we could enjoy the garden in relative quiet before other visitors make their way there.

We had been informed by a National Trust volunteer and colleague of Mr C that there were new visitor arrangements for non National Trust members. National Trust members had complained that they had to queue whilst non-members were paying at the gate. The new arrangements for non-members is to direct them to the formal garden carpark to buy tickets or join the National Trust.

On entering the car park we found that the new arrangement had left no spaces for garden visitors to park. As it was a quiet day we ignored the restrictions, in any case there was an absence of volunteers in the car park to sign up new members. The new system clearly isn’t working; when we arrived we joined the members queue and the non members queue was empty. I think the Cragside team could learn a lesson from the entry system to Stonehenge, it is much more efficient.

When I entered the garden I was disappointed, the dahlia display that I had been looking forward to was not present. The formal flower beds had been planted with other things that were bland and nondescript in comparison.

Sunflower Installation

On the upper lawn in front of the glasshouse there was an installation of sunflowers, one of several installations at Cragside that are part of the National Trust ‘Women & Power’ exhibitions celebrating the anniversary of female suffrage in 2018. 4000 sunflowers were planted to represent the women that worked at Cragside and Armstrong’s munitions factories in Elswick. On the lawn there was another artwork of a giant pelvis…

Art Installation

Art Installation

Inside the house we found that the flow of visitor access had changed and that it was now a two way flow around the house. For me this didn’t work as it seemed to cause bottlenecks. The upper floor of the house was however an unexpected delight, new rooms had been opened you could enter into some of the other rooms rather than stand behind a rope as was previously the case.

In Car Picnic

Simonside Hills

We decided to have lunch in Rothbury rather than at Cragside, but before we left we had a quick look around the National Trust shop. We had intended to have lunch in a Rothbury tea shop but as we were parking I noticed a bakery directly in front of us. I suggested an ‘in car’ picnic. Mr C loved the idea so we purchased freshly made rolls, cake and a drink which, after travelling a short distance, we enjoyed with spectacular views over the Simonside Hills and the local golf course.

Rothbury Church

Lord Armstrong's Grave

After lunch we visited Rothbury All Saints Church. During our visit we were treated to organ music and learned from the organist that he was practicing ‘difficult’ music for a wedding the next day. We then made our way to the graveyard in search of Lord Armstrong’s grave. The location wasn’t immediately obvious, but after retracing our steps we found it.

We still had some to spare so we headed to Flodden Field in search of the ‘Cherry Pie Tree’ that I photographed several years ago, inspiring JD to turn it into a painting. We failed to locate the tree.

Road Blockage

Instead we encountered a tractor with a broken wheel and cows very slowly crossing the road to their pasture…

Slow Cows

Those slow cows led to us running out of time so we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before our evening meal in a nearby local pub just over the border in Scotland. We found that the pub was really geared up to locals having a drink at the bar. The experience was a little quirky but my meal was delicious.

Our hotel duty manager had ordered us a taxi and it became apparent as we were chauffeured to the pub (due to listening to the driver on the phone) that we would need to arrange a return time with him. He had one timeslot where he was able to fit us in for a return journey to our hotel. Obviously we accepted his offer!

8 Comments CherryPie on Oct 12th 2018

8 Responses to “Jesmond Dene & Cornhill – Day Six”

  1. Amfortas says:

    A bit of a mixed-bag visit it seems. The green is superb: so deep and rich and ‘life’. Juxtapose old stone with its careful placement and sense of permanence and you have a metaphor that even Ted would understand.

    No-one, I am guessing, would understand the peculiar Pelvis. It should be indoors at an avant garde gallery where only the w*nkers go. The sign should say ‘The Pelvis has left the paddock’.

    • CherryPie says:

      Ah yes… I loved the green, and the old stone, both speak to me ;-)

      The giant pelvis was quite out of place visually spoiling the view over the formal garden. It isn’t obvious what it is let alone what it means unless you read the explanation.

      As we drove to the house I think I spotted another version of it lower down in the woodland…

  2. Alan says:

    Sounds like a disappointing visit to Cragside in some ways but at least the “in car” picnic seems to be have bene fun.

    • CherryPie says:

      If I could turn the clock back I probably wouldn’t have gone to Cragside and opted for one of the options on our list instead.

      The ‘in car’ picnic was well worth journey and so was the musical rendition in the church.

  3. The Yum List says:

    There are rarely any people in your shots. I love visiting places with few tourists.

    • CherryPie says:

      It was quite quiet on this visit. However I am usually patient and wait for people to move out of the shots before I take them. In this instance I waited for the two people in the photo to walk into just the perfect place for the photo opportunity.

  4. lisl says:

    I’m sorry your eagerly awaited return to Cragside was so disappointing

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