iving in a city during a pandemic makes you realise how hard it is to find tranquillity. It doesn’t take long to exhaust parks and beauty spots near home – my boyfriend and I had done that long before last November’s lockdown came around. Needing to escape our Newcastle flat, we drove somewhere in our region to switch off from Covid, uni and work.
Kielder Water in Northumberland is a 44 billion-gallon reservoir, the largest artificial lake in Northern Europe, supplying areas as far as 80 miles away with water. Its shore is also studded with art and architecture. Its most popular trails are thronged with hikers and bikers in summer. But during the off season when the weather is less predictable, fewer want to make the 1 hour 15 minute drive from Newcastle. For me, the drive is part of the adventure.
The city suburbs give way to Northumberland’s countryside, and before you know it, your stomach is churning on the blind summits of the old Roman road towards Scotland. As you turn off, you find the pretty village of Bellingham, before hugging the banks of the North Tyne which Kielder’s reservoir feeds into.
Passing Kielder Dam is where the scenery transforms…