Routin Lynn

On our trip to Northumberland in November 2020, the guest book in our cottage was full of rave reviews about walks around the Ford & Etal estate. We didn’t make it up there during that week, but the comments stayed in my mind and I spent a long time perusing the walks on the Ford & Etal website. Therefore, when Sam set off on the Cheviot Goat ultra run in March and I had a day to myself with the dogs, I decided to head north and explore part of the estate.

I decided to head out on a linear walk from the village of Ford to the waterfall Routin Lynn. There is very limited free parking in Ford, which wasn’t a problem as I arrived ridiculously early after dropping Sam off at the race start at 6am. The walk was just under three miles each way and was actually surprisingly easy – heading out of the village through a small woodland, you walk through farmland to reach Ford Moss Nature Reserve, before crossing through more fields to get to the woods where you will find Routin Lynn.

There are plenty of more famous waterfalls in Northumberland like Hareshaw Linn and Linhope Spout. Maybe this is why I had the waterfall completely to myself for the twenty minutes I spent there: it was so quiet and peaceful, until Coal belly-flopped into the water and soaked me!

Navigation was mostly straight forward, but there were a few places where I needed to have my OS maps app in my hand and keep an eye on the arrow to make sure I was heading in the right direction. In the woods just outside of Ford, a section of the path is almost totally obliterated by branches and other detritus: I wasn’t sure if this was due to forestry work or the impact of the many storms which have battered Northumberland over the winter. I was able to pick my way through reasonably quickly, and from here it was plain sailing until I was nearly at Routin Lynn.

To get into the woods where you’ll find the waterfall, you need to cross a small but fairly deep stream. Your choices for crossing are either a cattle grid which doubles as a bridge, or stepping stones, which can get submerged when it’s been wet. Typically, they were submerged when I needed to cross, but I managed to get myself across by balancing on the sole piece of rock poking out of the water and hanging onto an overhanging branch for balance.

Once I’d crossed the cattle grid and entered the woods, I carried on down the clearly defined track. This was actually the wrong way and I ended up doubling back on myself: you actually want to head right down a small, faint path almost immediately after passing over the cattlegrid.

This takes you along a narrow track at the top of a bank. There’s a steep drop off to the right, so pay attention to where you’re putting your feet. There were also a number of fallen branches scattered along the path which needed to be clambered over or limboed under – so if you like a nice clear path, you might need a different approach to the falls! I knew I needed to get down to a lower path I could see at the bottom of the bank in order to see the falls, so after a few hundred metres I shimmied down a less steep section of the bank using a lattice of roots as footholds.

Dog friendly rating – 3.5/5. The dogs loved this walk. It was a fairly even split between needing to keep leads on and being able to let them off, so Coal got the chance to do some very enthusiastic zoomies as well as having a paddle in the water at Routin Lynn (the zoomies were a lot more subdued on the way back than they were on the way out!). There were a few stiles to cross, but both of these had gaps under the fence next to them which the dogs were able to wriggle under. Overall this was a great dog walk, perfect for blowing away the cobwebs without being totally exhausted when you get back to the car.

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