Hallowe’en promises to be spooktacular across Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, with lots of scary events to make October half-term full of tricks and treats.
Northumberland Wildlife Trust will host its ever popular Bothal Woods Hallowe’en Fun Run on October 30. The event starts at 10.30am.
The run will follow an off-road (and often muddy) 5km course through the woods, beginning at Bothal bridge and ending in the town of Morpeth.
The aim is to enjoy a fun and scary route either running or walking (or flying on a broomstick), whilst raising money for the charity, whose work centres around protecting local wildlife habitats, whilst at the same time educating and inspiring everybody to care for their environment.
Entry to the event, which is being sponsored by Greggs, is £5, or free if you can raise a minimum of £15 sponsorship. Full details are available from Lee Ford, event organiser. The entry form can be downloaded from www.nwt.org.uk or posted out by contacting Northumberland Wildlife Trust on 0191 284 6884 and returning to: Mr Lee Ford, Paramount Gymnasium, Glebe Road, Bedlington, Northumberland, NE22 6JT.
A hamper of local produce will be awarded for the best male and female Hallowe’en-themed fancy dress and all money raised will help fund the Trust’s valuable conservation work throughout the region.
Meanwhile, something is stirring deep in Kielder Water and Forest Park – and this is a Hallowe’en brew with a real kick! Young thrill-seekers are being promised a ghoulish night by the Forestry Commission on October 28, complete with a spine-tingling walk through Kielder Castle’s House of Horrors.
The 18th century ex-hunting lodge of the Dukes of Northumberland is reputedly haunted by the Gray Lady and a sad servant girl called Emma, who died of a broken heart when her lover was killed in the Boer War.
Such is the castle’s reputation that it has become a big draw for paranormal investigators with half a dozen over-nighters being staged this year to detect signs of the spirits. But now the resident spectres will be jostling for space as an assortment of grizzly characters pay a visit, including vampires and witches. The ancient rooms have been re-decked as a magical wood, spider’s lair, graveyard and even Frankenstein’s laboratory.
Spooky walks suitable for children over five years old take place every 15 minutes between 5.30pm and 8pm. There’ll also be a magician, fancy dress and pumpkin competitions and Hallowe’en themed activities.
Ranger Malte Iden said: “There’s no better place for spooks than the forest and with the owls hooting away in the background, it’s a perfect stage to let your imagination run riot.”
The cost is £6 and booking is essential on 01434 250209. Parental discretion is advised. For more on the Forestry Commission go to www.forestry.gov.uk/NorthEastEngland.
At Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens visitors are invited to travel back in time to the more gruesome side of history. The English Heritage Property is taking a journey not for the faint-hearted into the horrors of medieval disease, terrifying surgery and ghastly punishments from days gone by.
Children are welcome to join in the Time Travellers Go . . . events. An additional £1 will be charged on standard admission for every child, member and non member, to help English Heritage fund the entertainment activity.
English Heritage will present some of the classic spine-chillers from the master of the English ghost story, M. R. James. Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook, A Pleasing Terror, The Mezzotint, and Oh, Whistle, And I’ll Come To You, My Lad – generally acknowledged as the author’s masterpiece – will be some of the performances on offer between October 29-31. Find our more: www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/northeast/. Suitable for age 13 or older.
With a long and ghoulish history of body snatchers, witches, Jekyll and Hyde and things that go bump in the night, visiting The Scottish Borders during Hallowe’en means you can experience a sinister side to some of the country’s locations and attractions. Hallowe’en’s roots lie in the Celtic New Year festival of Samhain, and Scotland’s dark and mysterious history lives on to this day, with sightings of ghostly bodies and scary sounds.
Traquair, neer Peebles, will hold historical ghost tours which bring history to life through spirits of past inhabitants. The ancient house will be lit only by flares so participants will feel the past as Traquair is bathed in an eerie glow. Tour groups will be met by family members from years gone by who will escort visitors around by candlelight. The floors will creak while the wind whistles through the walls. Expect the unexpected!
Tours will last approximately an hour and are followed by a glass of mulled wine served in the 18th century dining room. You can make an evening of it and book a home cooked supper at the 1745 Cottage Restaurant.
Numbers are limited to 25 per tour, so book early to avoid disappointment. Tours suitable for eight years old and over, but not for those with a nervous disposition! Discover more: http://www.traquair.co.uk/content/halloween-experience.
National Trust properties across the region have scores of ghoulish goings on planned, all of which are guaranteed to send a shiver or two down visitors’ spines.
From spooky crafts to discovering the gruesome side to some of the region’s best known historic properties, terror and fear are in store for all. Read on if you dare for a rundown of the thrills and chills boys and ghouls of all ages can expect to find.
- Cherryburn, near Prudhoe, 01661 843276, Spooky Crafts, October 22, 1pm – 4pm: Make and take home a spooky Hallowe’en treat (drop in session, £2 per activity) or explore the farmyard and Paddock to see the atrocious alpacas and horrifying hens! Normal admission charges apply.
- Cragside, Rothbury, 01669 620 333, Nelly Moss’s Magical Emporium, October 25-30, 11am-3pm: Budding young witches and wizards can enter the magical emporium for a lesson in the art of wand-making and potions. Select the ingredients, perhaps a newt’s eye or old man’s beard, and create a potion to banish the homework blues. £1 per child, normal admission charges apply.
- Cragside, Spooky Lakeside Walk, October 30, 4pm: What lurks in the lake in the dead of night? Only the brave can join in this one mile walk with surprises along the way. £2 per child. Booking essential – log onto www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events or call 0844 249 1895.
- Gibside, Gateshead, 01207 541820, Woodland Potion Trail, October 22 – 30, 11am – 3pm: Budding wizards and witches can follow Gibside’s potion trail, picking up ingredients and magic words to make a horrible Hallowe’en concoction. Free activity, normal admission charge applies.
- Gibside Pumpkin Carving and Pumpkin Parade, October 22-23 and 29-30. 11m – 3pm. Parade at 3pm each day: Get creepy and creative carving pumpkins (£4 per person, pumpkins provided, booking essential tel: 01207 541820), before showing off the creations on twilight woodland pumpkin parades. Normal admission charges apply.
- Gruesome Gibside Tour – National Trust Walking Festival, October 24, 26 and 28, 11am and 2pm: Loose yourself in the grisly side of Gibside’s past with an atmospheric tour of the true stories and legends that hide among the woodlands. A hideous treat for adults and families alike. Free activity, normal admission charge applies.
- Gibside Hallowe’en Hog Roast, October 28, 6pm-9pm: Enjoy a delicious hog roast at the Hallowe’en-inspired Friday night family beer garden and pub. Free entry with additional charges for food and drink. Booking not needed.
- Gibside Paranormal Investigation: Hallowe’en Special, October 29, 9pm-midnight: Join North East Paranormal Investigations on a unique night time walk through Gibside’s grounds. Learn about Gibside’s long history of ghosts and carry out paranormal investigations with the experts in the estate’s most paranormally active areas. You must be over 18 years to take part in this event. £25 per person, booking essential, tel: 01207 541820.
- Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort, Hallowe’en Underground Adventure, October 30, 10am-3pm: Go on an underground adventure in Smallcleugh Mines in Nenthead. The main networks are not normally open to the public and so this is a great opportunity to explore the tunnels and experience what life would have been like working in the mines. There will be lots to discover on the trip, and visitors can even experience a candle lit dinner in the ballroom. Adults £18 (National Trust member) or £25 (non-member), Children £10 (member) or £15 (non-member). Booking essential on 01434 344 314.
- Seaton Delaval Hall, Seaton Delaval 0191 237 9100, A Hallowe’en Invitation, October 29-30: Each year family and friends get together for a massive feast and this year the opublic is being invited to be part of it. See how the game is caught and prepared. All the family and servants are looking forward to welcoming guests to the feast.
Meet at the admission hut 10 minutes before the tour is due to start. Please wear flat shoes and dress warmly. Fancy dress optional. This is a walking tour with steps, uneven surfaces and low lighting . Suitable for children seven years and over. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Numbers are limited so booking is essential, tel: 0191 237 9100. Tours are at 6pm, 6.30pm, 7pm, 7.30pm, 8pm and 8.30pm each night. Adults £3, Children £1.
- Wallington, Cambo, 01670 773600, Hallowe’en Fun, October 29-30, 11am-4pm: Come along and make a special lantern for the Hallowe’en Lantern Parade, try the spooktacular children’s trail and hear scary stories told by the resident witch. Small charge for some activities. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Booking not needed. Normal admission applies.
- Wallington Hallowe’en Lantern Parade, October 30, 4pm and 5.30pm: Bring your lantern along and join the spooky lantern parade through the woods as the sun sets. Wear warm clothing and bring a lantern/torch. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Booking essential, 01670 773600. Adults £2, Children £1 or £5 families.
- Lindisfarne Castle, Holy Island, 01289 389 244, Hallowe’ en Trail, October 22 – 30, 10am – 3pm: Follow the spooky trail through the castle to find the hidden objects. Free. Normal admission charges apply. Please check safe tide crossing times before visiting Holy Island.
- Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn, 0191 5293161, Crafts for Kids – Hallowe’en, October 26-27, 11am – 4pm: Self-led arts and crafts activities in the family activity room. Free.
- Souter’s Hurrah for Hallowe’en, October 29, 3pm – 7pm: Join in the spooky fun and games at the lighthouse. Take part in the black cat treasure hunt, listen to some creepy stories, make your own slime in the ghoulish lab and much more. £3 per child. No admission charge. Booking not needed.
Find more Hallowe’en events here: http://www.thisisnorthumberland.com/events/.