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Northumberland Day – a celebration of our heritage

Northumberland Day is launched at Longstone. Left to right, Kevin Robson (Wild Dog Outdoors), Fran Castle (chief executive of Headway Arts), Jane Hunt (Catapult PR and Northumberland Day organiser), Helen Grierson (Northumbie Award designer), George Shiel (Golden Gate Boat Trips), Carla Robinson (general manager, Langley Castle Hotel), Shannon Robinson, Allie Walton-Robson (creative director, Headway Arts),and  Angus McTavish, Kirkharle Courtyard.
Northumberland Day is launched at Longstone. Left to right, Kevin Robson (Wild Dog Outdoors), Fran Castle (chief executive of Headway Arts), Jane Hunt (Catapult PR and Northumberland Day organiser), Helen Grierson (Northumbie Award designer), George Shiel (Golden Gate Boat Trips), Carla Robinson (general manager, Langley Castle Hotel), Shannon Robinson, Allie Walton-Robson (creative director, Headway Arts),and Angus McTavish, Kirkharle Courtyard.

The stage is set for a celebration of all things Northumbrian.

Sunday is Northumberland Day, a special event aimed at generating pride in everything Northumbrian, past and present, from culture, heritage and arts and crafts, to food and drink, landscape and sporting and community life.

It is an initiative originally launched and championed by Langley Castle Hotel and Restaurant, in Langley-on-Tyne, and realised thanks to the support of a committed group of partners, who have helped bring it to fruition.

Already, events across the county have wowed visitors and residents alike, with the programme having started on May 18 and due to end on June 2.

And now Langley Castle Hotel and Restaurant is to stage a free event on Saturday, from 11am to 4pm, that will stir the imagination and provide lots of food for thought.

Last year, Langley got the cameras clicking with the World’s Biggest Stottie. This year, it is unveiling a brand-new food treat for Northumberland Day, The Noggie – a Northumbrian version of the Cornish pasty.

Meanwhile, there will be plenty of other activities to keep the crowds entertained.

The Time Bandits will be creating a re-enactment of one of the most dreadful events to have happened in the town of nearby Hexham, when they don their period costumes, pick up their weapons and engage in dynamic historical storytelling to explain the terrible tragedy that was the Hexham Massacre of March 9, 1761.

They will explain all about the agitation caused by the introduction of the Militia Act of 1757, which introduced balloting as a means of calling men up for military service.

The Time Bandits will explain all about this at both noon and 3pm, but will also be running musket drills at 11am and 2pm, for some hands-on action.

Additionally, Kevin Robson of Wild Dog Outdoors, will be giving free tours of Langley’s battlements and young Northumbrian piper, Jack Famelton, will be playing from the top of the castle.

The Sunshine Panners steel band will also be back at Langley to entertain as they did last year.

Falconry displays will be given by Falconry Days and Kielder Garden Services will be holding planting activities for children.

Children’s Centre West have a play tent offering Wild West activities and there will be a variety of arts and crafts stalls to browse.

Artisans displaying their work will include the designer of Northumberland Day’s iconic ‘Northumbie’ Awards – Helen Grierson – who has a new award design for 2018.

Food and drink stalls will include those of The Northumberland Honey Company, with their range of mead and other produce based on honey, the Northumberland Cheese Company and the Twice Brewed brewery.

Medieval stocks will be available for those wishing to grab a funny photo for social media and there will also be a raffle, as Langley Castle seeks to raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance.

The prize is an overnight break for two at Langley Castle, including breakfast and dinner.

Langley Castle’s general manager, Carla Robinson, says: “We have hopefully provided a wonderful array of activities, so there is something for everyone who wants to come here and celebrate everything that Northumberland has to offer.

“Northumberland Day has grown incredibly since I first helped launch it in July 2015, when deputy manager at the castle.

“The headline in the paper back then said it would be a day on which the county would feel as proud as a peacock and that’s just what has materialised. We too, however, also feel immensely proud that we instigated the call for an event that now sees schools, businesses, individuals, towns, villages and communities creating their own celebrations, based around what Northumberland means to them.”

Other events on Northumberland Day itself include:

Full day of celebrations in Beadnell – car boot, parade with pipes and drums, hog roast, live music, Punch & Judy, dog show, tug-of-war contest, shortbread competition in the WI Hall, history exhibition and more.

Village picnic, castle tours, treasure hunt and outdoor games in Norham Village.

Pop-up cafe in the Boulmer Memorial Hall (a First World War barracks hut) serving up local delicacies and crab sandwiches;

A walk to Russell’s Cairn in the Cheviots, led by North East Guides;

The Ashington Rocks rock festival;

The launch of new Lindisfarne Fudge in the Alnwick Rum Shop (Taste Northumbria) in Alnwick;

Northumberland Rocks painted-rock-finding treasure hunts in Druridge Bay and Ridley Park, Blyth;

Art exhibition and opening of the museum in Newbiggin;

Local food treats at Melanie’s Tea Room in Newbiggin;

Two guided walks around Alnwick, led by the Alnwick Heritage Heroes;

Sunday lunch at The Angel of Corbridge (noon to 6pm) based on Northumbrian produce, specially priced local ales, and a talk by local historian, David Waugh;

Music in the Loco Shed at the Aln Valley Railway;

Religious event at the Newbrough Millennium Beacon, singing of the Northumberland Hymn and then a simple barbecue.

Meanwhile, people are being encouraed to dress in yellow and red for the day; decorate your house, attraction, shop window in yellow and red; hang out bunting and flags; wear a yellow and red wig; use Northumbrian dialect and words for the day and teach visitors their meaning; re-enact something from Northumbrian history and introduce people to the sound of the Northumbrian pipes.

More information about Langley Castle is available at www.langleycastle.com and information about Northumberland Day and all of its events is at www.northumberlandday.co.uk