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The Coquet Valley Challenge Walk, in aid of Spirit Buses, will feature some stunning scenery.
The Coquet Valley Challenge Walk, in aid of Spirit Buses, will feature some stunning scenery.

A new walk taking in stunning scenery is being held later this month to raise money for a vital rural bus service.

Rothbury-based Shepherds Walks has organised the 13.5-mile Coquet Valley Challenge Walk, which starts and finishes in the village.

The event is in aid of Spirit Buses, which is run by Steve Hurst and provides daily scheduled bus services between Upper Coquetdale and Alnwick.

Founded in 2013, it receives minimal bus-service subsidies, relying primarily on funding, cash fares and donations to operate.

To recognise Spirit Buses’ importance to the rural communities it serves, people are being encouraged to enter the Challenge Walk, which takes place on Saturday, June 25, to help support the venture.

Jon Monks, who owns Shepherds Walks, said: “Spirit Buses has proved a vital lifeline for many of the residents, but it receives very little funding.

“We have utilised this great bus service for a number of years now and by using our Challenge Walk as a way to raise money for this vital service is great.

“I very much hope all the locals will support the event and help raise some money for Spirit Buses.”

After registering at Rothbury, walkers will climb Addycombe Hill to the north of Rothbury, before passing along the Cragside Carriageway Drive.

Participants then pass down Physic Lane to and through Thropton before crossing the valley bottom to Tosson Lime Kiln where they will pass through the first checkpoint.

After this checkpoint, walkers will climb all the way to the summit of Simonside (984ft) before passing along the Simonside Ridge to Dove Crag, before dropping down to Lordenshaws for checkpoint two.

Entrants will then continue to descend down to Whittondean, pass through Whitton Hillhead and then drop down and follow the River Coquet back into Rothbury.

Snacks and drinks will be available en route.

Once people have registered to take place for the event, they will receive a fund-raising form so they can raise some money for Spirit Buses.

To find out more about the Coquet Valley Challenge Walk visit www.shepherdswalks.co.uk and click on the events tab, or pop in to the Shepherds Walks shop in Rothbury.

For more information about Spirit Buses, including timetables, visit www.spiritbuses.co.uk