Robson Green followed in the footsteps of a renowned Anglo-Saxon king in tonight’s fifth episode of Further Tales from Northumberland.
Exploring his home county, the Hexham-born star embarked on a journey of discovery along St Oswald’s Way, in another instalment of the show, which was screened on ITV at 8pm. This long-distance walking route links some of the places associated with St Oswald, the King of Northumbria in the early 7th century, who played a major part in bringing Christianity to his people. Stretching for 97 miles, it runs from Holy Island in the north before heading inland to Heavenfield and Hadrian’s Wall in the south.
Robson stopped off at key locations along the route. He donned a kilt to join the Rothbury Highland Pipe Band for a march through the village and he tried his hand at auctioneering at Scots Gap Auction Mart – the oldest of its kind in the North East of England.
But his first port of call was at Bamburgh Castle – known as the Royal Seat of the Kings of Northumbria. He discovered the secret treasures that have been unearthed here, including the Bamburgh Sword, 'which is well over 1,000 years old and, because of its intricate design, historians believe that it may have belonged to Oswald himself'. During his time at the castle, which is one of the county’s most iconic visitor attractions, Robson learned about Anglo-Saxon combat and tried archery. After his masterclass, Robson said: "The stories of the Northumbrian kings are said to have inspired everything from Game of Thrones to the Lords of the Rings. All these centuries on, our Anglo-Saxon ancestors still fire the imagination."
Robson then headed inland to Rothbury to meet the village’s Highland Pipe Band, which last year celebrated the 60th anniversary since reforming. Robson gave the bagpipes a go, pretty unsuccessfully – much to the amusement of onlooking band members. “I am hyperventilating,” said Robson, after trying to play the instrument. So, with mace in hand, Robson joined drum major David Brown to lead the parade over Rothbury bridge. Afterwards, Robson said: "That is an experience that I will never forget as long as I live. The band gives people of Rothbury a sense of identity and long may it continue." Robson lived in Rothbury for eight years and said: "I have always been struck by the passion of this community to uphold Northumberland’s traditions and heritage."
As part of his adventures with the pipe band, Robson donned a kilt and stopped off at Bell & Sons, in Alnwick, to learn about the Northumbrian tartan.
Robson then headed to Scots Gap Auction Mart. He said: "Nothing beats the sights, sounds and smells than a busy morning at the auction mart. It is kind of what you call, organised chaos."
He met seasoned auctioneer Chris Armstrong and then gave auctioneering a go. "I have never been so terrified in my life," said Robson beforehand.
Robson’s final leg was Heavenfield – at the site of what is believed to be the location where Oswald raised a large wooden cross and called his troops to pray before the battle of Heavenfield.
Robson said: "St Oswald is one of the greatest kings of Northumbria. His story remains unknown to many, but his legacy lives on. Northumberland’s ancient monuments can teach you so much about our past, but there is also a very spiritual side to the region too, especially at places like Bamburgh and Heavenfield. St Oswald’s Way is not just about religious pilgrimages, it is also a beautiful snapshot about everything I love about Northumberland. It may be one of Britain’s newest walking routes, but in my view, it is one of its finest."