where to start,,,,

its been around two weeks since my last proper post and i’m glad to be back. the problem is not altogether solved as it seems the app for the smart phone is the culprit. that’s a shame because the app was good to tie in the photos i take with some words scrawled down to make sence of it all. it even saved a local draft so that you can go back and add things as you bumble along in life, nevermind they will no doubt fix the bug and all will be well in my world…..

so from the last post i was saying about my childhood stomping ground of Haughton castle where the ghost of Archie Armstrong stalks…

http://www.northofthetyne.co.uk/HaughtonCastle.html and the ferry where i grew up was the best place for building camps, rafting on the Tyne and generaly having a wail of a time. the same family still own the castle and the surrounding estate including two farms one large hall and old paper mill that was in use to forge paper money in the Crimean war. it also has eleven houses and fishing rights to nearly ten-mile of the north Tyne. sounds like I’m trying to sell it, fact is I wish it was mine.

here’s my house with the castle in the background.

and here it is in its heyday as it was the only means to get across the river for 20 mile

the rope was used to haul the boat across by the ferryman this one pictured in 1968

was lost to the biggest flood since the early 1800’s it had loops hanging down so that the main rope could be kept taught and high. but in 1976 the flood ripped a mature beech tree from footings and sent it down, ripping the 4 inch main rope clear out of its wooden winch.

after that the ferry limped along for a number of years with an oarsman or woman or even boy (me) untill it ceased operation in the eighties.

this is us in 1968, that’s me on the left, you can clearly see the rope loops. the hight of the main rope would have been 20 feet above the river at its highest…



The Ghost Of Archie Armstrong
The ghost of Haughton Castle, Archie Armstrong, dates from a time when the Border Reivers would attack English land, quite legally and then return to their tribes in Scotland.

Sir John de Widderington, at that time was the Lord of Haughton Castle and known for being a good and gallant person.

During Sir John’s rule at Haughton Castle, the King appointed the weak-willed Lord Dacre of Gilsland as Lord Warden of the Marches. The warden was to ensure peace across the Border region. Dacre began to accept bribes, ignoring the troubles and causing the law to collapse. He also courted a female of the notorious Armstrong clan, the very sister of the leader of this murdering family troop of reivers.

As a result, local landowners formed an alliance to protect their rights and report Dacre’s deeds to the King. While Cardinal Wolsley visited York, Sir John de Widderington of Haughton Castle decided to meet with Wolsley.

On the night before the meeting, Sir John’s men fought and captured a reiver rustling cattle in the local meadows close to Barrasford. The man was incarcerated within the dungeon at Haughton Castle, so he could deal with him when he returned.

To reach York by horse in Sir John’s days took two days of hard riding on horseback. After arriving at York, Sir John remembered he had the key of the Haughton Castle dungeon in his pockets and that worse still he had left no instructions about care for his prisoner.

Sir John turned his horse around and headed back to Haughton Castle, by the time he reached Durham, his horse dropped dead with exhaustion. When he reached Tynedale 2 days later he feared the worse. “How fared the prisoner?” Sir John asked his servants. The servants replied that the man cried and moaned, then he began to scream but the noise died down, and nothing had been heard since.

Sir John unlocked the cell in the Haughton Castle dungeon and found the prisoner dead.

The spirit of Archie Armstong returned to haunt Haughton Castle months later, night after night the sounds of the prisoner cries and moans would echo around the surrounding countryside as far as the village of Barrasford. The screams would keep awake Sir John and his staff and the local residents through the night.

The village of Barrasford demanded that he take action. The Rector of Simonburn was called in to exorcise the ghost; this he did immediately and nothing was heard no more. To comfort Sir John, the Rector left with him the Black-lettered Bible from which he read during the exorcism.

Curiously, when the Bible was sent to London for rebinding the reiver’s moaning and screams returned to haunt Haughton Castle. Orders were given to return the Bible quickly from London and lay the spirit of the ghost once again.

Local legend states that the screams from Haughton Castle can still be heard every evening that a descendant of Sir John de Widderington sets foot inside Haughton Castle in the county of Northumberland.

you may or may not believe me but i have seen a ghost below the castle walls, it could have been Archie….


no mole traps set so no trips to mr farmer for over a month. tomorrow I intend to rectify that by sending a scouting party, A, to investigate the little pests before any thoughts of hay making and B, to see how the turbine installation is progressing.

I have spent most of my spare time doing the offshot,

it’s not far off being finished, fitted the door on Wednesday and sorted some of the last bits of cement work today including under the door.

the plastering is done, the wiring is working and the view is mint, it’s also warm and cosy


we also had the most remote street party for the jubilee, the committee members in the bowler hats and bow ties stopped a timber lorry and negotiated terms for timber for our official beacon, the driver didn’t want to relinquish any but a bottle of beer and a slice of victoria sponge cake clinched the deal,,,

we had a right good laugh and a lot of drink, with all our neighbours for a ten square mile radius. we even revisited some old games, royal egg and spoon race anyone!!!


latest news…

and i have just returned from work with the sure knowledge that they are going to support  the RSNE project due to my efforts,,,result..

that’s enough for the first one back so TTFN…..