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As we leave ‘Camien Cafe’ we turn left and ride our way to Otterburn, the site of our first battle, the battle of Otterburn that took place in 1388.

Just as we are getting close to Otterburn you will discover on your left the entrance to the area reputed to be the battle site Battle of Otterburn The Battle of Otterburn took place on 19 August 1388, as part of the continuing border war between England and Scotland.

Partly fought in the moonlight, it was a victory for the Scots, led by James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas over Harry Hotspur, son of the Earl of Northumberland. Douglas was killed in the battle, though his victory added to the prestige of his house, foremost among the border fighters of Scotland. The ensuing battle was one of the strangest in all the Anglo-Scottish wars. Because of the poor visibility, Percy was unable to make effective use of his archers.

Each man fought in a grim hand-to-hand contest, with only enough light to see for a short distance around him. When the Battle of Otterburn was being fought, the Bishop of Durham was on his way from Newcastle with 2000 cavalry and 5000 infantry. They arrived at Ponteland on the morning of 20 August, where they met groups of men fleeing from the battlefield, which had such a demoralising effect that the whole force retired. After wandering around this battle site we jump back on our metal horses and ride into Otterburn.

Just as you are exiting the village you will see on your left the Otterburn Castle (which was once known as Otterburn Tower Hotel) and legend has it there is part of the hotel which dates back to 1388. The hotel is a Grade II listed castellated, country house hotel in Otterburn. It is set in 32 acres of deer park and woodland in the Northumberland National Park. Founded by a cousin of William the Conqueror in 1086, it was later owned by the Clan Hall, before being rebuilt in 1830 by Thomas James, a magistrate, on the site and using some of the stones from the Otterburn Castle.

Nearby Otterburn Hall was built in 1870 on land given to Lord Douglas as recompense for the death of his ancestor Lord William Douglas in the Battle of Otterburn. We leave Otterburn and head across the Coquet Valley riding onwards to Rothbury, the location where we will find a very important building, in fact, it has world importance.

Rothbury has had a turbulent and bloody history. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Coquet Valley was a pillaging ground for bands of Reivers who attacked and burned the town with terrifying frequency. As we leave Rothbury and head towards Alnwick, or at least following the signs for Alnwick, it is not too far until we reach the entrance to Cragside.

You may wish to stop here and partake of wandering around the house and gardens as it is an amazing place in so many ways.

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