Tucked away near the small village of Colwell these reservoirs had been far from my list of destinations to visit in Northumberland. About two years ago I finally found my way cross country to this quiet part of a quiet county. Today’s wintry, clear skies provided a crisp and clear view of these lakes, the browned vegetation around the margins taking on a golden hue in the afternoon light.
These reservoirs were one of a series of such structures linking the hills of Northumberland at Catcleugh to Newcastle’s water supply at Whittle Dene. There is a complex series of pipes and aqueducts linking them all with Colt Crag and Hallington weirdly placed amongst rolling hills with dams at multiple places around the water’s edge. Hallington Reservoirs are actually two on differing levels split by a central dam. Today’s walk circumnavigated the western of the two.
The green iron bridge that carries you over the western spillway has a date and intertwined company initials at its centre. 1889, NGWW. The Newcastle and Gateshead Waterworks later became the Newcastle and Gateshead Water Company. Now it’s run by Northumbrian Water.
It was a relatively quiet day in terms of wildlife. A few cormorants fished the eastern section while a golden-eye repeatedly disappeared into a dive. Tree sparrows fed on some feeders at the fishing club along with blue and great tits. A small flock of unidentified gulls stood incongruously on the lingering ice at a sheltered corner while long tailed tits twittered through willows at the water’s edge.