1. Raby Castle
Meeting Point: Raby Castle, Staindrop, Darlington, DL2 3AH
9:30 to 9:45am registration for 10:00am departure.
The first step of the Northern Trek begins in the magnificent grounds of stunning Raby Castle. We start by following a broad path through verdant grasslands, home to Red and Fallow Deer herds, as we take in the splendour of the fourteenth-century medieval castle.
We wander through Ladywood and up towards Raby Home Farm and Shotton, sharing the beautiful countryside with some superb flora and fauna. We eventually leave the Raby estate, and find ourselves heading over Cockfield Fell, a land pockmarked with evidence of ancient human settlements, including flint arrowheads dating back to 8000BC.
We skirt around Cockfield itself and return to Raby Estate, finishing back at Raby Castle - a fitting start to the Big Smile Walks.
Distance: 20.2 km ( 12.55 miles)
Difficulty Rating: ★★★☆☆