A drive to Rothbury and a walk along the river felt like a good idea and so off we set on what turned out to be a lovely summer’s morning. We drove along the winding road that leads to Rothbury, past where the landslip had been and along by the redwood trees that mark the edge of the Cragside estate. We drove through the town and out along the Thropton road. Just after the thirty mile per hour zone ended, we turned left into the small car park above the river.
It is a pleasant walk from there into town. The path follows the river and overlooks the golf course and sheep fields on the other bank. The sun was out but there was a fresh breeze and the wind rustling through the leaves of the trees made us think that autumn was on its way.
By the time we got towards Rothbury we were ready for a cup of coffee and headed up by the bridge to our favourite cafe, the Bunkhouse, only to find it had closed and been turned into, as yet unsold, luxury flats.
That set the tone for our stroll through the town. It seemed there was a disappointing air hanging over Rothbury. We would have expected the place to be throbbing on a sunny Saturday in August, yet some of the shops were shut and even those that were open seemed sleepy and half bothered. Where the green would have been filled with motorcyclists at one time, there were two drinking coffee on the pavement.
We bought a few things and made our way back to the car. It was an enjoyable morning, with a pleasant drive in the countryside and a stroll through a pretty town, yet our visit showed us that things are still a long way from being back to normal.
Is this the way that Rothbury is going to be? I hope not but it may take many years to be what it once was.