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Wednesday, 27 May 2015

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Tynedale: Scene is set for all to enjoy a cracking Easter weekend

EASTER eggs are being rolled out around the region as things hot up for a cracking Easter weekend.

There will be children scouring the hedgerows and gardens of Tynedale with a number of hunts taking place.

The North Tyne and Redewater Twisty Roads Preservation Society will be hiding up to 600 eggs, as well as chocolaty treats, at Hareshaw Linn, in Bellingham, on Friday.

In keeping with tradition, following a decorated egg competition, the climax of the day is the ‘booling’ of paste eggs down a grassy knoll.

Cadbury has teamed up with the National Trust for the Cadbury Eggsplorers Easter Egg Trails, which will take place over the Easter weekend, challenging Tynedale folk to follow a series of clues in order to claim a tasty prize.

The quests are taking place at Wallington Hall, Housesteads Roman Fort, on Hadrian’s Wall, and Allen Banks, near Bardon Mill.

Belsay Hall, Castle and Gardens, and Housesteads Roman Fort are also seeking adventurers over the weekend, inviting them to meet characters from the past to explore the attraction and crack the clues to reap chocolate rewards.

More exotic hunting takes place at Brocksbushes Farm, near Corbridge, with its biggest ever Easter safari, where visitors on Friday and Saturday can hitch a lift on a tractor to go egg fishing and meet the Easter bunny.

Kirkley Hall Zoo, in Ponteland, is hosting a different kind of egg hunt on Sunday, when visitors will be invited to spot eggs around the zoo and guess which animals laid them.

Easter celebrations are also being put to good use to help raise money for charity.

On Saturday, the Blue Bell pub in High Mickley is putting on an afternoon of fun, including a raffle, Easter bonnet parade, paste egg competition, tug of war and arm wrestling contests, in aid of the retinoblastoma awareness charity – a rare type of eye cancer that affects children under the age of five.

Prudhoe is making Easter Saturday its launch day for the first monthly outdoor market at The Glades, which will feature 10 stalls offering a range of foods, jewellery, plants and sweets.

Meanwhile, Slaley’s Commemoration Hall and the Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers’ project will be hosting a Heritage Cook-Off event.

If visitors fancy a change from chocolate Easter eggs and hot cross buns, they can pop in to try the foods that families would have eaten in the 18th century or have a go at making Easter biscuits, oat cakes and bread.

Volunteers are trying out old fashioned recipes, while the Northumberland Sausage Company will be there, making and cooking sausages, and there will also be displays of vintage kitchen equipment, butter making and local history.

On Saturday evening, a special Easter quiz night is being run by quiz masters Keith Gilhome and Jackie Amers at Ovington Social Club, where there will also be prizes for the most inventive Easter bonnets and painted or dyed Easter eggs.

On Sunday, Slaley craft group is hosting an afternoon tea, while in Haltwhistle there will be a special Easter sunrise service at Vindolanda.

A big celebration is taking place at Stonehaugh on Easter Monday with a range of activities from decorated cards, eggs and cakes competitions to a decorated duck race at Warksburn later in the afternoon.

Monday is also the day to spark up big rivalry between two of Tynedale’s most popular events – Hedley on the Hill’s barrel race and Haydon Bridge’s wheelbarrow race.

Competitors and big crowds are expected at both annual races, which are always a highlight of Tynedale’s Easter weekend calendar.

At Haydon Bridge, pairs of fancy dress runners and their wheelbarrows hit the streets at 1pm as they dart from pub to pub, starting at Hordley Acres.

The Feathers Inn at Hedley is cracking out the barrels for its race, which sees teams of three battle their way up a steep slope belonging to local farmer Bill Fail with a heavy keg in tow.

Racing starts at 1pm with a first prize of a keg full of beer.

The event wraps up the pub’s Easter beer and food festival and will include a barbecue, pie and peas stall and egg jarping contest – similar to conkers but with eggs.