Tucked away in a northern corner of Northumberland lies the atmospheric Roughting Linn. The name has Gaelic roots, meaning thundering pool, and it has an undoubtedly mystical atmosphere. The path tumbles down almost unseen, from a farm track, through a cluster of beech trees. Their roots form a spiral stair down the earth banks into the sheltered shadowy dell, and their bark is carved with centuries of lovers wishes.
Dappled pools of green light drift in shifting patterns across the path, confusing the eye, and the air is filled with bird song. Sensuous delights spill from every branch and root, loosening the grip of reality, softening us into this otherworldly space. We descend with bated breath.
The stillness of the air slows down our hearts, and we begin to feel the leisurely pulse of the earth. Ahead a grove of oaks creep and prance along the path, forming living arches through which we must pass. Their limbs seem to stretch down towards us and the landscape closes in all around. A swarm of flies rises up and swirls buzzing around our heads, challenging us to dare to pass. An unseen curse to keep away the unworthy.