Ramshackle castle details de-mystified

The castle is 2½ hour’s drive north of Manchester, near the Scottish border, close to some nice stretches of Hadrian’s Wall. A great space, shared with great mates new & old. Unlike most places in the country you’d hire, this sleeps 100. It’s a little more battered than a typical holiday cottage, an interesting place, but not the swishest joint in the world. Many of our friends know it now, but we won’t broadcast on the net out of respect to the owner & as we can only have those who’ve bought tickets for the weekend attending.

One thing we don’t want to undersell is the beautiful surroundings; if it doesn’t rain we’ll be out & about in fantastic autumnal colours. On the other hand if it does rain, while the place will keep you warm and dry & gives somewhere to sleep, it isn’t fantastic inside. We’re 100% certain to have a laugh in there, but our best way of indicating the condition is to say while there are beds & the leaflet for the place says bring either a sleeping bag or bedding we go with the bag. Make sense? The beds are arranged from several 12 bed dorms to a few 2 person rooms, it’s very communal. There are good kitchen facilities; cookers, freezers, dining area, utensils & crockery. There are about 6 showers, plenty of loos etc. (though you need to bring your own towels & loo roll). The place is heated in various ways, most rooms centrally, some have their own heater. The nearest shops are 3 miles away, a pub just up the road.

We provide some food inclusive in the ticket price, not enough to cover you for the weekend, but at the least a pot of something on the go to feed you when you arrive Friday & breakfast items for Saturday (likely to be eaten around tea time).

You can arrive any time after 5pm on Friday, people who take the Friday off ask about rocking up earlier, but the owner needs that time to get the place ready for us, however you could get up there & check out the lovely market town of Alston or the sections of Hadrian’s Wall nearby.

One important thing: the owner expects it handing back in a good state. At the price we’re charging that means we all have to get stuck in & clean it before leaving, we can’t pay anyone to do this. So on Sunday lunchtime we need to have our act together & all clean our rooms & the communal areas. We’d like to say at this point (if we forgot to at the time) everyone did a brilliant job of this last year & the owner was very satisfied after being disquieted by earlier high spirits (remember; he lives on site so it’s best we try not to get too out of hand), thank you. Staying past 2pm Sunday is NOT AN OPTION (so if you’re driving you need to be ready to do so at that time) so this clean & tidy will take place a couple of hours before.


POSTCODE IS NE49 0JG, HERE ARE DIRECTIONS: North up the M6 (so from Manchester either leave via Chapel St/East Lancs & take M61 toward Preston or follow the M60 round & get on M61 Preston from there) to junction 43 near Carlisle, then take the A69 toward Newcastle for about 20 miles. Turn right off that just after Greenhead, about 2 miles before Haltwhistle. We’ll sign that turn off & from there on.

Trains: nearest station is Haltwhistle, 3 miles away, from there you can get a £5 taxi (or someone to pick you up). If you get a ticket well in advance it’s just over £20 each way from Manchester. But if you leave it near the time unfortunately a normal off-peak return costs an eye-watering £84.

SOME FAQs ANSWERED

  • Do I need to bring a printed ticket? That or on your phone is best. However with our ticket system where we ask for a name per ticket you should get away without either as long as you can show ID or we know you.
  • Ticket swaps can be arranged via the Facebook event page. Post that you have a spare ticket or are looking for one. We’ll give a hand by tagging to unite sellers & buyers. Having arranged your swap among yourselves (& whatever you are doing re cost) the original buyer should log back into Eventbrite & update the name for the ticket.
  • Ariival time - please see opposite.
  • Can I bring a dog? Not out the question, but there are obstacles - farm animals graze in the grounds of the castle, with no fence to stop your dog getting involved, even if your dog wouldn't harm then just it running around can literally frighten sheep to death. Locking your dog in a room has the hazard that people are always roaming trying to find their room & likely to open the door. Leaving the dog in a vehicle seems cruel. Also the place will be very lively much of the time & might not be a good environment for anything other than human animals.
  • Can I camp or bring my camper van? Camping is out we're afraid - the owner only wants the people staying in the castle there. If you have a van & prefer the privacy or facilities of that chat to us, generally you can come, but would still have to buy a full ticket & be included in the capacity of the event/venue.