The path approaches Corby Gates and crosses the wall beside the 'castle', a former outside toilet! Corby Gates is one of the oldest homesteads in the area, and is mentioned in documents of 1314 and in the Pipe Rolls of Henry ll in 1279. It was then known as Corbriggate, and is believed to have been on the main road from the Alson mines to Newcastle. via Corbridge. In one of the byres of the farm is the entrance to a now blocked underground tunnel. On those occasions when the Scots border raiders braved the long Tyne Valley to come to this wild area, local people may have hidden in such tunnels. Several very old houses in the area have such mysterious underground passages, whose original purpose is unknown. This one is believed to run to Randalholme on the far side of Alston, although there is no proof. Some say that a boar's head full of gold coins is hidden in the tunnel.
I should mention that the 'castle' has battlements and the whole thing stands at about 8 foot, and about that wide. Quite something.
As rural and isolated as this valley is the people of Alston and Nenthead have broadband. I believe it is one of the smallest communities to get the necessary funding. Cybermoor is the organization that provides the broadband connection. Looks like it is reasonably reliable too.