Northumberland is England's most nothern county, a magical place filled with ancient castles, golden sand beaches, rolling hills, rugged moorland and friendly little towns and villages. This is a practical guide to 40 of the best walks in the region.
Author: Jon Tait
Release Date: 2018-09-28
The Anglo-Scottish border was a virtual warzone for around 300 years and it created a lawless society that became known as the Border Reivers. The English and Scottish authorities took a huge step towards brokering some sort of peace in the area in 1597 when, following a Treaty signed at Carlisle, 54 men, representing the wildest reiver clans, were demanded as ‘pledges,’ or hostages. The plan was for them to be locked up as a means to prevent - or at least try and dissuade - their clans and families from committing further violent crime. Dick the Devil’s Bairns is their story; the worst of the worst. The book follows the fate of those selected by the respective nations as doing the most damage by raiding, while examining the historic criminal activities carried out by those families, and others, in earning their outlaw reputations and status. The story also explores the criminal gang’s roles within the context of the wider Reiver society and the part played by their ‘Godfathers’ in creating the first Mafia-style organisations - and their eventual downfall. Dick the Devil’s Bairns is historic true crime at its rawest and is written by a sports journalist who hails from the Coquet Valley.
Andy Armstrong is a borderer from rural Northumberland. His father is a postman with a pigeon ducket. When Andy is six in 1978, England haven't qualified for the World Cup, so he supports Scotland instead. First Plane Home follows Andy as he grows up over four World Cups following the Tartan Army. It's a story of finding identity, of friendships and the legacy of the Border Reivers, Georgie Best and, of course, soccer. The Thatcher years provide a backdrop to the novel, with her presence looming large before she becomes Prime Minister in '78, The Falklands War in '82 and the aftermath of the Miner's strike in '86. First Plane Home is a nostalgic look back at working class culture and the last of the British blue collar manual workers while also examining the nature of the Border itself.
If you presumed that the notorious Anglo-Scottish Border Reivers just faded into history with the Union of the Crowns in 1603, think again. These men of extreme violence, who had spent over two hundred years perfecting the art while indulging in blood feuds and giving words such as blackmail and bereave to the English language, simply disappeared underground. And they haven't been heard of again. Until now.