Roll of the Northumberland Hills

Ten years ago on a flight from Ottawa to Toronto, our flight had to dip well below ten thousand feet to avoid some rather disturbing turbulence about halfway to Toronto. When the plane emerged from the soup and one could see the washer board ruffle and tumble of the countryside below, one had to wonder – was this the cause of all the turbulence? I asked the steward where we were and was told that this was the Northumberland Hills and that we would be passing over the Rice Lake in a few moments. These hills were  the  glacial moraines left from the last Ice age. Eve at this altitude the rolling hills were impressive.

On the ground one can best see in Springtime the roll of the Northumberland Hills of Eastern Ontario. True Winter provides a Black & White paradise but the snow drifts often mask the true dips and sway of the bounding ridges and valleys. Summer with crops is even worse at disguising the true woof and warp of the countryside. And of course Fall has all its color distractions and many a field still to be harvested  with corn or hay. Let me show you the bare beauty of Springtime Northumberland hills.

Northumberland Hills in Spring

Many of the hills have wavering slopes for hundreds of yards ad then suddenly they are cut by a deep down swoop into a creek or river valley. The hills often have forested ridges where clearing for farming is marginal. Some stretches of woods follow valleys ad creek beds for a half-dozen miles. And farmers know the sandy and rocky soil of esker mounds are truly marginal crop producers, so the woods persist – and you get to see this:
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The other bonus of Spring time portraits of the Hills, is that the delicate colors of the vernal season are just beginning to show. These are pastel tones and delicate yellow greens that quickly pass by as the rush of Spring daffodils, tulips and fruit blossoms everywhere catch the botanical eye while tree buds become full leaf boughs swaying in the winds.

Ontario’s Northumberland Hills don’t have the steep pitch and fall of their English namesakes, or the vast bluff and sweep of the Finger Lakes and Hudson Canal valley in  New York state on the South side of Lake Ontario. But as the slides above shows, Northumberland Hills have their own rolling charms.


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