AS portfolio holder for culture, arts, leisure and tourism at Northumberland County Council, Hexham’s Coun. Cath Homer knows a thing or two about what the county has to offer.

Here she shares what makes her proud to call Northumberland home.

* Tell us about what brought you to Northumberland...

Hexham in particular held special childhood memories for me. I spent hours by the riverside enjoying adventures, long walks, bike rides and ice cream. I still get a tingle now when I think that I walk the same streets as my ancestors. My great great grandfather lived on Back Street and worked as a teacher, and my great grandparents were married at St Mary’s Church.

Luckily my husband Kevin, who was born and brought up in Leicestershire, fell in love with the place too. He is a pilot flying out of Newcastle International Airport and our daughter and twin boys attend Queen Elizabeth High School. Fifteen years on we still wouldn’t be anywhere else.

* What is it about the area that makes you feel like you have arrived home?

Whether it’s arriving at Newcastle airport, Newcastle Central Station or just heading up the A1, there is warmth, and a huge comfort and feel good feeling about a county that has no cities and no motorways; a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life – a safe haven.

However, let’s not mistake that for boring! Northumberland may be the county of tradition and heritage, with more than an occasional battle and skirmish thrown in, but it’s fast becoming the land of innovation and technology, and a land renowned for exciting and thrilling pursuits.

* Tell us about your favourite day out in the county…

This is a really difficult ask – there are so many things to do and see, but one of my favourite days out has to be a visit to Craster, the small fishing village on the Northumberland coast. Home to and famous for the Craster Kipper, a smoked fish exported across the country and rumour has it, to the Royal household as well!

There’s a great mile-long walk or cycle ride right along the edge of the coastline to striking Dunstanburgh Castle, the iconic ruins only accessible via this route. Not forgetting, once you’ve worked up an appetite, great local cafes, seafood to take away, delicious locally made ice cream and a good few pubs that come highly recommended.

* What should Northumberland residents be most proud of?

Most of the people I meet are hugely and rightly proud of Northumberland’s history and heritage, but also of it’s future.

People speak passionately about the county, they are proud to promote the Northumberland flag and they willingly share their experiences. It’s that warm welcome which helps tourism continue to be one of our growth economies with 10.3 million people choosing to visit in 2017. Residents and businesses should be really proud of the part they play in that.