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On New Year's Day 1880 Robert Snowdon was violently murdered at this remote moorland farm of Belmount. Now derelict the location is accessible on a public footpath with a 3/4 mile walk. the cache is hidden nearby. This is still wild country, open to the winds and 1300 ft above sea level.
Tales of Derwentdale, a collection of local folklore published in 1902, gives one account of what happened in the story "The Blanchland Murder". On New Years Day in 1880 young farmer Robert Snowball leaves the remote farmhouse - where he lives with only his father and the housekeeper - to do some joinery in the byre, with plans to go and visit a friend later on that evening. The next morning he is found dead by the housekeeper after being hit with extreme force in the back of the head with a sledgehammer. The following Monday - the 5th - an inquest is held at the house of PC Ferguson in Ramshaw and Robert Snowball is buried the next day in Blanchland churchyard. Later on the 6th, the Snowballs' housekeeper Jane Barron is arrested and put in the police cell at Ramshaw. She is later acquitted and no one else was ever charged. It is a pleasant walk on a clear path from the high Blanchland to Stanhope road but it can be wild and windy up there. Cars can be parked at either of two path starting points which soon merge into the same path. Belmount farm comes into view as you descend towards Edmundbyers. Either way it is about 3/4 mile on an obvious but at times rough track. it trends gently downhill and takes about 20 minutes.
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