Limited local road closures apply.
Northumberland Baal fires were an annual tradition in the Middle Ages celebrated in many villages in the county. Whalton is the only village in which this tradition has consistently been upheld, even through World Wars I and II when the bonfire was replaced by the lighting and speedy extinguishing of a few small twigs. It is said that in years gone by villagers jumped over and through the flames of the fire. No such thing happens today but the village is all involved in building the fire, and celebrations including watching children from Whalton CofE First School dance round the fire following dancing by a visiting troop of Morris Dancers. The site for the fire remains where it has always been in the centre of the village, now just to the east of the Beresford Arms. There is some conjecture to the origin of the name with claims of its derivation being a pagan rite celebrating the god Baal, or that it is from the Old Norse ‘Bal’ meaning a great fire. Sir Benjamin Stone captured photographs of the Whalton Baal Fire in his 1902 visit and some of those can be seen here too.