Writing as 'Beachcomber', J.B.Morton brought delight to readers of the Daily Express for fifty years with his surreal humour. He was also a great walker, and one trip took him across the Cheviots. He describes his arrival in Hexham:
'The rain was pelting down from a hopeless sky when I sprang, with a snarl, out of the carriage and advanced through the cringing crowd.
When the chief citizens had been summoned to the market-place, I addressed a few well-chosen words to them. 'There is one thing your town lacks,' said I,' and that is some kind of statue to me. If I were you I should start a subscription at once.'
'But what have you done for us,' inquired a prominent shopkeeper,' that we should so honour you?'
'It is enough,' I replied, 'that I have paid a visit to your town.'
In Hexham, he noted that the women all walk sideways, and obliges us with a verse or two about the deficiencies of the Roman Wall:
When Hadrian built the Roman Wall
To keep the horrid Scots away,
He didn't build it long enough
Or high enough or strong enough,
And look at us today!