There are quite a few hills in upper Coquetdale, but not many have proper big old BA burial cairns on them. Shillhope manages to qualify presumably because of the 360° view, which is superb. Cheviot and Hedgehope are nicely silhouetted to the north, with Windy Gyle and Russel's Cairn to the west, whilst the eastern aspect stretches as far as the mouth of the Coquet, with a nicely silhouetted Simonside just to the south east.
The cairn itself isn't in as bad a condition as I'd imagined it would be. The beacon sangar that has been constructed from the cairn material is clearly visible on the sat images and this usually means everything has been so disturbed it's going to be hard to tell if you're looking at a genuine prehistoric burial monument or not, even before the disturbance resulting from the addition of the inevitable concrete trig pillar. The ones on top of Simonside particularly suffer like this. But Shillhope's cairn is in comparitively OK nick, having a clear kerb around it, best preverved to the NE side.
It's a bit strenuous in places, but the easiest ascent is from the path just behind Barrowburn camping barn, which is also a cracking good place to use as a base if spending a couple of days exploring the area. Somewhere on the route between Barrowburn and the top of Shillhope is the telephoto lens I dropped, so if you're up that way, keep an eye out ;-)
A short distance below Windyhaugh the Coquet has cut for itself a pasage through the solid rock, forming a long deep pool, known as "The Wedder Loup," famous for its big fish, but dangerously near the road that skirts its brink.
The tradition attached to this pool is, that during the later moss-trooping days, when that respectable border profession was on the wane, a "lifter" one night carried off a nice plump wedder from the flock grazing on the slopes of Shillhope Law. The daring sheep-stealer had not proceeded very far ere the loss was discovered. Immediately the owner and his men gave chase.
The "Hot Trod" proved short but decisive. Handicapped by the wedder tied round his neck, hill fashion, he was run to bay at this particular spot. To leap the chasm was his only chance of escape; therefore all was risked in one desperate bound. His feet touched the opposite bank; he clutched and struggled, but in vain - the wedder around his neck proved a very millstone to the fugitive, dragging him with his ill-gotten booty backwards into the murky depths of the pool below. Since then its name has been "The Wedder Loup."
Nah not hugely megalithic, other than the sheep came from Shillhope Law. But the story is one attached to a number of 'hangman's stones' across the country, where the struggling be-shouldered sheep (being balanced on a stone) pulls its thief to a similar doom. It's called 'Wedder Leap' on the modern map.
From 'Upper Coquetdale, Northumberland: its history, traditions, folk-lore and scenery', by D D Dixon, 1903.