Report from the Newcastle Journal, September 1853back
GILSLAND SPA. - This delightful watering place has been unusually full of visitors this season; and during the past week both Wardrew and the Shaws Hotel have had much difficulty in accommodating their numerous visitors. Picnic excursions to Corby, and visits to Lanercost Abbey, Naworth Castle, the Roman Camp, and other objects of interest in the neighbourhood, were of daily occurrence - many a sly visit being made, also, to the "Popping Stone" - with what results the chronicler saith not.
Interesting that visiting the Popping Stone was the done thing, and that the visits needed to be sly, well before any widespread publicity about Scott's courtship. The legend of the proposal at the stone was, nevertheless, already extant at this time as it was mentioned by Collingood Bruce in 1851.