Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Castles and beaches. - Northumberland Coast. 11 May 2011

 We were paying for the beautiful blue skies of April in the Lakes. These had been replaced by murky grey skies and showers aplenty. My yearly outing to the Northumberland Coast was quickly planned as the weather forecast over that way was good. So off I set with flask and butties.

An early eight o'clock start saw me at Amble at about half ten. I stopped for a walk around the Marina but as I had been here a couple of times already I gave the harbour and lighthouse a miss and headed for Walkworth and it's mighty Castle instead. It was once home to the powerful Percy family who now reside in Alnwick Castle. Warkworth was and remains one of the largest and most impressive fortresses in North East England and was once home to 'Harry Hotspur', hero of many Border ballads and the bane of Scots raiders!

The beautiful  River Coquet runs through the town which looks to have some rather tasty hostelries coupled with some rather expensive tacky gift shops on it's Main Street. The Church of St Laurence was also worth a visit and was lovely both inside and out. That backs on to a beautiful Riverside walk.

My next port of call was the cliff top walk at Howick. This place was full of what I call s**t flies but other people call horse files. The buggers were bouncing of me as I walked along the cliffs. At first I presumed it was because of all the sea bird droppings but they were at Craster and Bamburgh as well. They made the old heelan midges look positively soft! The rock scenery around these parts is stunning and it is great photography country.  Check my mate Steve's Flickr site Amblekingrat photos

Next call was Beadnell which is/was a small fishing village and apparently has the only harbour on the Northumbrian coastline which faces west! There are also some lime kilns constructed in the eighteenth century which is probably when the harbour was built. South of the harbour stretches a one and a half mile beach.

After Beadnell it was up to Budle Bay where the sands just seem to go on forever. Holy Island (Lindisfarne) can be seen in the distance across the bay which was deserted except for two walkers and a couple of windsurfers. I got the feeling I could walk across to it given the time and no incoming tides! What a great place to be when the tide is out but I wouldn't fancy it in the middle of summer.

This was the farthest I went and returned via Bamburgh to Seahouses where I had another break. Seahouses seems to be another one of those places that forgot, nothing really to write home about but the beach stretching right up to Bamburgh is fabulous as the photos above prove. My intention was to head straight down the A1 and back across the A66. This is where travel news came in handy as apparently the A1 was bad. I decided to call in at Craster to give it time to clear and had a beautiful evening's walk towards Dunstanburgh Castle and a sit on the rocks in the late evening light. I resisted calling in the Jolly Sailor for a swift one as it was a bit too far from home and I had a long journey ahead of me. I love the Northumberland coastline, it has so many beautiful beaches and dunes, castles aplenty and the rock scenery is very dramatic, really a day cannot do it justice.

I finally got back to Cumbria at about half past eight a good 12 hours after I left! That is what I call a good day out :)

A journey of two halves.

It was one of those all too frequent occasions when the weather forecast had a big wad of thick cloud and rain hanging over Cumbria whilst ...