Last weekend I walked fourteen of the sixty four miles of the Northumberland Coastal Path with friends Jenny, Karl and Taru. Jenny and Taru both have family holiday connections to the area and love it. So they cooked up the plan to visit for a weekend which would involve a good day’s walking. Taru sorted out the accommodation for us (the very cosy and well equipped Shepherd’s Nook cottage in North Charlton). Our group also included Anita and Bob – both not currently that well to do the walk itself, but thankfully well enough to enjoy the cafes and bookshops in Alnwick 🙂 We also had Brodie and Scout along for the weekend. Eight go mad in Northumberland.
Actually, it looked like Anita and Bob would be having the better day of it on the Saturday that we walked, as the weather forecast had been horrendous. As it turned out, we hugged the coast from Craster to Bamburgh Castle under a strand of cold, blustery but essentially dry skies of powder blue, mercury and silver.
I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the walk. At times it was more tiring than a ‘flat’ coastal route might suggest. We traversed a lot of sand, which makes for constant flexing of your legs in a way that’s different to walking on hard surfaces. And it tired out Brodie dog around the twelve mile mark. She’s now about thirteen years old I think (a bit uncertain as she is a rescue dog, we adopted her when she maybe a year old) and longer walks are harder for her nowadays. It was great to see her on the beach though, albeit half-heartedly sniffing at seaweed rather than fetching (as giddy youngster Scout did).
One of the things I enjoyed (apart from the company and unfolding great views on this rugged, picturesque coast) was spotting a whole range of coastal birds. I’m not a birder but I’ve come to enjoy spotting birds when I’m out and about, watching whatever their particular species likes to do on moor or mountain, stack or shoreline.
As for the section of the Northumbrian coastal path that we traversed: birds have been flying up and down the coast and to and from the Farne Islands for thousands of years. These have only been seabirds (and those peaks, islands) since the last ice age and the subsequent ‘recent’ inundation of Doggerland. Anyway, I spotted some striking (and new to me) birds on our walk, which my basic 50-250mm zoom lens managed to capture. Some are mentioned below.
This was the first time I’d walked any of the Northumberland coastal path but I’d happily walk the same section again or extend it up to Berwick, past Holy Island and Lindisfarne. There’s a lot of history in the area: mesolithic, neolithic, Celtic, roman, Viking and onwards. I do like a bit of human history (as opposed to just dates and facts), some insight into the people/s who are linked to a particular route or trail. More so, as I’ve gotten older and my schoolboy disinterest in history has evaporated.
And whilst I’m not religious there’s a lot of interesting history related to the Christian church in Northumbria. Which brings me (maybe clumsily) to a book I’ve been looking to mention: