We still weren’t finished with Northumberland. Our remaining days there before we headed into Scotland took in beaches and castles. We headed slightly inland to visit Ford & Etal and we even had a daytrip into Scotland, visiting Eyemouth as well as a couple of hidden coves. We were busy!
We weren’t experiencing wonderful weather; we had some extremely windy conditions – but the sun was out too at times 🙂
From Holy Island we had spotted, what looked like, some rather lovely beaches across the channel, so we headed a couple of miles back down the A1 and took a left. The 1st turn took us to a dead end. We did get out to have a look, but there were bird hides and this wasn’t on the agenda for us so we carried on and took the next left!
After a while we found a lay-by from where we could access the shoreline, so we stopped and headed out for a walk along the shore.
Unfortunately this wasn’t the most pleasant experience as the tide was coming in and we had to negotiate the muddy shoreline around the bay. However we eventually came across the sand which very nearly made the challenging walk to find it worth it! Rather than tackle the shoreline, with the tide even further in, we left the beach via a footpath that took us out to a lane, past a caravan site and finally back to the main road. Although there was no pavement there was room on the verge to walk on when cars went past so it was fine.
Not necessarily my favourite afternoon out, but we did get a fair bit of exercise 🙂
The next day dawned bright and sunny but windy. We had already decided to head down the coast to Bambrugh, which has an amazing stretch of beautiful wide sandy beach backed by dunes you can get lost in! We very nearly did! We parked about 3/4 mile beyond the castle and made our way back through the dunes to find this wonderful beach.
Unfortunately I managed to lose Calv as he went marching off ahead and I lost sight of him when I was looking in the other direction for about 30 seconds… Whichever way I looked I couldn’t see him and so made the wrong choice to continue to the end of the beach in an attempt to find him. Did I mention how windy it was??
So I had to turn round and head all the way back to where we had started – back into the dunes. Calv wasn’t answering his phone (due to the fact that he’d left it in the car…). Instead of heading directly to the car I thought it was probably more sensible to go back to the road by the castle, so found myself negotiating a particularly steep, high dune. As I made it to the car park I got the phone call ; Calv had finally headed back to the car and arrived 30 seconds later to pick me up.
What a relief – I thought I’d lost him!!
We continued on down the coast stopping in Seahouses (where we stopped for lunch and nearly got blown away as we wandered along the harbour – needless to say none of the boat-trips out to the Farne Islands were running!) Beadnell (a nice stretch of sand and lots of houses being built) and finally Dunstanburgh where we found the ruined castle up on the cliff overlooking the water.
It was quite a walk from the car park up to the castle (there’s no vehicular access and the staff have to make the walk there and back daily), through the golf course and keeping out of the way of the cattle! But it was well worth it as the castle affords amazing views over the surrounding countryside. We were sure that we could also see the remains of an ancient man-made jetty in the water.
The following day we headed inland to 2 small villages, Ford and Etal. Etal boasts a castle run by English Heritage, but there’s not an awful lot to see really.. It is also the end of a Heatherslaw Light Railway – the other end being about a mile and a half away in Heatherslaw (which also boasts an old mill). At over £7 each we decided to give this a miss! The village itself was tiny with a row of white-washed cottages, a pub, a village hall and a village store cum café (where we bought a lottery ticket and promised to share some if we won. We didn’t. Win that is!
Heading away from the village we found a turning right which took you to the battle field from 1513 of Flodden. We did think about doing the walk but it was getting late (and Calv was tired!), so we continued.
On our way towards Ford we stopped at the other end of the light railway line at Heatherslaw. Across the river there is an old mill which is now a craft centre (we were too late in the day to visit).
Moving on we found Ford itself. Whilst the house itself is not open to the public you can drive down into the village, around the green and then back out past the old blacksmiths, with it’s wonderful horseshoe shaped doorway 🙂
The following day we headed into Scotland and I will write about this in my next post. I still have about 3 weeks of adventures to tell you about!
Keep travelling! 🙂