It’s a wrap … of the Northumberland coastal path

Monday 16th May 2022 – far too wet to walk – it was a lazy day!!

Tuesday 17th May 2022

Well, that was a lovely walk today. 10 and a half miles from Blyth to Tynemouth … and nothing particularly taxing about it – quite the pleasant stroll. That’s if you can keep up with Steve – he does like to set a fair pace and I do my very best to keep up with him! Started off along the interesting quay at Blyth, through Ridley Park and along our local beach (Blyth’s been our home this week). Very little incline and spectacular sea views from beginning to end. Easy terrain, even some promenade walking and strolling across the beaches at Whitley Bay and Tynemouth Longsands.

Another day … another beach!!
Blyth quay
Ridley Park

Blyth Beach
Tynemouth Priory and Castle
Dedicated to all the fishermen who have lost their lives x
And back in Blyth … Steve needed to check out the local football ground!

And so that’s the Northumberland coastal path done for us ‘Rambling Roses’ … 102 miles in 10 days of walking! Not bad considering the setbacks of chest infection and injured toe into the equation! It’s been glorious and we’ve loved getting to know these Northern parts. I’m sure we’ll be back ‘up North.’

A walk of two halves

Sunday 15th May 2022

Having had 2 days off walking, today we were back on the coastal path – all fired up for whatever it was going to throw our way. That’s the funny thing – even though you can estimate the miles you can never predict the terrain, elevation or environment – so each day is a mystery! We did know that we were letting ourselves in for 13-14 miles, but there was no earlier option on the route, where we could access public transport for the way back. It’s all a big logistical affair you know.

We made our way by bus to the starting point in Lynemouth – the first mile was a bit industrial but beach views too. Then it was all rambling beach side for the first 6 miles of the walk, and although not forecast, it was warm and sunny. Oh the joys!

We stopped for a break in Newbiggen-by-the-Sea and munched into our beef and horseradish sandwiches as we soaked up the bay views. Seems like a lovely little holiday spot.

Then onwards along pleasant paths to Cambois Beach where we stopped again for ice-cream … we were really spoiling ourselves today!

Whether or not it was the ice-cream that changed our luck, but the weather took a bit of a dip on leaving Cambois … it didn’t rain but the warmth turned to grey and chilly. And the first couple of miles were OK sand dunes but after that the rest of the walk (apart from some short interludes of farm fields and estuary side woodland) it was miles and miles of roadside, industrial areas and not so glamorous housing estates. So, a wonderfully optimistic start turned into a ‘just wanted to get it over and done with’ second half!

It’s not always lovely lovely you see – some days we hate! Hate hills, hate stupidly long flights of steps, hate overgrown paths with stinging nettles, hate diversions that add miles onto the path, hate getting lost … hate walking … hate each other (lol !!!!! edit by Steve!) But the good always outweighs the bad … it must do or we’d be mad to keep doing it! (No comments please)!

Finally reached our destination in Blyth – 13 and a half miles – pooped!!

A little industrial to start
Interesting sculptures in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea
The magpie obviously attracted to the colour of the horse!

And now I’m home, showered, a little rested … enjoying a glass of wine whilst writing the blog, listening to Steve singing as he busies himself in the kitchen, cooking the Sunday Roast. Wafts of beef and sizzling roasties soothe my aching body … and all is SO well with the world.

A ramble into ‘Amble’

Thursday 12th May 2022

Today for our last bit of walking while based in this part, we caught the bus to Lynemouth and enjoyed a fabulous walk back to Amble, where we have stayed the last 3 nights.

All went swimmingly – up nice and early, found the bus stop, bus arrived on time to take us to Lynemouth – off to a great start. Now all we needed was to find a cafe for breakfast to fuel us up for what we hoped would be 8 miles, thought would be 10 miles … but in fact turned out to be 11 miles. But no cafes in Lynemouth to be found … walked 2 miles to Cresswell along the coastal path – still no cafe! At this point the coastal path allowed us to walk along the beach for the majority of the way so it seemed breakfast was a no no. It turned out to be a day of unfuelled walking … but we more than made up for it when we reached Amble about 2pm and devoured some lunch.

Despite the hunger we loved the walk, part sand dunes, part shoreline walking (my favourite) – a day on the beach essentially. Fairly windy at times but the sun occasionally came out too.

So wonderful how each village and town remember their local heroes – who gave their lives in the Wars
We’ve been learning a lot about Colliery living and working too!
Coquet Islandfull of puffins

Rambling into Amblesomeone has built themselves a very nice house and put it on a hill for all to see!
Parked outside the ice-cream parlour in Amble … a severe case of mid-life crisis methinks!

Amble has grown on us. When we arrived on Wednesday evening it seemed like a bit of a tired town – run down shops, no decent pubs or restaurants, nobody about … and we were thinking “oh no, three nights!!” But then we discovered more, including the quayside hospitality and shops, the local beach, a beautiful nearby nature reserve – so we take back all we said Amble. If you’re ever in town, we recommend ‘The Boathouse’ and ‘Fish Shack’ restaurants, the ice-cream parlour, The Coquet Tea Rooms (fab breakfast) and ‘The Cock and Bull’ micropub – a tiny local bar where men seem to take their dogs for a walk at night … and spend the evening sharing their stories with any visitors over a beer or two – we loved it.

Our last night in Amble – eating at ‘The Fish Shack’ … busy table as near the Specials Board

Friday 13th May 2022

Unlucky for some, but so far so good. We moved into our house-sit today in Blyth (when we eventually cracked the diversion)! Lovely house, all we need to make us extremely comfortable for the next week while we attempt to finish off walking this coastline.

While we’re here in Blyth we’re looking after the lovely ‘Squidget.’

Saturday 14th May 2022

Met some really friendly people at the Jesmond Dene parkrun – Steve and I had volunteered to do the tail walking – it was a good job really as I would have been at the back anyway – very few slow runners, no walkers and particularly hilly – what a joy!

And the rest of the day has been a ‘day off walking’ too. Treated ourselves to a few hours on the beach at Cresswell. Beautifully sunny and warm today – attempted a swim … paddled up to my waist but just couldn’t make that ‘getting under’ thing! It was numbingly freezing!!!!

Plan to get the walking boots back on tomorrow!!

p.s. the photos not quite so sharp today as Steve had an accident – he dropped the camera on his already sore toe, resulting in:

  1. An even sorer toe!
  2. A broken zoom lens
  3. Having to resort to mobile phone camera!

Castles, castles everywhere … oh, and golf clubs

We’re carrying on living the life, enjoying the open road. The last few days certainly made easier by staying at the fabulous Eastwatch Guest House. Having the swimming pool and hot tub to return to after miles of path walking was an incredible bonus, not to mention the warm hospitality of Paul and his partner. We made the most of the guest kitchen/dining area to cook in most nights and enjoy the sea views while dining – why would you not?

It’s been a full on few days of walking though so the blog is not so many words and loads of photos! We covered 40 miles in 3 days (Sunday – Tuesday) and today (Wednesday) we’ve done a cheeky little 7 miles (a shorter one planned so I could reserve some time and energy to catch up on blogging …. oh, and Steve has a sore toe!!

Sunday 8th May 2022 – Beal to Berwick

A straightforward walk – 9 miles – no trips, slips or blips in organisation. Mixture of splendid beaches and farmland walking. Stumbled across a golf club around lunchtime that actually invited walkers in – so of course we did! Lots of high speed trains, fascinating geology and most exciting of all … an ice-cream van. And a beautifully sunny day.

The promenade at Berwick where we were staying at the Eastwatch Guest House – this was our beach.

Monday 9th May 2022 – Bamburgh to Beal

Today was harder, hillier and much more inland – only glimpses of the sea at the beginning and at the end. Still beautifully countryside scenic – bluebells en masse, deer, hares, pheasants, partridge – we could hear but not see cuckoo! Forever awed by the nature around us. Some excitement today on having to phone to cross the railway line – we haven’t done that since we were kids!

Had one of those not so happy moments though on reaching a gate with ‘Warning, Bull in Field.’ No discussion on turning back, Steve forever the farm boy! So through the gate I went moaning and groaning about the stupidity of risking death by bull – and breathlessly climbed the huge hill, continuously and anxiously scanning 360 degrees to detect said creature, my escape route through barbed wire cunningly planned. And it had to be the longest field ever of course, going up, up, up and then down, down, down. When we finally got to the end of the field we met such a jolly old man (yes, considerably older than us!) who was sat on the stile smoking a roll up! And his devoted elderly wife was sat on the ground at his feet – and they were full of the joys of Spring (well, we think they were as they were very animated and smiley … unfortunately the local accent though fabulous can be a little tricky for us to understand). Turned out they had just climbed that hill and were coastal path walking too. Made me feel so pathetic about my anxieties when we were obviously so much faster on our feet!

And almost 16 miles today – not bad!

The magnificent Bamburgh Castle

Tuesday 10th May 2022 Bamburgh to Craster

Took the decision to walk southwards today due to wind direction … but it changed direction regularly!

A lovely walk though, much more coastal today although still ventured into farmland and woodland at times. Another day of castles, golf courses and an abundance of natural beauty. A blend of windy and sunny weather for the 13 miles. On reaching Craster, we caught the bus back to Bamburgh to collect the car … and then drove to our new accommodation in Amble. Seems lovely … but no hot tub!!! (We’ve been spoilt)!

Tempting fate methinks!!

The harbour at Craster

Wednesday 11th May 2022 Amble to Alnmouth

A cloudy start to the day today but we set off with all enthusiasm as we knew it was going to be just a short stroll today. Like yesterday, it was a beautiful walk all the way … largely coastal and beach side, including sand dune paths.

Not far from Amble we walked through the beautiful village of Warkworth with its stunning church and castle. I was hugely excited at spotting an otter (my first sighting ever) … only to find out from Steve’s photo that it was actually a seal.

Another great day for bird watching … discovered the Eider Duck, the UK’s heaviest and fastest flying duck. This duck’s breast feathers have long been harvested for filling pillows and quilts … Eiderdown.

And after 7 miles of walking, we finished up with lunch in the picturesque village of Alnmouth – probably our favourite village so far. And we were even allowed to lunch in the Golf Club and enjoy the views of the green while munching.

Bit of a cloudy start

Amble quay

Warkworth Castle

The seal in the River Coquet … so wish it had been an otter!

Fascinating little plants growing along the sand dune paths … like a miniature pine tree forest!

Was convinced this was Tommy Shelby come to find me!

The picturesque village of Alnmouth

These pesky bulls!

The Eider Duck

And, back in Amble, finished off the day with local sea bass and too much prosecco … as you do!

A lot of people say to us “Why do you do it?”

And the answer has to be for the freedom, for the fresh sea and country air, for the time to appreciate all forms of nature, for discovering new things, for the wonderful scenery that takes our breath away each day, time for mindfulness and reflection, for the physical challenge too, for the satisfaction of pushing yourself and achieving, for that lovely tired feeling at the end of the day … and of course for ‘being together’ time.

So, to walk or not to walk?

Walking, blogging, selfie poses …. it’s a yes from us, the Rambling Roses xxxx

Streaks of yellow and gold to brighten up our day

Saturday 7th May 2022

We started off the day with the Pastures parkrun, overlooked by the magnificent Alnwick Castle (pronounced to rhyme with ‘panic).’

As we parked up for the parkrun we met Nick who lives in Towcester!! Practically neighbours.

An interesting route over countryside so it was bumpy underfoot, hilly at points, splattered with cow pats and involved three lots of running through a particularly muddy bog. Michael the Run Director and his team of volunteers couldn’t have been friendlier though and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit here.

The quite remarkable Alnwick Castle. Home to the Duke of Northumberland. Used for filming scenes for both Harry Potter and Downton Abbey. You can even book Broomstick flying lessons here!

We drove straight from the parkrun to Alnmouth where we had decided to park up and catch up a bus to our coastal path starting point of Craster. We enjoyed a hearty Eggs Benedict breakfast and lashings of tea before boarding the bus, so that was us nicely set up for the day. Our mission was to walk back from Craster to Alnmouth along the path, retrieve our car and drive back to our accommodation in Berwick. This is all a bit higgeldy-piggeldy this time in terms of where we walk, but bear with us, it will make a complete jigsaw by the end of the fortnight.

The very first part of the coastal path was through a pub garden – it was quite amazing that we got any further!! From A to B it was a fabulous path … a real coastal path in its terrain and views of the sea, we loved everything about it. A few hills here and there but nothing too horrendous. We even walked a stretch of golden sand as we neared Alnmouth and finished off by walking alongside the village golf club.

It was a day of views, of birdsong, of seaside smells … and eventually of sunshine. With my blog head on I couldn’t help but notice a whole load of yellow and gold today. Mostly from the flowers – huge swathes of brightly coloured gorse lined the majority of the path … then there were primroses, buttercups, cowslip, even late blooming daffodils and tulips … and of course Mr. Dandelion! And as the walk progressed there was more evidence of that large yellow ball in the sky peeping out. “The sun has got his hat on ….”

The rocky beaches later turned into the most beautiful stretches of golden sands. Where are the swimmers!?

We had excitement too watching a group of reluctant coasteering victims as well as a flock of young lambs exploring their independence whilst Mum called fervently from nearby.

It was just over 7 miles of walking today + our 3 miles of running … so not a bad day’s effort. Revived ourselves in the gorgeous bubbly hot tub on our return and now chilling with wine and pizza, watching and listening to the waves.

So, it’s been a yellow sort of day between the flowers, the sunshine, the sands and also the rapeseed fields seen so much in this area. Maybe I should order a bowl of custard!!!!

p.s. did you notice that I haven’t mentioned being ill – I think that Northumbria air is kicking in!!

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne

In 635AD Saint Aidan came from Iona and chose to found his monastery on the island of Lindisfarne. From here the Christian message flourished throughout the world.

Today Steve and I chose this as our ramble, a steady little explore of a place we had wanted to visit for some time. Still dealing with a weakened “me’ we chose to do this on our way between Newcastle and Berwick, something gentle. And we weren’t disappointed – picturesque, historically interesting and, being out of season, not too overrun with tourists! A truly unique little island with its tiny population, a handful of hotels and what seems a thriving fishing trade. Not sure that remote a life is for us but can certainly understand it’s charm. Decided to drive over the causeway and park rather than do the ‘pilgrims walk’ barefoot on wet sand – protecting my health of course … but we really loved our 4 mile windy walk around the island.

Lindisfarne Castle – originally a fort, now a holiday home

Lindisfarne Priory
Sometimes it’s just best to do as you’re told!!

Have now checked into Berwick-upon-Tweed for the next 4 nights … and boy has Steve chosen well. We’re staying at the Eastwatch Guest House – right on the seafront. Has spectacular views, wonderful accommodation, an indoor swimming pool, sauna and a hot tub in the garden. So after a relatively easygoing day we had an easygoing swim and a long lounge in the bubbling hot tub. Well it is a sort of holiday. Going to really enjoy our time here – I think I feel better already just thinking about it!

A room with a view

Tomorrow is Saturday so of course it’s time to run. We’re off to The Pastures parkrun at Alnwick Castle and we’ve volunteered to do the parkrun Report. So we’ll be up and out early, a 5k run followed by our day’s coastal walk then back to our new pad for hopefully a whole load of relaxation.

Love our life x

Because you’re mine … I’ll walk the Tyne!

Wednesday 4th May 2022

Today we drove up as far as Newcastle – a city we’re both visiting for the first time. Immediately impressed with its architecture and vibe. Loved seeing the Angel of the North as we arrived. Checked into the County Hotel – grand, central, affordable … with an old fashioned air and the slowest lift ever! Treated ourselves to a fine dining experience tonight at the Six Restaurant, a 6th floor setting overlooking the Tyne. I actually dressed up and everything – dress, heels, jewellery – the lot!!

Have been fighting a series of chest infections in recent weeks – have been taking the meds and resting but it’s clearly not working. So, as this trip was planned I’m going to give it my best shot and whilst being sensible, try and fit in as much fresh air and walking as I can. It feels like my body is swilling around in a cocktail of amoxicillin, paracetamol, covonia, jakemans, lemsip and strepsils …. fresh air and gentle exercise has got to be the answer surely. Well, let’s see.

Thursday 5th May 2022

Not the best of nights between my coughing fits and Steve having to fetch his inhaler from the car in the middle of the night. But we were still up at 8.00am and still resolute to attempt a few hours of walking. First things first … we enjoyed a breakfast at Wetherspoons quayside – the difference in size between the large and small breakfast was like Daddy and Baby Bear meals … but it set us up perfectly for our ramble.

The first few miles was all riverside, the magnificent River Tyne. Such a vibrant area for cafes, restaurants and bars – spoilt for choice. Often we can spend a whole day coastal walking without any outlets for sustenance – here we were overwhelmed with choice but of course didn’t need anything at this stage.

The Tyne Bar – I have it on good authority from my friend Dermot Hall that this is the best bar in Newcastle. Hoping to visit soon.
Looking out for Ant and Dec !

Absolutely love this number plate!

Still riverside, the coastal path (also Hadrians Way at this point) ran along some pretty woodland and we were blessed with a selection of flora and wonderful aroma of blossom.

The second half of the walk was a different story as we were taken away from the river and found ourselves in industrial and housing areas. This was 5 or 6 miles in when we found ourselves gagging for a cuppa … but naturally not a cafe in sight when needed. At 9 miles energy levels were really dropping and we had to resort to a tasteless sandwich from a corner shop and a brief encounter with a chap and his dog in a particularly dodgy area.

Roman Baths

Nevertheless, it gave us the burst required to finish the final three miles, taking us into Tynemouth. Treated ourselves to an ice-cream, keenly supervised by a crowd of seagulls, before catching the Metro back to Newcastle.

Finally got to see the sea at Tynemouth.

From one extreme to another, after our posh nosh last night, tonight we ate in Wetherspoons … and it is what it is. Chuffed with the bargain and swift service on using the app, we still found ourselves grumbling about the noise levels, people squeezing past the table, the kitchen door continually banging and the general chilliness – but you’re allowed to be grumpy when you’re old (and tired from 11 miles of coastal walking).

An of course tonight was all about Wycombe Wanderers in the play offs. Not being able to find a Sky Sports Bar, Steve settled for watching the game on his laptop in our hotel room – stocked up with milk and chocolate for the big game (rock and roll)!

Heading further north tomorrow – planning a visit to Holy Island.

Did I mention I was poorly!!!