Saturday, 24 November 2012

Bacon, Bays and Birds................November 23rd.

I must go down to the sea again, the lonely sea and the sky,
I left my shoes and socks there, I wonder if they're dry.

                           The lonely sea and the sky........................with socks.
Many of us rewrote John Masefield's famous poem when our English teacher forced it on us but most of them preferred  The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes because it contained  a whole week's English lessons in one poem. Metaphor,simile, alliteration, onomatopoeia and probably an oxymoron or two, not to mention rhymes and rhythm..

I have been looking at a rival blog; Walks from Richard. It is a lot more professional in appearance, something I shall look into and is to be recommended. Richard's blog uses more photographs to illustrate the walk but he doesn't have the punmeister, the pub or bacon butty reports.

There are only four out today, winter takes its toll. Pun, vogel, route and blogmeister.

Back to today. We have chosen a coastal walk that has been covered before but there will be more pictures. It is a linear walk so a bit more organisation is required, either a car at each end or a bus ride. If you opt for a bus ride you need Service X18 from Newcastle to Berwick via the coast. Pick up the timetable, "coast and castles" at a bus station or look it up on the Nexus site. We are starting at Craster, to drive there take the \A189 Coast and Castle route to Lesbury and follow signs to Craster.
There is a small car park next to the Visitor Centre at a very generous £2 for a day.The car park is at GR256198.
You can do this walk without a map as it follows the beach north but if you require a little help and a chance to look at the lovely names of features you pass  buy Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble and Explorer 340 which is nameless because I haven,t got it.

 Craster Visitor Centre, not necessarily open in winter, although the toilets are which is  important for gadgies as they get older.
  Before we started we called in at the Shoreline Cafe, opposite the Jolly Fisherman pub for breakfast.
A brightly lit little restaurant with friendly staff a good range of breakfasts and quality tea. The bacon was excellent, the amount generous, sauce provided on request in neat little bowls. Five flitches were awarded with very little discussion.
                                           The Shoreline cafe inside..............
                                                         .................and out.

The walk: (at last)

We headed north from the cafe through the tiny fishing village of Craster, which is famous for kippers, a smoked herring with lots of bones.

              Boats and lobster pots in Craster.
                       A sad looking gull, possibly suffering a broken wing.
Once past the last of the houses a gate opens onto fields that lead to the very familiar Dunstanburgh Castle.
This magnificent fortress was built on a site where Iron Age and Roman remains have been found. It was started in 1314 by Thomas,Earl of Lancaster. Later work by John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. The British sovereign, regardless of sex, is the Duke of Lancaster to this day and Lancastrians are permitted to say "The Duke" when they give the loyal toast.
                                  Dunstanburgh,s massive,  if ruined,  gatehouse.
                                       The Lilburn Tower at Dunstanburgh.

                                                  And a view looking back from the north side.
\Beyond the castle the walk follows the arc of Embleton Bay, which is a popular walk at any time of year. On the left is Embleton Golf Course so there is always the chance of being felled by a sliced drive and on the right the famous geological sample.

                                                       Here we have an anticline, look how the layers of rock have
                                               been curved under pressure, particularly on the right.

                     Embleton Bay.
On the left of the footpath there is a reminder of World War II in the shape of a concrete bunker:

                                   A Dad's Army outpost.

At the north end of Embleton Bay is the tiny village of  Low Newton by the Sea which has a pub, a few cottages and a bird hide overlooking a pond which we made into a Herbiespot.
Lunch was slightly different today as someone had forgotten to buy pork pies, but we did have mince pies and some of Mrs A's delicious muesli biscuits.

The pond was busy; we spotted  Whooper and Mute swans, Canada Geese, Teal, Potchard and shovellers and a flock of lapwings. Hovering on the far side was a kestrel and the pun meister suggested that should we stay until dusk we could observe "Oh Kestrel Manoeuvres in the Dark." Good one.

                    He is conducting "Swan Lake"
                                    As the audience leaves
Leaving the village we followed the coastal path across a couple of fields.A Sparrow Hawk flew by causing much concern among the smaller birds of which there were many feeding on the beach and rocks but he whizzed through without catching anything.
After passing a low brick building which has something to do with coastguards or MI6 the path descends to the beach again to follow the arc round Beadnell Bay. There were quite a number of sanderlings running like clockwork toys on the edge of the water, turnstones and in some gorse on the dunes a stonechat.
At one point it is necessary usually to take a slight detour inland to cross the Long Nanny Burn by bridge, the alternative being a plodge* through a couple of feet of water. There is a bird sanctuary on the beach by the burn. In summer a colony of little and arctic turns take over, their real enemies being marauding foxes. A local nature organisation often keeps a twenty four hour vigil to protect the young.
Still guarding after all these years.
Another souvenir from World War II is a row of concrete blocks designed to prevent landings,or at least make them difficult. There are a lot in the area, the theory being that an invasion could come in this part of Enland where the country is at its narrowest, the enemy could drive across to the west and split the homeland. So I have been told.

The lime kilns of Beadnell are clearly visible as the walk approaches the village. Lime was burned in the kilns to produce  a  fertiliser for the local and not so local farmers. On other days they have served as Herbiespots but today we walked through the village,past the chip shop (it was closed) and back down on to the beach for the last stretch.
As we walked through Beadnell the punmeister said that if he wanted to see godwits, bar tailed or otherwise, this would be the place, and behold, on the beach were the very birds, plus curlews..
                              Beadnell Lime Kilns
Soon we were in Seahouses, fish and chip capital of Northumberland and the place from which to take a boat out to the Farne Islands. In summer these islands, which are National Trust property, teem with puffins, terns, kittiwakes  and the sea is home to seals. Well worth a visit.
But before the fish and chips we called in to The Old Ship, a proper English pub serving several real ales in a friendly atmosphere, apart from the local yob who was rude to Brian.
                The welcoming lights of The Olde Ship,
which served:Theakstons Bitter, Speckled Hen, Ruddles County, Directors Bitter, Farne Island and Black Sheep, plus guest ales Red Dust, Pullet Please, Alnwick IPA and Coast to Coast. No wonder it was busy!
Some of us indulged in fish and chips too but then we all caught the X18 back to Craster and drove home. Brian the driver had made a very listenable, singalongable compilation: Abba, Bob Dylan, The Proclaimers and more.
Another great day pout.

The Matrix MCVII

                                                        steps                                   miles
Higear is going to have to be careful, recorded well from the bird hide

My ASDA slim                              24448                                  11
Dave's ASDA slim                         23521                                  11.3
LIDLUSB                                       22680                                  10.7

OUTDOORGPS said 11.01 miles but claimed an ascent of 1643 feet!

*plodge  Verb; to paddle in water, especially the sea.
               Noun a walk in the water, especially the sea.

Book of the blog: Map Addict by  Mike Parker, published by Collins
If you think of maps as being more than just a tool for walkers you will find this very interesting if not fascinating. Mike Parker rambles through a history of maps, particularly the Ordnance Survey and brings out their oddities, changes , jokes and so on. My only complaint is that on the cover it says
"A Tale of Obsession, Fudge and the Ordnance Survey" I am very fond of fudge, especially Scottish Tablet and I have not found anything about it in the book.

                                    From Craster to Seahouses

 Designated driver  : Brian