Friday, 3 January 2014

Stastny Novy Rok    с НовыМ  ГодоМ   
Novus annus
Bonne annee
Gluckliches neves Jahr  Happy New year
(Although it's January 3rd)
Gadgies usually start the new year with gentle walk, not because of Hogmanay hangovers but because of the weather. The local weather forecast is for another damp day but not as wet as the last few have been, and the wind has died down at least until Saturday. So we have agreed to repeat a walk last done on January 11th last year entitled Picnic at Stag Rock.
The walk starts at Seahouses on the Northumberland coast. Seahouses has fish and chip shops, souvenir shops and pubs, as well as a large car park in the centre of the fishing town. It also offers trips out to the Farne Islands which are now a nature reserve, home to a vast number of sea birds and seals. Should you opt to visit them, be warned, well worth it but the smell! The islands are National Trust properties and there is an additional landing fee, unless you are a member.
The whole of the walk is covered by OS Explorer 340 and the best way to get to Seahouses is to head north up the A1 and follow signs from Alnwick, or use a Satnav.
Six out today, Brian, Ben, Harry, Dave, John and me.

There had been more than the usual discussion on where to walk, mainly because of the uncertain weather. At one point Dave sent an email saying that "Like Lord Stanley at the Battle of Bosworth* he would wait and see how things were before joining in" to which Brian replied "Typical Stanley, wait to see who's winning and then stick the knife in!"**

The walk.
We started at the car park in Seahouses. at the back of the car park a gate leads to the Northumberland Coast Path which is the route we are to follow today. If you think this path is on an old railway line, you are right, it is.
                                           Yes it's a car park. (£3.50 for a whole day)
                                               Seahouses is famous for fish and chips

                                    The blue sign marks both paths and appears frequently
                                                making it an easy route to follow.

 At the end of the path we turned right on the road past a small industrial area and after about fifty yards crossed into a field, well sign posted. Being winter and having suffered a few days rain the path was muddy but easy to follow across several fields, past North Cottage, several more fields to Saddlershall, along a short stretch of road to Fowberry. From here we wandered across more muddy fields to Redbarns and Quarry Cottage. If you look on the OS map the path goes directly from here, behind Armstrong Cottages, to the road and on to the castle but we faithfully followed the signs across yet more muddy fields before arriving at the castle car park. From here new followed the road for a short distance to the cricket field.
                                                       Mighty Bamburgh. There is evidence of
                                                  pre Romano British occupation of the site.
                                                 The castle was built in the 12th century and
                                                 modernisation took place in the 18th and 19th.
                                              Beneath the walls at Bamburgh
                                         The Fugawee tribe were camped at Bamburgh,
                                                       they thought.
To the left of the cricket pavilion a footpath took us along the dunes  to The Wynding, and soon we reached Stag Rock and declared a Herbie Spot.  Stag Rock is not named on the map, it is at  Blackrocks Point next to a lighthouse and is quite sheltered from the westerly wind.
                                                  Stag Rock
                                                 Looking back at Bamburgh
Future archaeologists may well look into the lunchtime eating habits of groups of gadgies.
Excluding sandwiches we shared Guinness flavoured Truffles, ASDA flapjacks, Ben's superb ginger biscuits and Co-op cereal bars. This is becoming almost a ceremony or ritual. (This is a phrase used by archaeologists when they are not sure.)  Actually archaeologists wont know because we take our litter home.
Lunch over we climbed the steps behind the lighthouse and carefully crossed Bamburgh Golf Course.

                                       Trinity House runs British Lighthouses.
                                                       Budle Bay
The course is above Budle Bay and the footpath meanders between the holes and fairways, across a couple of fields. until it emerges on a road. We turned left and after a couple of hundred yards turned right at the sign for Dukesfield entered  and crossed several more fields, slipped, literally , down  a path through a wood and emerged on a road at the old Spindlestone Mill, now converted into luxury apartments.
                                                          Spindlestone Mill
From here we followed the road to the wonderful Outchester Ducket. Originally built as a Dovecote, they had very large doves in Northumberland, it was also used for storing food and manure! Now it is a holiday let, complete with great views and circular bedrooms.
                                                      The Outchester Ducket.
We turned right at the Ducket and took the left fork at the next junction until we came to the Warren Mill Caravan and Camping site. Beyond the gate to this camp a footpath led us alongside the site, past several static vans before we entered and crossed several more fields before arriving at the crossing on the main London Edinburgh line. A notice informs walkers to ring the signalman for permission to cross, this time the honour of making the call fell to Harry.
                                          I just called to say we're crossing

                                                      Perspective perspective
Once safely across we walked past the coastal grain stores to the A1, main road between London and Edinburgh, not that you would think so, it's a single carriageway here, but hat's what we get in the north of England.
                                            Northumberland produces much grain..
Across a couple more fields and we were in Belford, the end of the walk.
Belford possibly comes from Old English, bel haga a glade in a forest or dry land in a swamp, today it looks like the small town is dying, two pubs and a café up for sale. We waited a while and caught the Travelsure 418 bus which whisked us back to Seahouses in about 20 minutes. Debooted we headed for The Old Ship hotel hoping to annoy the locals by sitting in their seats but the pub was packed at 4pm with mostly visitors. Several beers on offer, I chose Directors as a second pint, the first, Alnwick Longstone, being disappointing.

The Matrix MMXIVA

                                                           steps                                       miles

LIDL 3D                                          25317                                      11.41
Higear                                              23947                                      11.32
Dave's LIDL3D                               23478                                       10.81
Dave's LIDLUSB                            23126                                        10.94

OUTDOOR GPS                                                                              10.81
Brian's GPS                                                                                       11
Ben's GPS                                                                                          10.9

Pretty consistent for once

Gadgie total for the year                                10.8miles

* Battle of Bosworth 1485. The end for that son of York the much maligned Richard III who, calling for a horse, died and was dragged to Leicester. His remains were discovered a couple of years ago under a council car park and lawyers are now making a fortune arguing where he should be buried. York Minster gets my vote.
** Lord Stanley fought in the battle of Bosworth. In the UK a Stanley knife is a short bladed knife with interchangeable blades, used for hobbies, opening boxes etc. A sharp remark from Brian.