Friday, 14 February 2014

St. Valentine's tea rooms ...............14th February

   One gadgie has a twisted ankle, two have family commitments so the team is reduced to four for today's walk; Ray, John, Brian and me, by coincidence the ones who survived the AGM. As the weather is doubtful, again, we have opted for a coastal walk following St. Oswald's Way and the Northumberland Coastal Path from Alnmouth to Craster. To get to Alnmouth take the A1 north to Alnwick and follow signs for Alnmouth. Take care, although the A1 is the main route from London to Edinburgh  on the east side of Britain, it is not yet converted to a dual carriageway in all its length. This is because it is in the north.
At Alnmouth you can park on the foreshore, sometimes there is somebody to take your money, or you can find a space at the end of the main street as we did.
A map is not essential as the route follows the coast and is well marked but if you want one, if only to read the names of places, take OS Explorer 332, Alnwick and Amble. The car was left at NU247103, approximately.

                                                NU247103, approximately
                                                        And a useful information board.
But before we started we visited the Village Tearooms on the main street, A nice little cafe with a hard working young lady trying to serve breakfasts for a goodly number of people, burning toast, having problems with the power but most important not having any bacon. A broken Brian settled for a scone with a short o.
Breakfast over we turned down to the road facing the sea and headed north by the side of the golf course following the blue markers and above the beach. Like most of the footpaths at the moment it was muddy.  At Broadroom End we passed a number of static caravans and wooden chalets which were locked up for the winter. There was also a strange looking bunker with a dedication to Algernon, Duke of Northumberland.
                                                 The Duke's Bunker
                                            Caravan, with extension
Shortly after this we descended to the sandy beach and continued on our way to Boulmer, a fishing village that seemed to specialise in lobster pots. Behind it is RAF Boulmer, helicopter station and part of our national defences.
                                                   Boulmer cottages.

North of Boulmer the path is off the beach and crosses fields. Somebody has made the path into an outdoor art gallery:

                                                  Amazing what you can do with scrap horse shoes
                                               and other odds and ends. Who needs the Brit Art Pack?
There were lots of sheep too, waiting to give birth to their lambs.
                                                I say hello, and ewe say goodbye.
At Iron Scars, where the Howick Burn enters the sea we stopped for a Herbie Spot. Apart from the usual sandwich we had Ringtons 'Ginger Biscuits,  Individual Bramley  Apple Pies and Mrs A's homemade muesli and nut biscuits, iced with chocolate. No wonder my weight is up to 13 stones 8 pounds  (190 pounds to you Americans 86.18kg to the rest of the world)  This area  is of special geological significance Dave once told us, but I can't remember why. The pictures may help.

                                                      Sedimentary Rocks at Howick Burn.

                                               Howick Burn flows through the grounds of Howick Hall
                                                 home of Earl Grey the tea man.
 Lunch over we continued on our way north, past an iron age settlement, to Seahouses Farm and on beyond this old Coast Guard's cottage to the fishing village of Craster.
                                               Coast Guard cottage, now a holiday let.
                                                     Look carefully, one or two kittiwakes
                                                  have already arrived and staked their claim
Craster is famous for kippers, a peculiar English dish, smoked herring often eaten for breakfast. It is also a good starting point for the short walk to the ruins of  Dunstanburgh Castle, but today we had about an hour to spare before catching a bus back to Alnmouth so we retired to the Shoreline Cafe and had tea and scones with a short o.
It being St. Valentine's Day the cafe was decorated with hearts, including two heart shaped wooden bread boards.
"Who would buy one of those ?" asked John.
"Elvis Presley fans," explained Brian.
Ray paid the bill for the four of us and when asked how much it was each he said £3.60
"You could have got a whole round for three sixty once," said Brian, very much on form today.
It started to rain heavily and we were grateful for the  bus which  took us back to Alnmouth, making it a proper gadgie walk although we didn't see a heron.
On the way home we called in at The Ridley Arms in Stannington for liquid gold. They had a choice of four beers, Jennings, Anarchy and two other whose names I have forgotten. Nice place, more restaurant than pub though.

The matrix  MMXIVF
                                                  steps                           miles
Higear                                      15608                           7.382
LIDL3D                                    16158                           7.3
OUTDOORGPS                                                             7.33
Brian's GPS                                                                    7.5

Consistent again, even without Dave.
Bird of the blog.
Not a lot to see, probably because of the weather but we did see a male eider with two females.
                                     Eider ducks,

It's a walk of two halves Brian.
Contains OS data copyright Crown copyright database right 2014
Gadgie distance 7.4 miles