Friday, 13 February 2015

February 13th............what a grey day.
The weatherman, the very same jovial jock, declared Friday the 13th would be a cool day with rain.
The planned route was to drive to Embleton in Northumberland, catch a bus to Longhoughton, walk up the coast to Newton by the Sea and across country back to Embleton.
A full house turned out, Brian, Harry, Dave, John H, John C, Ben, Ray and me, an octogadge.
To get to Embleton take the A1 north and turn east just beyond Alnwick and follow road signs to the village.   It is apretty village with at least two pubs and a church, Holy Trinity, which has 14th C origins.  
Holy Trinity Church, Embleton. The Mothers' Union sell coffe two mornings a week,
but not Friday. Shame.
                                                                                                                                           Once booted up we waited for the X18 Arriva bus to take us to Longhoughton. This service runs very infrequently so if you wish to use it check the timetable. We got off at the SPAR shop in Longhoughton.
A map could be useful, particularly for the last section of the walk and the one to us is OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble. It covers about 95% of the walk, missing the first few hundred yards and the bit round the village at Newton by the Sea.
                                              Parking in Embleton, near the Post Office.
From the bus stop in Longhoughton we walked a short distance south before turning left along a road which eventually became a track leading through the farmyard at Low Stead where we were met by a very friendly collie. Continuing our way we soon came to Northumberland Coastal Path/ St. Oswald's Way and headed north along a muddy footpath. The map is worth carrying just for the names. We joined the footpath at Howdiemont Sands, walked past Sugar Sands and crossed a footbridge at Iron Scars which has an interesting geological outcrop and a freshwater spring.
                                                  Footbridge at Iron Scars
                                                         Howick Burn from the footbridge
                                                              Spot the heron
                                              And how much longer will this last?
Continuing on the coastal path we passed a cottage overlooking the sea, probably a holiday let, or an ideal place to write a novel.
               A coastguard's lookout?
The names continue to amuse, Swine Den, Black Hole and Hole o' the Dike. Eventually we arrived in the fishing village of Craster, famous in the north-east for kippers. We decided to stop and make use of the benches overlooking the harbour for a Herbie Spot. Pork pies, two varieties of flapjack, (one the chocolate coated special from Mrs A.), almond slices and Ben's ginger biscuits. (183 pounds)

                                            Craster Harbour and distant Dunstanburgh in the top picture.
                                                        This turnstone and his mates joined us for lunch
Lunch over we said goodbye to the turnstones and continued north towards the always magnificent ruin of Dunstanburgh. On a grey misty day it looks even more mysterious than usual.
                                                        The ruined gateway at Dunstanburgh
                                                           and the ruined Lilburn Tower.
About half a mile north of the castle we left the path and walked down to the beach. The sandy Embleton Bay has a gentle curve until you reach Low Newton by the Sea, which has a pub called the Ship, famous for its meals and home brewed beer. We didn't stop.
                          The Ship at Low Newton by the Sea. It is in the corner of a square of cottages.
We followed the path round the back of the square and headed for the bird hides overlooking Newton Ponds to give the watchers among us the opportunity to watch the ducks and geese. A man who was already in the hide demanded we be quiet or we would frighten the birds, so like naughty children we walked away. From the hides, continuing south at the start is a well marked path across fields back to Embleton. The path goes directly across at least one field but it was ploughed and muddy, we stuck to the edge.
Back in Embleton we changed and headed for Grey's Inn. What a find. The pub kept six real ales, four of them on today including Tempest, Alnwick and Secret Kingdom. The landlord was enthusiastic about his beers, discussing the correct temperatures for each, his home brew and the pub in general. Five barrels, definitely.
Jock had the weather wrong, we had no rain until we were driving home, but it had been a cool and misty day, but a good one.

Matrix  MMXV             G
                                                                   steps                                  miles
LIDL 3D                                                  25311                                  11.46
Higear                                                      20938                                    9.5
Dave's 3D                                                21365                                    7.68
Dave's USB                                             21756                                    7.55
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                  10.2
Brian's GPS                                                                                           10.4

Both maps;
Contains OS data copyright. Crown Copyright and data base right 2015

The Times has an eight page pull out on the glories of Northumberland today (14/02/15)
It invites readers to enjoy the glories of the county, the wall, the hills, the castles, the coast and the history, plus fine dining of course, at The Ship, Low Newton by the Sea. All well and good but having been invaded by Saxons, Vikings, Romans and Scots do we really want hordes of southerners clogging up our hilltops on a Friday?