Saturday, 22 August 2015

We walked from Beadnell to Belford along St. Oswald's Way....Aug 21st.(Northumberland)
It's a sure sign of age when you start discussing your ailments. There are four gadgies out today, Brian with his bad back, John H and I with our early days arthritic knees, and Dave with his osteo penic bones and almost fully recovered broken elbow. We are having a true gadgie walk, it involves the use of a bus pass. The start is at Beadnell, a small fishing village on the Northumberland coast which has a well preserved lime kiln and a lot of holiday cottages. To get there A1 north beyond Alnwick, turn right when you see a sign post for Seahouses and follow the maze of minor roads until, just before Seahouses you come to Beadnell. At the north end of the village, across the road from the fish and chip shop, there is a space on the side of the road for several cars and a park celebrating HM's jubilee which is useful for sitting to put your boots on. The jovial jock on TV had promised us a humid day with showers late in the afternoon, he was spot on.
The map for this walk is OS OL 340 Holy Island and Bamburgh.

                                              This week's free car park in Beadnell. 
The walk is easy to follow as it is part of the St. Oswald's Way and Northumberland Coastal Path, well signed:
                                                Follow the paths, but not as the crow flies.
We walked a short distance north towards Seahouses, the path sticks to the road but we went through a gate and down on to the beach. Like many of the Northumberland beaches it is sandy and although not sunny there were plenty of families making castles, playing cricket or just sitting. Nobody in the water, the North Sea can be cold, even at this time of year. Approaching North Sunderland Point it is sometimes necessary to go inland and cross the Annstead Burn by the bridge and continue to Seahouses by the road but the water was low, we crossed the stream and climbed up to the golf course with its sign to beware of flying golf balls.
Today's Geology lesson,sedimentary layers near Seahouses
                                                                            The footpath  overlooks the harbour from where it is possible to take a boat out to the Farne Islands. The Farnes are a National Nature Reserve, famous for puffins and seals and an assortment of sea birds.  The smell can be overpowering. Unless you are a member of the National Trust there is a charge to land on the islands if you take the boat trip.
   The one and only Billy Shiels! A boat leaves the harbour bound for the Farnes.
                                 Kittiwakes on the cliffs above the harbour.
                    Seahouses is a small fishing port and holiday resort. There are many cottages to let and there are several fish and chip shops. Near the roundabout in the centre is a large car park which used to be the railway station. The path goes through it and at the back a gate leads onto the old track bed.
                                            Spot the fish and chip restaurants.
The track comes to a road and we turned right, after a couple of hundred yards we crossed a stile on the left and headed across fields towards Bamburgh.
                                  Surely one of the finest castles in England.
  The footpath seems to wander through several backyards before it comes to the road at the foot of the castle. We followed the road and crossed the cricket field to the pavilion where we called a Herbie Spot. Mrs A had made us another quality cake, we had flapjacks and Alpen bars and pork pies, they are making a comeback.
Lunch over we followed the footpath a short distance before descending to the beach again as far as Stag Rock and the lighthouse.
                       Stag Rock, freshly painted. Who by? No eye deer.
                             Looking back at Bamburgh and another sandy beach.

The lighthouse at Blackrocks Point, near Stag Rock
It is necessary at this point to climb the few steps and follow the path across Bamburgh golf course, again taking care not to be hit by flying golf balls. The footpath is above the emptiness of Budle Bay although you can walk on the beach if you want. At Heather Cottages the path goes round the houses and across fields before emerging again on the golf course with its associated dangers. Reaching the road we turned left down Galliheugh Bank before turning right down a lane. Almost immediately a sign sent us across several fields to the caravan site at Warren. (Not Warren Mill). We did not enter the site but followed the road a short way before following a sign that took us along the edge of the site downhill through a wood to Spindlestone Mill, now a block of flats (apartments!!!)
                                                   Used to be Spindlestone Mill
                                            The Warren Burn by the mill
We crossed the burn and headed up the hill, stopping to admire this;
                Built as a store, the top was a dovecote. Now it is a holiday let.
We turned right at the dovecote, which is marked as a windmill on the map, right at the next fork and left at he next. After a few hundred yards up the lane we took the footpath on the left which climbed uphill across several fields. A combine was busy cutting the wheat in the fields. The footpath came downhill, crossed an old railway line that had served Easington Quarry and  soon we were at the main east coast railway between London and Edinburgh. There are several tracks to cross and pedestrians are asked to call the signalman using the phone by the path for permission to cross. Sensible really, there is a slight bend and the fast trains really are. You are asked to call when you have crossed too, as good citizens we did.  Amost at the end the path goes near the silos at Belford before reaching the A1, main road between England and Scotland on the east coast. Not that you would know, it is not a dual carriageway in this part of Northumberland in spite of government promises.
                                    Belford Grain silos.
Once across the A1 we crossed a couple of fields before finally reaching the village of Belford. With time to spare we had a well earned cup of tea before catching the X18 bus back to Beadnell.
(If you choose to do this walk check the timetable, there is only one bus an hour, sometimes the Arriva X18, sometimes the Travelsure 418. It may be more sensible to catch a bus to Belford and walk back to Beadnell, or have cars at both ends.)
Back at the car we changed and headed to Embleton, calling at Greys Inn which had several beers on offer including Alnwick Amber Ale and Tyne 9, a black lager!

The matrix MMXV RR
                                                          steps                         miles
LIDL3D                                             33922                        13.07  Little legs!
Dave's LIDL3D                                 27392                        12.87
Dave's USB                                       26952                         12.76
GPS                                                                                      13.1

                       I haven't joined the maps too well.Should be "Cricket field" and H S                                                                 It's not that steep!
It was a great day for the birders, we saw kittiwakes, sanderlings, dunlins, golden plovers, cormorants, assorted shanks, a kestrel but the bird of the blog, seen in Bamburgh was the Grace Starling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

               Grace Starling of Bamburgh.
Well you would be wet if you had just rowed the lifeboat out in a storm