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Friday, 15 January 2016

The Coasters.......................January 15th.(Northumberland Coast)
   The Coasters were one of those fun American groups with hits like  Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown and Poison Ivy. Is today's pop music humorous? Discuss.
  After several weeks of rain the county remains soggy to say the least and so for our outing today we are back to the coast, a walk that was last done about a year ago from Longhoughton to Embleton by way of St Oswald's Way and the Northumberland Coastal Path.
 The walk starts in Longhoughton, a Northumbrian Village which grew to house the men in the nearby RAF base at Boulmer. To get there take the A1 north and just beyond Alnwick turn east through Denwick and follow road signs to Longhoughton. In the middle of the village is a SPAR shop which used to serve as the NAAFI too and behind it is a small free car park, and here it is, as usual.
Although there has been a great deal of rain yesterday (Jan 14) we had some snow and the temperature dropped just below freezing point. Today the sky is blue, the sun is out and there is a breeze from the north west, almost perfect for a winter walk. If you need a map use OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble.
There are six out today, John H., John C., Brian, Ben, Dave and me and we are all well wrapped up and hatted to beat the cold.
A few yards south of the SPAR a road on the left leads through Low Steads Farm to the beach at Howdiemont Sands. We turned left and followed the path above the beach north past Sugar Sands to Iron Scars where the Howick Burn enters the sea.
                                        Sugar Sands, sweet even in winter.


                     Strangely, this is a fresh water spring that bubbles out of the rocks just south of the footbridge at Iron Scars.

Iron Scars.
Across the footbridge the path rises slightly. In the field on the left are some earthworks and until recently there was a reconstruction of an iron age settlement. The footpath continues past the farm at Sea Houses and the cottage that overlooks the sea. Once a coastguard house I think, now a rental holiday home.
                                          Sea views guaranteed.
In summer these cliffs are home to a colony of Kittywakes. The footpath is on top of the cliff.
  Soon we were in the fishing village of Craster. (Camp where the crows live) and we stopped for an early Herbie Spot overlooking the harbour, not much happening in it as the tide was out.
The communion spirit grows, we exchanged: mince pies left over from Christmas but still within sell by, Tracker bars, fruit loaf, almond slices, ginger biscuit and an orange and almond cake from Mrs A. Is there any need for a sandwich? Yes, and some tomatoes and an apple.
                                                Craster Harbour
                           The harbour entrance. The structure on the right pier was used to load stone into ships. The stone was brought to the harbour from a nearby quarry by means of a cable and hoppers.
                                   Craster War Memorial. The blocks still feature on some beaches.
  Lunch over we continued across the fields towards Dunstanburgh Castle looking splendid in the bright winter light, but closed to visitors. This did not stop Dave from reading the poster, probably for the nth time too, and nothing has changed. 

Readers must be as familiar with this as we are. Built in the 14th century by Thomas of Lancaster it fell into disrepair fairly early on.
Beyond the castle, should you follow this path watch out for flying golf balls and the wonderful anticline, a must for budding geologists.
                                              Anticline
And shortly after the geological example walk down onto the beach and continue across Embleton Bay.
                        Embleton Bay.
Towards the end of the bay there is a collection of summer cottages and a path between them has the golf course on the left and the Newton Pool Nature reserve on the right.
                                       Newton Pool Reserve. The hide is well hidden
                                                    One of several skeins that approached the pond.

  If you follow this walk be careful crossing the fields. At one point a sign points to the left as a public right of way but it can be difficult to follow. Turn right and follow the grassy strip at the side of the field, then the grassy strip down the centre of the field to North Farm. Go round the field which has the works of art shown below and follow the wall side to Embleton.
                     As Dave once said, "You can call me Al"
                                                           Parliamentary sub committee
WE arrived in Embleton too early for the bus back to Longhoughton so wiled away a half hour in The Greys pub. A proper pub with a selection of ales and two real fires. Very pleasant we could have missed the bus quite happily.
Back in Embleton we changed and headed home, stopping at the Ridley Arms in Stannington for another drink. Really an eatery but with a good selection of beers.
A good walk on a cold winter day, a pleasant walk on a summer's day too.

The Matrix MMXVI B
                                                                steps                            miles
NAK                                                      24992                            10.65
LIDL3D                                                22307                             10.04
Dave's 3D                                             20873                              9.81
  "       USB                                           20129                              9.53
  "       NAK                                          20002                              9.47
etrex                                                                                             9.5
Brian's GPS                                                                                  9.5

And for the birders we saw a wren, robin, jackdaws, crows, blackheaded gulls, blackbacked gulls, sparrows, blackbirds, kestrels.

Contains OS data. Copyright Crown Copyright and database right 2016