Saturday, 2 April 2016

While I was away......................(Northumberland coast)
the gadgies enjoyed the usual Friday walk out. Brian has written it up.

Beaches, Beers, Bus and BIRDS

Today’s walk was from Craster to Seahouses, in that direction because of the forecast of a stiff southerly breeze.  It sometimes seems just a short period between doing the same walk, but a trawl back through records suggest the last time we did this one was 22/05/15.  Besides, our youngest and recently inducted gadgie said he was very partial to a coastal walk.

There were five of us out today; John Ha, John Ham, Dave, Ben and Brian therefore we were all able to fit comfortably into Brian’s car for the journey up to Craster.

We made a visit to the ever popular Shoreline CafĂ© in Craster for early morning refreshments which included a substantial bacon sandwich and cheese scone. Then we were off.  The weather was overcast but bright and no real threat of either sun or rain.  It still being the school Easter holidays there were lots of people out and about, many of them heading to the nearby Dunstanburgh Castle.

Today was a good day for bird spotting and we soon identified both kittiwakes and guillemots on the cliffs beside the castle and a pair of stonechats by the path.


At this time of year the colours of the plumage are particularly vibrant.

We chose to follow the path over the dunes instead of along the beach which resulted in a particularly rewarding view back to the castle.

We continued mostly along the Northumberland Coastal Path to arrive at the bird hide at Newton Pool.  There wasn’t a lot to be seen on the pool apart from, what for all of us were, the first swallows of the season. However a couple of hundred yards further on there is a shallow “scrape” (probably just a permanently flooded field which revealed a much greater number of ducks, geese and waders.

There were: mallard, teal, shoveler, wigeon, shelduck, canada and greylag geese, redshank and bar tailed godwit. A scope would probably have revealed even more.


Bar tailed godwit

By now it was lunchtime and we Herbied in the square at Low Newton, well sheltered from the now increasing breeze.  As a welcome back to Brian, Dave produced porky pies and Brian reciprocated with Mrs A’s cheese scones.  Ben contributed his ever popular ginger snaps, John Ha a new line non fat oatie biscuit and John Ham a chocolate digestive bar.

We lunched well as always then continued round the point to the aptly named Football Hole which is where both Newcastle United and Sunderland seem to be at the moment.  Nevertheless the birds and beasts kept on coming.  Three or four groups of gannets flew past heading south and a seal popped its head above the water.  The white on a gannet always seems brighter than that of any other bird, as if sunlight is always shining on it.


 Ringed plover


We then came down onto the long sandy stretch of Beadnell Bay.  About half way along the bay the Long Nanny burn spills out onto the sand and down to the sea. It is here that, just a little later in the year, a stretch is cordoned off to provide safe haven for nesting arctic terns, ringed plover and, in particular, the little tern.

At low tide the burn widens enough to be able to cross it but with some careful footwork.  John Ha and Brian decided it was a low enough tide and made their way to the water.  A father, mother, and aunt (probably) and four children were in the process of crossing.  Dad was coming back and forth carrying the small children over.  On the far side (about 30yards) the children gathered to watch 2 gadgies cross, anticipating them getting wet feet, wet legs or being swept away altogether.  The gadgies performed admirably and seemed immediately to acquire hero status with the children.

They borrowed our binoculars to look at each other, checked how far they had come on the GPS and were disappointed that taking three steps forward didn’t register an extra mile on their journey.

The reunited gadgies arrived in Beadnell to see even more birds in the quaintly named Lady’s Hole and Nacker Hole!  On view here were redshank, turnstone,  eider duck and male and female red breasted mergansers. Attractive birds – lousy choice of coiffurist.

                                                           Red breasted Merganser ........male

                                                 and female

Seahouses was now in sight and thoughts were turning to beer.  We crossed the sand to the golf course and on to the Olde Ship Inn where we got our usual welcome.  There was a good range of beers available:  Farne Island Bitter, Tyneside Blonde;  Ruddles County etc.

The Travelsure bus arrived right on time and delivered us safely back to the car at Craster.

This was another grand day out for the gadgies.  It was agreed that it was a walk of 10.5 miles.