Saturday, 19 August 2017

Kippers, a castle and a coastal walk. (Northumberland) August 18th
Still not a full squad, four of us have taken note of the threatened heavy showers and strong wind and opted for another walk up the Northumberland coast. Dave, Harry, John H. and I are walking from Longhoughton to Embleton by way of Craster. A linear walk so if you choose to follow us have a car at either end or check Arriva bus X18, Travelsure bus 418. It is not a regular service, roughly a bus an hour.
To get to Longhoughton A1 north, turn east at Alnwick and follow signs. Alternatively follow the Northumberland Coastal route.
 Longhoughton is close to Boulmer, once an RAF helicopter station and radar base. It had a general store/NAAFI which is now a community centre. There is a small car park behind it, just off the main street through the village, and it's a Yorkshire car park. And as far as we could see there is no cafĂ© in the village, so no breakfast, just get on with the walk.
                            Longhoughton car park, behind the village community centre.
The whole of the walk is covered, just by OS Explorer 332, Alnwick and Amble but it is easy to follow and can be done without a map.
 We walked a few hundred yards south down the main street before turning left towards Low Stead Farm. There is a sign post, so it's easy to find. The lane goes down to the beach, the hedges on either side displayed an abundance of blackberries, early this year, but sweet.
                        The start of the Low Stead lane.
At the beach we opted for the footpath and headed north.
                The footpath just off the beach.
Not far up the path we came to Sugar Sands and Iron Scars, the latter at the mouth of the Howick Burn, the stream that comes down through woods from Howick Hall, home of the Grey family, tea flavourers.
There is a footbridge across the burn. On the south side, on the rocks, a freshwater spring empties into the sea, the low cliffs are a geologist's textbook.
                         Fresh water spring, bit of a dribble today
                      OOH look, sedimentary layers
                                   Howick Burn.
From here the footpath follows the cliff tops, passes the old coast guard cottage, now a holiday let and on to Craster.
                             First view of Dunstanburgh Castle
                               Coastguards Cottage.
Craster  (Old fort inhabited by crows)is famous for kippers, processed from herrings by smoking them. The small smoking shed is run by the Robinsons! (actually the Robsons but so near to being Smokey Robinson and the Miracles I couldn't resist being childish) The village has a fine pub, the Jolly Fisherman, noted for its crab sandwiches and fine cooking.
Being pensioners we found a bench overlooking the small harbour and called a Herbie Spot.
                        Craster harbour. The concrete block on the right pier was the terminal for a ropeway carrying stone from the local quarry.
We shared Titans, Snickers and cherrycake, washed down with tea or coffee. The real goodies will reappear when the team returns to full strength.

                                        Craster War Memorial.
Lunch over we chatted to the many visitors, some really enjoying the fine, warm day, some dragging their bored teenage offspring and many walking their dogs. We resumed the walk north, heading across the fields towards Dunstanburgh Castle.
No matter how many times I visit this ruin I am impressed. Run by the National Trust there is little left but the massive gateway, walls and the Lilburn Tower. Work started in 1314 under the direction of the Earl of Lancaster. Later John of Gaunt, who left his horse shoe at the corner of Market Street and Penny Street in Lancaster, held the castle.

                         Dunstanburgh Castle
                                       And the leaning tower of Lilburn
Beyond the castle the walk goes round the edge of Dunstanburgh Golf Course, beware of flying balls.

                      The path goes close to this fine example of an anticline. The oldest rocks are in the core and I could go on but..........................
                                                  WW2 pill box.
Beyond the golf course we walked down onto the sandy beach of Embleton Bay, school holidays, lots of children playing, as they should, building castles, digging moats and flying kites.
                                     Embleton Bay
                           One section of the beach had been invaded by jellyfish, so strong, according to Dave, they can stab through the  sole of your boot. I was very careful.
Shortly before Newton by the Sea (famous for its pub, the Ship, which always gets a mention in seaside places to eat in The Times, and it has a microbrewery) we crossed the dunes and had a look in the Newton Pond bird hides. A very quiet day, a couple of Grey Lags, a family of swans and a coot.

Following the markers for the Northumberland Coastal Path we walked round the south end of the pond and across the fields to Embleton. The footpath has been improved considerably, well grassed, well posted and easy to follow, right across a wheat field too!
                                                  Another pill box
                           Small animal house
                                          Friendly neighbours

In Embleton we headed for the Greys Inn, an excellent pub offering Alnwick Amber Ale, Revolvetry, Stella Spark, Giuseppe Lager and Black and Tan. As it was Dave's birthday he followed the gadgie tradition of buying everybody a drink. Unfortunately we only had time for one as we had to catch the bus back to Longhoughton.
Another good coastal walk in beautiful Northumberland. And it didn't rain at all.

                                                                         steps                                      miles
NAK                                                               27946                                     11.8
NAK 2, a new one                                          23183                                     11.5
iPhone                                                             23150                                     10.3
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                            10
Dave's 3D                                                       21827                                      10.04
  "" "" USB                                                     21591                                       10.56
  """ NAK                                                       20859                                       10.2

Contain OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2017

And some extra photographs from Harry