I spent last weekend up on the Northumberland coast, staying in the small harbour village of Seahouses. It was my first visit to the county and I loved it. After arriving via a drive through the Scottish Borders, I settled in for three nights in a comfortable little cottage just a two or three minute walk from the little fishing harbour.
After unpacking, I went for a walk along the nice sandy beach between Seahouses and Bamburgh, nearly up to the castle, under a lovely clear sky and bright autumn sun. Once darkness has fallen, I returned to the beach for a nocturnal run along the sand – running under clearly visible Milky Way was pretty special (and beats pounding the streets where I live).
After a pre-breakfast walk around the harbour, watching the sun rise on a freezing cold dawn, I spent the day watching for wildlife. I first headed out to Bamburgh and the sea front to watch for sea duck and purple sandpipers and then went off to spend the rest of the daylight hours on Holy Island. The tide times were just about perfect with the causeway open from 11:00 until well after darkness had fallen. I had long walk around the island, visiting the village, castle and beaches (unfortunately, the castle was under a mound of scaffolding). As I returned to Seahouses in the evening, there was a starling murmuration over the town, the first I’ve seen this year and a nice highlight to end the day.
After another pre-breakfast walk, the next day I had a long wander along the coast to the south. I started at Embleton and walked north up to Beadnell and then turned back and headed to Dunstanburgh Castle. It was an incredibly windy day with speeds of 30mph and guts of over 40mph. Walking northwards into the headwind was difficult but sideways on to the wind walking was almost impossible. By the end of the day I knew what sandblasting felt like. I spent dusk at the harbour at Beadnell, on a lovely shallow beach with the waves coming crashing in forced on by the still strong wind.
I had a final dawn walk around the village before setting off home after an all too short stay. The Northumberland coast in autumn is a place of stark beauty. Under clear skies with the low sun there is a warmth to the light but when the weather closes in, its a harsh and battling place. The countryside is low and rolling and the beaches wide, shallow with soft light sands all providing a backdrop to the hard walls of numerous castles.
This was my first visit but it won’t be my last – Northumberland is on my list for a return trip.