A final few words on Northumberland

The river Aln monster?

The river Aln monster?

As this is my blog, I can do whatever I want. So I wanted to close with a few thoughts on the part of the world. It’s also an excuse to post a few images I had no other use for, but wanted to share.

Recklessly abandoned?

Recklessly abandoned?

It’s been a good twenty years since I last spent any real time in this area, and three days just wasn’t enough. Not just in that general sense that no holiday is ever long enough (you only get into the rhythm of relaxing after three days anyway), but because the overload of things I immediately wanted to do was too much.

I always like to give credit where credit is due, so The Sun Inn, Alnmouth deserves a mention for providing a great Bed and Breakfast base, and a fine Friday night steak night. Special mention also to Hooked in Alnmouth which provided a truly outstanding meal on our final night. I should also say we managed the entire trip on public transport with no issues, so a thumbs up to the rail network, and to the Arriva X18.

Alnmouth was a friendly town, we even ended up at a preview of a new exhibition of works by Ken Spencer at the Old School Gallery, an unexpected but welcome bonus.


The Aln estuary

The coast is officially an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and deservedly so. Like the coast around Morecambe Bay, you have that sense of open space, of wide skies dropping into the sea. It removes the feeling of claustrophobia modern town and city life can give you. You maybe don’t even realise it till you get out of it.

Alnwick Castle

Alnwick Castle

I’ve always found the coast appealing. Not ‘the seaside’ so much as the wilder environs. It’s hard work. Climbing the loose sand of the dunes is like a gym session. Added to which the grasses that thrive here have to be tough, spiky enough to puncture the skin. Those open skies tend to bring forth strong winds off the sea that batter and chill regardless of the sun. Some of the more interesting sections are rocky and require careful traversing if you want to explore.

The Alnwick Gardens

The Alnwick Gardens, a tame environment, but striking

But it’s a good kind of work. It adds to the feeling of somewhere a little less tame. It also means the rewards, be it a great view or an insight into another world through the window of a rock pool, are that bit greater.

So I now find myself drawn back inexorably to an area I’d forgotten I love. I want to see Lindisfarne and the Farne Islands and then down the coast through Bamburgh, Seahouses, Beadnell Bay, Craster, Dunstanburgh, Boulmer, Alnmouth, Warkworth and Amble.

Warkworth Castle, from Amble Harbour

Warkworth Castle, from Amble Harbour

I want to see those monuments to medieval intrigue, the great castles of the North.

I want the dunes, the sea, but more importantly the space and the air and the room to breathe. I’m sure I’ll be back again soon. For sure it won’t be another twenty years.

Poppies amongst the dunes Alnmouth, May 2015

Poppies amongst the dunes
Alnmouth, May 2015

This entry was posted in Biology, Birds, England, Green exercise, Why watch wildlife? and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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