It’s been a busy year, what with welcoming a new member of the family (our puppy, Zoly) and our wedding – we didn’t get around to having any kind of holiday in 2014. We even managed to get married without having a honeymoon, (which Matthew wasn’t very pleased about – I mean the lack of honeymoon, not the marriage, obviously!). But we’re putting that right now – we did some research and came across a lovely cottage near Alnmouth in Northumberland. The owners of the ‘Huffy House’ (more on the name later) allow guests to bring their dogs and it’s situated close to a railway station that we could get to direct from Bristol (the Plymouth to Glasgow train stops at Alnmouth!). We’re booked in for a week and decided that as Zoly hasn’t learned to travel by bicycle yet (he will, of course) that we’d make this trip on foot.
We travelled from Bristol to Newcastle on Friday. It was going to be Zoly’s longest train journey, so we both took turns to walk him – Matthew at 6am out along the Towpath and through Greville Smyth Park then back for breakfast and out again with me to make sure that he was tired and ‘wrung out’ before we settled on the train. The poor thing, he was playing with some doggy friends in Victoria Park – running and chasing and wearing himself out – and I shooed him away from the dog bowl outside the café.
We’d arranged to stay our friends Michelle and Catherine and Iain in Newcastle so that we could get to Alnmouth on Saturday afternoon. They have an absolutely beautiful Weimaraner called Poppy and we wondered how Zoly and Poppy would get on when they met. We needn’t have worried – Zoly was beside himself with excitement when they met and was entranced by her all evening and the next morning. He was constantly wanting to play with her, chasing about, doing a bit of showing off and following her about wherever she went. Poppy is four years old and was very capable of handling herself.
On Saturday morning we took Zoly and Poppy for a walk on the Newcastle Town Moor and into Exhibition Park and then to a café in Northumberland Street (Poppy’s first visit there) – the dogs had a wonderful time on the moor – sniffing and chasing each other. We tuned heads wherever we went – two men with two extremely stylish dogs was a bit of a give-away! Lots of people asked us what kind of dogs we had and would smile and say something like: “Beautiful dogs” as we passed.
After we’d walked the dogs we returned Poppy and headed to Central Station for our train to Alnmouth. We arrived at the station with six minutes to spare… so while Matthew bought our tickets Mike asked at the information desk where the Alnmouth train was going – “Platform two to Edinburgh”. So we went to platform two and there was a train waiting – destination Edinburgh. We just made it – it left Newcastle almost as soon
as we got on – which made us think that perhaps something wasn’t right – it departed sooner than we thought it should. True enough the announcer on the train said we were on the Edinburgh train, next stop Morpeth then
Dunbar! Argh!! I ran up and down the train to find the train manager to check if the train really wasn’t stopping at Alnmouth (and to see if they could be persuaded to stop there since they were passing through), no – and no – we had to get off at Morpeth, run over to the other platform and return to Newcastle to try again
Eventually we made it and finding the house was easy – and it’s in a wonderful setting at the top of a grassy ridge, with views to the Lesbury Railway Viaduct and on towards Boulmer and over to Alnmouth.
Michelle had made some soup for us (Thank-you Michelle – you were a super-star!), so we didn’t have to worry about getting any shopping in and once we’d unpacked and eaten we went for a lovely evening stroll to the sea.
So here we are on the North East coast between Newcastle and Berwick – about a mile from Alnmouth and three miles from Alnwick. We’re planning to do lots of walking with Zoly – up the coast, visit Alnwick, Cragside, Bamburgh, maybe Lindisfarne. We’ll keep you posted.