The weather forecast today was for a fine, blustery morning with rain in the late afternoon – probably around 4 or 5. We decided to walk up the coast from Alnmouth to Dunstanburgh Castle then on to Embleton to catch a bus back.
Mathew made a picnic and we set off at about 10am. Alnmouth was beautiful, with bright blue skies, sparkling sea and the wind sending sand streaming and skiming across the beach.
There were really very few other people about – some dog walkers and a runner running along the sand with her dog. We were walking north with the sea on our right and the sun mostly behind us. There’s a very well-marked coastal path and we used that or walked on sandy beaches or across rocks.
We went through or past Foxton, Boulmer, Howick, Craster then Dunstanburgh and Embleton. We walked about 14 miles when the bends and curves of the bays and promontories are taken into account. Zoly walked much further than that, of course – he was trotting backwards and forwards, zig-zagging from side to side, chasing after other dogs and paddling in the sea!
The coast heading towards Craster was really undulating with the basalt rock outcrop at Cullernose Point where tall linear stone columns juts out to the sea. The path was surrounded by gorse bushes with the most incredible bright yellow flowers. There were clumps of flowering daffodils and primroses too – making it very spring-like.
We stopped for lunch in Craster at about 2:00 and had a little look around the village – lots of pretty boats and smoke billowing out of the herring-curing sheds where ‘smoked kippers’ are produced.
Dunstanburgh Castle is magnificent – even though it it is ruined. It was built in the early fourteenth century on a cliff-top promontory and we could see it in the distance as we rounded headlands, then it would be hidden from view, only to reappear again, all the time getting larger and larger. The ruined gatehouse is one of the most striking features and was the largest of any British castle. The landward side of the castle was protected by large artificial lakes – meres – that have largely silted up now and are filled with boggy plants
When we arrived in Embleton, a bus was coming towards us – and even though we weren’t at a bus stop we signalled for it and the driver stopped for us, What a result! Zoly climbed on to our laps and fell asleep almost as soon as we were sat down.
Back at the cottage and Zoly needed a hose down before his dinner, which he didn’t particularly appreciate. After he’s eaten he fell asleep for he rest of the evening. He’ll have to have a quieter day tomorrow we think!