Off again on our travels, Pod has so changed our days off, she’s a blessing and when we get where we’re going once she’s set up, chairs out, and kettle on, it’s a deep intake of breath and relax. She provides us with a great release from the daily turmoil of life today.
This time we were heading to Beadnell Bay, Northumberland for four nights away, the coast is spectacular and one of our favourite places in England. It was roughly a 3 ½ hr drive for us to Beadnell Bay Caravan and Camping Club site and we wouldn’t be allowed on site till after 1pm so we set off at 9.30 in the hope of arriving around that time.
Weather wasn’t great, a little overcast threatening rain and the forecast didn’t look brilliant but we had our fingers crossed for a few days of dry weather, we didn’t expect sunshine, that would be too much, but dry days please. Traffic wasn’t great either, with road works just past Leeds it was moving very slowly and traffic coming in the opposite direction was at a standstill, something to bear in mind for the return journey.
We arrived just before 2pm and we had the choice of 3 pitches, all were near the entrance and facilities so we picked a pitch which backed onto a wall and gave a great view down and over the rest of the site.
Soon had Pod set up and just in time because the sky darkened and the heavens opened as promised, always get that right don’t they, never get the promised sun but always guaranteed the rain. Watching the sky we waited for a brighter spot and grabbed the moment for a walk along the beach, we could smell the sea air and seaweed from the site and the draw was too much, we couldn’t wait to get onto the sand.
On the way out of the of the site we saw a cute little car in the main carpark, couldn’t resist taking a picture as we passed but across the road we went and were soon through the two gates and onto the beach, there were a few people pottering about and a small group were intent on putting up a gazebo. Considering the looming weather forecast of a heavy downpour and high winds we admired their positivity and determination.
Don’t know what it is about being up a mountain or walking along a coastline but within minutes of starting either of these the weight of the world ‘so to speak’ just drops off, hand in hand we slowed our pace and took in deep long breathes of glorious fresh air as we walked in the direction of Beadnell Village. The sea was on its way in so we didn’t have long but we didn’t hurry with our pre dinner stroll, we passed curlews at the waters edge and seagulls in flight making themselves known with their intermittent screeching.
It started to rain but we carried on a little further and passed a row of houses, the backs of which looked out onto the beach and at the rear of one of these we saw the strangest looking scarecrow, or in this case ‘scaregull’, eerie looking thing and not something you’d want to discover on an moonlight walk.
The rain quickened its tempo as did we on our walk back, we passed those with the gazebo who by now were huddled together and sat around a small campfire, we wished them luck and we made it back to Pod before the heavens opened.
Pod came into her own as usual, keeping us warm and dry whilst dinner cooked, the wind was picking up but the awning remained where we’d secured it and we soon sat down to steak, stir-fry and a nicely chilled beer, after which we caught up on the days Olympic events at which we were doing extremely well. Tiredness began to fall on us and the showers soon beckoned, they and the utility block didn’t disappoint, clean and tidy with hot and very welcoming showers.
Woke Saturday morning to glorious sunshine, rain had passed us through the night and the wind had dropped, it looked like a promise of a good day ahead but the weather forecast said different so a decision was made to drive into Alnwick and try and find MrB some light weight walking shoes, you know, those for pottering around sightseeing, not that pottering around is something we do a great deal of, we try it but a short walk usually turns into a bit of a trek.
Market day was on but we managed to find a free car park tucked away on one of the side streets and after checking out a few of the outdoor shops we found ourselves in Granets who had a sale on, brilliant. Their range wasn’t extensive but fortune would have it a particular pair of Merells caught MrB’s eye and they had his size in, they were tried on and the fit was perfect, obviously meant to be weren’t they so they were bought and worn from that moment on.
Tummies were rumbling and a location for lunch was now sought, we passed a few cafés and pubs but we found ourselves outside a café we had visited last year, food had been good then so we walked in to give it another go this year.
Caffe Tirreno is a small Italian restaurant, calling it a café doesn’t do it justice, it has roughly 12 tables and is decorated as most places of this nature are but the food is incredible. Reasonable priced and good sized portions, all cooked fresh so we expected to wait and this was explained to us. Calzone, chips and Bruschetta ai Funghi were ordered and it all went down very well, we’re a little wary of making recommendations but this place is excellent and when in the area it is in danger of becoming a regular haunt of ours.
We had a wonder round the local shops and eventually made our way back to the car and drove the short distance back to Pod, the rain held off so we couldn’t resist another stroll along the beach, we had plans to meet friends in Seahouses for dinner so we needed something to work off lunch and start an appetite for later.
The tide was on its way out so we set off up the beach towards Seahouses and the golf course. For a Saturday the beach wasn’t too busy, lots of people, including locals were out with their dogs for their afternoon constitutional, living here is definitely the life for dogs, never mind their human owners.
The weather was changing again, large dark clouds were moving in our direction and the wind was picking up, we made it back to Pod just before the heavens opened. Weather forecast looked awful and we were slap bang in the middle of it.
Torrential rain pounded down on Pod and the wind howled attempting to pull the awning away from Pod but the temperature didn’t change, it was very mild so we expected thunderstorms too. We were buffeted around by the wind but Pod and the awning stayed exactly were we had pegged them.
People and their holidays homes were still arriving, the weather was not the best for setting up and we watched as two people arrived on a motorbike with a very wet tent secured to the back, after checking in one rode to the pitch whilst the other trudged on slowly behind, we can only imagine how demoralising it must have felt.
Time came to make our way to Seahouses as we’d arranged to meet friends at Bamburgh Castle Hotel, we’d eaten there before, good food and atmosphere and with the right people we were in for a good night.
Parked in the main carpark on the front, paid £2 for up to four hours of parking and walked the short distance to the pub, we were the first there so bought drinks which were a little expensive, large glass of Coke and a pint of San Miguel £7.00.
The reserved table was pointed out to us and we sat looking out of the window down onto the pier and waited for the others to arrive, the sea was extremely choppy and the lighthouse off in the distance could just about be seen as the white water leaped around it as if dancing with arms outstretched attempting to envelope it with every move.
Didn’t have to wait long and they arrived with a variety of dogs in tow, once everyone was settled, including the dogs the evening began. Food was great, steak and ale pie for Mr.B and Mushroom linguine for LB, the company was of course the absolute best.
The following morning brought blue skies and a breeze that barely raised the site flag from its position against the pole. The sun was coming up over the beach and after breakfast we decided to get the map out and see what walks were on offer.
Decision was made to kit up with our rucksacks and walk from the site southwards along the beach in the direction of Dustanburgh Castle, the plan wasn’t to reach the castle but walk in its direction and take in the sights along the way, if we did reach it, it would be an added bonus, but it wasn’t the aim, it’s a beautiful coastline so we knew it wouldn’t disappoint. Weather looked really promising so a picnic was packed as we new along the way we’d find somewhere perfect to pitch.
Breakfast dishes washed and put away when a passing Motorhomer called by, a discussion took place around the weather we’d had and she commented on how our awning had stayed put throughout as she had the same awning and hers hadn’t. We ushered her into the awning and soon had her stood on Pods step examining our handy work around the sewn on beading and provided her with the details she needed to do the same. She seemed pleased enough but we’re sure as she stepped into the awning she must of thought.. can I trust these two? Needless to say she survived and we may have even converted her to a Pod way of life, who knows.
Lunch made, we soon hit the road and started our walk along the Northumberland coastal Path, also known as St. Oswald’s Way. 103 kilometres long but even we knew this wasn’t a one day thing, even for us and our ‘short walks’.
The walk started along the road and led us to Beadnell Bay beach and its carpark which was 2/3rds full and as we walked along the path through the dunes the beach and the sea opened up and greeted us, along with families and groups of all shapes and sizes, dogs and the odd boat too, the sun is an incredible thing, as soon as it made an appearance it brought everyone out in their droves. Yesterday it had been quiet on the beach, hardly a soul to be seen, today, deckchairs, windbreakers, laughter and games, brilliant. Only question we had was where had they all been hiding.
Off in the distance we could see Dunstanburgh Castle, it’s ruins looked black against the skyline, almost metallic and twisted. Eventually we left the beach and took a path over a wooden bridge and along the dunes, this brought us to Low-Newton-by-the-sea, very picturesque tiny village on the shoreline of the beach, all the properties looked onto a perfectly manicured lawn and within the row of cottages was The Ship Inn which appeared to be very popular in deed.
We continued along the beach and maybe it was the sight of people sat outside the pub enjoying their lunch but we decided to seek out a spot on the dunes offering the best view of the coastline and tuck into our sandwiches.
The dunes protected us from the breeze, the only reminder of its presence were the tall thin reeds swaying around us as we lay in the warm soft sand, the sun too added to the warmth and if we had laid there much longer we could easily of dozed off.
The sea was on its way in as we passed dog walkers and people running from their beach lodges with surf boards and the odd dinghy, determined to grab the last few minutes on the sea before it swallowed the beach and it’s easy access points through the rocks..
The castle itself was getting nearer but was still some distance away, we weren’t sure what distance we had covered but we knew we had at least another hour in front of us if we wanted to reach the castle. Time and tide wasn’t on our side so we decided to turn and head back to Pod, this wouldn’t be our last visit to this side of the English coast and the castle would get a visit, one day.
Our path took us the same route back, we walked by people we’d seen earlier, some flaked out on beach towels, others hidden in their little section of sand cordoned off by their windbreakers, all winding down and not quite so full of energy as when we first passed.
We eventually reached the site and Pod and after de-kitting we discovered we’d covered a round trip of 10 miles, it’s always a surprise to find out how far we’ve walked but the aching muscles the following day never are.
Dinner was eaten with the awning open and whilst watching the sun go down people passing by would tentatively side step in our direction, they’d offer a variety of greetings but it would always end with a peek in Pod. We never minded, people are curious about what’s inside and are always surprised to find out how well kitted out she and we are.
Bed soon beckoned and we soon fell asleep thinking about what the following day held.
Monday arrived and as we weren’t in any particular rush we lazed in bed with a cup of tea catching up with the news and weather forecast on the TV. Looked like a clear day ahead and one of our Facebook followers had suggested a boat trip to the Farne Isles, today seemed the perfect day for it so off we went to Seahouses to investigate.
Parking paid for we scoured the various huts that lined the side of the pier offering boat trips to and around the Farne Isles, all much the same but with slightly different wording so it took us a while to find what we were looking for.
We eventually settled on Golden Gate Boat Trips as they stated they were the only boat licensed by Trinity House to land on Longstone and tour inside Grace Darling’s Lighthouse, this seemed to be the case after reading all the other information boards so it was a done deal for £13.00 each and £2.00 to go inside the lighthouse.
We had a little time to spare before the boat went out so as it was lunchtime we went to The Bunker for local fish and chips, they were amazing, huge fish and delicious chips, batter wasn’t too thick and melted in your mouth, as did the chips once bitten through the crunchy outer layer.
Quick trawl round the gift shops and it was time to head to the boat, we waited at the end of the pier not sure what we had let ourselves in for as out at sea just beyond the entrance to the harbour were 3 boats, we did our best to read their names but we had to wait until they took their turn to come into the harbour, we weren’t disappointed, she was called Golden Gate as the literature stated and looked more than capable of handling the trip, have to say we were glad it wasn’t raining as she was open from bow to stern.
On we all poured and we sat on the right, starboard ( get us with the lingo 😉 ), didn’t count everyone on but there were at least 30 of us and we weren’t crammed in.
Out to sea we went, wasn’t choppy, the sun was out and we soon had sight of the islands. George the pilot was very knowledgeable and provided us with all the relevant information, he covered the seal and bird population, the local communities who no longer live on the islands and of course Grace Darling and her family.
Seals were spectacular, lazing around on the waters edge, every now and then waking long enough to look in our direction or popping up from the water not too far from the boat, this inevitably had the majority of people jumping up from their seats in an attempt to catch that elusive close up picture. As you can see LB got a little carried away but they were incredible.. can you spot the bird photo bombing 😉
The spectacular image of the lighthouse soon came into view, sat on the rocks edge in calm waters and blue skies really didn’t do it justice, saying that we didn’t want to be out there under any other conditions.
The boat coasted towards the landing deck and once moored up we were soon all out and walking along the stone path towards the lighthouse. We paid our £2.00 and once through the wooden gate turned right into the building itself. Considering the external size and height of the building it was surprising how small the interior was. The circular rooms on each floor accessed by the narrow steep stairwell that wound its way from top to bottom was easy enough going up but coming down heads and feet had to be watched as one false move could have resulted in an injury or embarrassing tumble.
After half an hour we were guided back to the boat and once all onboard the trip back to Seahouses harbour began, we said goodbye to the seals and before we knew it we were pulling into the harbour to disembark. It had been a thoroughly enjoyable few hours and would recommend it, weather dependant of course.
The glorious weather stayed with us and dinner was eaten with the back of the awning open watching the sun go down on a great few days away. Weather hadn’t been at its best but we never let that stop us from getting out and about too much.
Time had come for our last walk along the beach, so peaceful and quiet, our batteries sufficiently recharged until our next adventure we slowly walked back to Pod and settled into her for our last night.