Tuesday 23 May
Wy Aye Marras ! Which for Teresa’s benefit is the northern equivalent of Ay Up Mi Ducks !
We set off today for a quick jaunt into the wilds of County Durham And Northumberland where it is forecast to be really warm and sunny for the next 4-5 days.
Setting off after breakfast we travel north up the A1 and arrive in County Durham at the working museum of Beamish around 11.20
There are several sections of Beamish –
1900’s Beamish Town and Railway
1860’s Pockerley Old Hall and Waggonway
1900’s Mining Village
To get round there are a couple of trams and buses that traverse the roughly circular route around the museum park
The museum is really very good and all the cast members are dressed in authentic clothing and are very well versed on what is going on in the part that they are situated. We visited all areas over the next 5 hours trying to cram as much in as possible.
We stayed there until chucking out time at 5.00 and then headed into Northumberland where we stopped the night in the car park for Vindolanda which is the ruins of a Roman Fort that we intend to visit tomorrow morning
Wednesday 24 May
Usually we laugh at all these anal retentive people who have to have the motorhome perfectly levelled on their blocks thinking why bother with all that fuss?
Unfortunately the Vindolanda car park sloped down and sideways as well so after suffering the blood rushing to my head for an at least an hour I couldn’t stand it any more and gave up leaving the bed to lay on the settee in the lounge area of “Cis”.
We hadn’t packed any spare sheets so I lay clothed under a thin fleece and had a very restless sleep tossing and turning and waking early with the cows mooing and birds singing the dawn chorus. Don’t you just hate the countryside !!
After breakfast we visited Vindolanda. This was pretty interesting as well with the accompanying museum showing artefacts that had been unearthed here. Archaeologists are still working here and it is estimated it will take another 200 years before it is fully excavated. That’s what you call a job for life !
Moving on from Vindolanda, we parked nearby at Housesteads Roman fort which we have visited on a previous trip with “Cis”. This time we forgo looking at the remains and headed onto Hadrian’s Wall heading West for a few miles until we reached Sycamore Gap. This is a break in the wall with probably the most photographed tree in the world situated. It was even in the film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves although then it was supposed to be somewhere near Nottingham on Kevin Coster’s route up from Dover. Obviously his Sat Nav was out a bit !
Feeling somewhat bushed, we then drove further up the Great North road which is now pretty much the A1 until we reached Bamburgh which has an ancient castle and a spectacular beach rivaling some of the best in the world ( albeit probably one of the coldest seas to go with it ! )
Bamburgh is also the place where Grace Darling came from. She was a lighthouse keepers daughter who saw from her window a ship, The Forfarshire founder on the Farne Islands. She and her father rescued 5 people in a small rowing boat. She is buried in the churchyard in Bamburgh
In desperate need of refreshment we visited the Lord Crewe Inn, one of the 3 pubs in Bamburgh and had a beautiful meal. Jane had Seafood Linguini and I had baked Hake with prawns. Both were gorgeous and quickly followed by Sticky Toffee Sponge and Sticky Ginger Sponge.
Weebling out of the pub we decided a short walk around the village was in order to help digest the old dinner before locking ourselves away from the dark back at “Cis”
Thursday 25 May
Happy Birthday Polly !
Having had a much better sleep last night and utilised the earplugs to drown out the early morning chorus of crows and friends, we had breakfast and then walked down to the beach which is stunning and would make many beaches throughout the world weep with envy.
Following on from our walk we visited the castle which sits imposing on a large rock outcrop above the beach. It can be seen from miles around as it is generally flat for the surrounding area.
The original fort was built in 490 BC And has had a number of different forms throughout the ages and the walls have been breached a number of times beginning with the Vikings in 993. The Normans were next and built the original stone castle which forms the basis of the building today. In 1464 it fell during the Wars of the Roses.
One of the later occupants was the Victorian industrialist William Armstrong who apart from being a rich Lord was also brilliant engineer and invented many things such as the Hydraulics for the Tower of London. Much of his inventions were military equipment such as the Armstrong Breech loading gun. The castle is still owned by the Armstrong family.
Leaving Bamburgh castle behind we head along the coast road passing Seahouses and reach our next destination at a fantastic Caravan Club CL. This is newly built with the usual waste and water points costing £ 16 per night Including electricity. This is at a place called Christon Bank and the CL is called Pippins Park.
The owner John is a very cheerful chappy and having informed us that the pub in the village has stopped doing food, offers to drive us to a nearby village where he highly recommends the pub there as doing good grub.
Having taken up Johns gracious offer we had a lovely meal at the Joiners Arms in Newton by the Sea.
The Fish and chips are to die for but be prepared for a mini whale ! Jane chose Game Casserole & Cobbler.
The weather has been superb today and we have both ended up with slightly red bits which we didn’t expect having used sunscreen and been inside the castle for a good part of the day.
Tomorrow is expected to be full sunshine again so we are planning on setting off fairly early walking to Dunstanburgh castle before we get too hot.
Friday 26 May
We set off at 9.00 across the fields direct from our mini camp site and it takes us about 45 minutes to reach the Dunstanburgh Castle Golf club where we pause for a breakfast before continuing on along the beautiful beach until we reach the castle. I do my David Bailey impression for a half hour whilst Jane catches up on the news by reading the paper in a nice sheltered spot. The Sun is very hot but there is a really strong wind blowing which can be chilly out of the sun.
We reach the castle and enter for free as we are National Trust members. I would not bother to go if you are not a member because there is not a lot left of the ruins of the Castle. Save your £4.95 and get yourself a pint somewhere.
Having spent a couple of hours here looking around and more photo opportunities we head off back arriving in Embleton, where by now it is lunchtime and so we stop off in the beautiful beer garden of the Dunstanburgh Castle Inn to catch our breath.
Suitably refreshed we return to “Cis” and sit for a while in the sun before being informed there are Red Squirrel in the wood behind the camp site. We enter the wood and get severe neck strain looking up into the canopy of the trees in search of the ever elusive Squirrels. Finally we manage to spot one but trying to frame one in the camera is definitely a skill I have yet to master !. I manage to sort of get two images where you could be persuaded to imagine that they are of a Squirrel but the majority are just a red blur which could have been the local Postman zooming by on his Vespa. Methinks the title of Wildlife Photographer of the year is pretty much safe in somebody else’s clammy hand for this year !!
Tonight we elect to eat in with a nice Salmon supper and catch the last few rays of sunshine before calling it a night and chilling back inside “Cis” before bedtime.
Saturday 27 May
No messing about today. We simply have breakfast, dump the waste, juice up with diesel and head home. We have a couple of minor queues on the way down but are glad we are not heading North today as the traffic looks a bitch ! We arrive back around 3.00
That’s it for this adventure but we go to France for 3 weeks setting off on the 22nd June. Catch up with us then as we propose to do a bit more exploring and revisiting of old favourites in the Dordogne.
Take Care P & J xx