Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Wednesday 14th September

Woke up to blue skies and brilliant sunshine . . but still windy . .cant have it all. Now where did I put my sunglasses?
After a good breakfast, I took advantage of the weather and spent 30 minuets revisiting North Queensferry. Although small, and a largely forgotten village since the opening of the Forth road bridge, there is a lot to see and to explore.
One of the reasons I wanted to come here was for some research on the road bridge - for what purpose will be revealed soon . . .

On the road again now heading for Northumberland. The Borders countryside is still beautiful this time of year, and the farm fields are mostly harvested with giant rolls of wheat, some lying end to end like long golden conduits.

My friends Geoff and Roz (brother & sister) have given me some places to visit on my way down from Edinburgh - Geoff lives in Northumberland and loves the east coast.
Thank goodness, again, for my SatNav. Most of the small towns and villages I wanted to visit were miles off the beaten track, and I would surely have got lost, or wasted so much time finding them, I would have turned back.
Eyemouth is a lovely fishing port with a good fleet of boats and an important fishing community. I even spotted by first seal in the harbour waters (see pics).
The larger town of Berwick was easier to find. It is an old market town and is still very busy with tourists and locals. I spent a pleasant hour wandering around the old town wall walk, and photographing its three historic bridges.
I had high hopes of visiting Holy Island off the coast, but my timing was not good. The high tide was due in within the hour, which would not have given me time to explore this fascinating refuge. I had heard tales of people being stranded for hours until the next low tide, and worst still, cars being half submerged trying the escape the rising tide. I will return one day and plan my visit carefully.
A few miles further south, but by no means a direct route, was Craster. My SatNav took me through miles of narrow country roads, turning left, then right, and left again - I thought she had gone mad (sorry, all SatNavs are female). I eventually arrived at the village of Craster, where I was directed to the main car park - it was packed full!!! Where had all these people come from? I had hardly seen a sole on the rollercoaster journey here, but now it seems the whole world is here.
The attraction is two-fold. You have miles of beautiful country walks and sandy beach walks, plus the popular National Trust attraction of Dunstanburgh Castle. (thanks Roz for warning me of the mile walk from the car park - not).
It may be a spectacular ruin of a castle, but hugely popular. I walked (almost) to it, but time was getting the better of me, so I had to be satisfied with some photos. The walk was very bracing Roz.
I am staying in a quaint B&B in Morpeth, and had arranged to meet Geoff for a pint and chat, and thank him for all the help and information he had provided. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours chatting and sharing stories of the locality in a very nice pub, selling good local real ale, and could have continued all evening, except he is heading ‘down south’ in the morning to collect his daughter from the airport.
I still had to eat, and had noticed a smart looking pub/tapas bar on my way into town. Not all English Tapas bars are good - they are either too expensive, or serve too large a portion. I selected just two dishes, slow cooked belly of pork with an orange marinade, and a tortilla with pimentos. Yes, the portions were larger than in Spain, but not unmanageable. The price was also reasonable, and together with a glass of good Rioja, I reflected on a very pleasant evening.

Tomorrow is my last day, and night, on my ‘road trip’. I plan to visit Whitby, and will be spending the night with my friends Mike & June near Grantham.

I hope you can put up with me for one more day . . .


  1. Glad you enjoyed Northumberland and my bro's company. He's heading my way tomorrow via Fulham FC with Nick, Nick G, Helen and Fin to watch the Europa cup game, and then to Gatwick to pick up Laura. I've never done the walk to Dunstanburgh without it being bracing!! That's the NE coast for you. Safe journey home.

  2. Enjoyed meeting up David. We'll do it again when you return - you are coming back aren't you? So much more to see! Glad you enjoyed your taster.