My general impression of England, or at least Northumberland, and those 12 miles of Scotland through which I walked last Sunday, is that it is in bloom:
Days walked: five
Distance walked: 80.5 miles, or 129 km.
Blisters created: a matched pair, one for each foot
People met through walking:
The St Cuthbert’s Way: 6
The Northumberland Coastal path: 1
The St Oswald’s Way: maybe 2; they were on a link between the St Oswald’s Way and the St Cuthbert’s Way, and I didn’t speak with them.
I should like to note that all of these were going the opposite direction, south to north, and so were the two cycle tourists I met near Howick, and so were almost all the dog walkers, ramblers, and day trippers out and about on the coast.
Castles seen: 6 1/2
Berwick — the half, as I think I may have walked over its castle, but didn’t actually notice, as it’s mostly in ruins.
Lindisfarne on the Holy Island, visible for over a day’s walking:
Bamburgh, once seat of a kingdom:
Dunstanburgh, superbly atmospheric as the rain closed in:
Warkworth, superbly golden in the sunlight as the rain finally cleared a day later:
Alnwick, the second-largest inhabited castle in England, seat of the Dukes of Northumberland for many centuries after they left Warkworth, setting for the Harry Potter movies, and generally impress
Hazards avoided, despite the temptations to do something stupid so have a good story for late . . .
– Falling off a cliff, at St Abbs Head at the beginning —
— or along the shore near Craster later in the week:
– Being hit by a flying golf ball, in numerous places:
– or falling off looking for a golf ball, like these intrepid golfers in Scotland:
– Becoming stranded on a refuge crossing to Lindisfarne:
– Being chased by a bull in any of several fields near Bamburgh:
– although I did do a little dance with a herd of bullocks in a field, who didn’t know whether to run at me or away from me, so did both:
– being dive-bombed by notoriously territorial arctic terns nesting on the beach at Beadnell Bay:
– being eaten by a dragon:
– Being drowned or otherwise seriously invonvenienced at hte Aln Estuary,
which required an hour’s diversion to cross the river and come back down the other side.
views of the Farne Islands,
St Cuthbert’s Cave,
collecting some coals to take to Newcastle,
and adding my inukshuk to the cairns on the WWII anti-tank concrete blocks on the beach near Warkworth:
A splendid first week. Only two days of rain, one of them a series of squalls and the other steady drizzle, the rest mostly cloudy with few gladdening moments of sun. And now, just as my feet are starting to toughen and my shoulders to bear the pack happily, I am off to the Scottish Borders for a week on a small sheep farm.