A week in Northumberland in mid October gave me a feast of sand, sea and sky. The weather was mild and dry, mostly sunny and maybe a bit blustery at times. Perfect walking and exploring weather.
This was the week before any half term so the beaches were often deserted. I had many fabulous walks with the open beach stretching ahead. Beautiful colours, spectacular coastal views, amazing expanses of sky and time to think and reflect. A rare treat.
The beaches along the Northumberland heritage coast are glorious and unspoilt. A few are still in fishing villages such as Boulmer and Craster, but the rest are deserted with no villages or habitation at all. Some are really only accessible on foot or have a small track to them with a tiny car park. The coastal path passes through so you can walk for miles along the coast, dipping down to different beaches as you pass. At low tide, you can walk between different bays for miles.
Sugar sands and Windy Warkworth
While I was in Northumberland, the UK experienced the tail-end of Hurricane Gonzalo and it was pretty windy along this coast. I walked to Sugar Sands, just north of Boulmer on the Sunday morning and the wind was fair whipping along the path, which was up on hillocks overlooking the sea. I had taken my new small flask with coffee in it and a sneaky Rolo chip biscuit and attempted to sit on the sands, which were completely deserted, to have a little drink and take in the view. Nice idea in principle but sand doesn’t go well in coffee and its not much fun eating a gritty biscuit while being sandblasted so I didn’t loiter.
The Sunday morning was bright and sunny and clear and this would be a great beach to come back to in summer to have a lazy picnic.
Funny how it looks so calm in the picture.
The next day, the Monday was exceptionally wild and I admit to having a PJ day and snuggling in the cottage with my crochet until mid afternoon. The wind abated then and I went for a local stroll just in Boulmer. Next day I made an effort to put in a much longer walk to make up for it, even though it was a bit drizzly.
Warkworth Castle looked very interesting when I passed it in the car but I never got round to doing any major castle visiting. The weather was so mild and kind that I never had a day that I needed to be out but inside. The beach at Warkworth was also massive. I had hoped to find some sea glass there but it was sandy and smooth with not even a pebble in sight. It was still pretty windy that day and the waves were bigger than they look in the pictures.
This last photo was my first ever attempt at a panaromic photo using my iphone. To take one of these you switch to panorama and then turn through 180 degrees while keeping the horizon line on the phone level with the real horizon.
My trip to Alnmouth was short, in the afternoon after a day mostly spent in Alnwick. It was about 4.30pm when I arrived there and I parked up by the golf course car park and set off through the path to the dunes. The beach here is massive, sandy and flanks the expanse of Alnmouth estuary.
This evening beach walk was lovely – a few more people about than in the day as locals were obviously taking the opportunity for a walk after work or after picking up the kids from school.
Tides make such a difference
The tidal times change every day by about half an hour so timing your walks becomes important. Often, after going somewhere else during the day, I sneaked out back onto Boulmer beach just before it got dark and often went out there first thing (well, about 10am… I was on hols after all). These were fabulous walks and the walks where I found a lot of my Boulmer sea glass. Very atmospheric too.