Castles & Beaches – Exploring the Northumbrian Coast

It was a patch work weekend, weather-wise, and we tried to make the most of the nice weather while it was around. The rolling grey clouds never seemed far enough away to stop caring about them completely.

As we were finding our B&B and a pub for dinner the previous night we passed, a number of times, Bamburgh Castle, an impressive fortress built up on the rocks, right on the edge of the sea, in the village of Bamburgh. It is a formidable structure even now and I can only imagine the status and respect it must have demanded from the local community at the time. As we were faced with a rainy morning we decided to seize the opportunity of some shelter and learn a bit more about Bamburgh’s history.

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We learnt about the castle’s beginnings, from back before it was even a castle – who it was passed to, seized by, battled over and bequeathed to over the years of its significance in British history. It has a long and interesting past which we were able to find out a bit about, made all the more captivating by its wonderful location. Even on a grey day they views from the courtyard over the sea were lovely. It was quiet first thing and we were able to explore all the nooks and crannies of the courtyard, there is nothing better than being able to clamber all over a castle!

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Heading inside offered a whole host of artefacts from varying time periods, there is a much to look at, for me, however, it was the architecture that grabbed my attention. Great stone halls, small winding staircases and rugged cellars piqued my interest as we explored the expanse of the place. It is a privately owned attraction, the family owning and working on one of the large farms nearby. The curation of its collections did not strike me as spectacular but I thoroughly enjoyed looking around and learning about the place nonetheless.

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Upon leaving, the weather had changed and there was some blue sky visible, not much – but enough to make a walk on the beach completely plausible. Just below the castle is a huge stretch of yellow sand that we decided to go for a wander along, it was still breezy and grey but nice to be outside in the fresh air. To get to the beach you first have to cross a distance of sand dunes, here the sand was dry, not reached by the tide, rising and falling steeply and covered in long grasses. It always surprises me how hard it is to walk uphill on dry sand, it takes a lot of extra effort! Getting to the beach, the tide was going out and the sand was still wet as we walked along, our footsteps leaving gloopy footprints in our wake.

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We walked and talked, and at one point me and my dad decided to go for a run – trying to avoid, but failing and splashing through, the shallow puddles as we went… big kids. Every metre or so there would be a small pile of spaghetti like sand and about 30cm away from each of these was a perfect circle, tiered dip in the sand. Every now and again as we walked closer to them we would noticed the sand spaghetti being pushed out of the ground and wriggling up on the surface – we even tried to dig as this happened to see if we could catch a glimpse of whatever it was, but they were much to quick for us and the holes would fill up with water almost instantly. We later found out they were lugworms, moving deeper on our approach and pushing sand out of the holes behind them!

We ambled until we found some rocks, raised up out of the sand, having a nosey in the pools, and finding very little, we noticed the weather was on the turn again. Big dark clouds appeared over the water just a short way out, you could see the misty rain falling and they were heading in our direction. We decided to make haste and head back! We quickened our pace on the way back and made it back to the car before the rains came in. And after pleasant exploration of Bamburgh through its castles and beaches, we were ready to move on to our next destination.

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