A Bit Back Down Country - Seahouses
To finish off our time in the land of our forebears (most of them) we headed to Seahouses, a quirky little town with a quirky name on the wild and picturesque Northumberland Coast. The area is chockers full of castles and stories of invasion - viking and Scottish. On our way we called into Dunbar on the scottish side of the border, itself with some impressive castle ruins. Another stop, just across the border, was an old favourite, Berwick upon Tweed for some viaduct loving at the Royal Border Bridge and Spittal Beach to contemplate the surf conditions in the North Sea.
Our reason for coming to Seahouses was to attempt to get to Staple Island for some Puffin loving. Sadly this wasn't to be due to the wild weather. Tuesday too wet, Wednesday too windy, Thursday too wet and windy, Friday too far away! There was a sniff of puffins in the air at Needle's Eye, a coastal rock formation a (short) walk along the cliff tops near Berwick. Ten squillion steps later we'd returned from Needle's Eye without sighting any puffins, enraging the odd golfer or two and walking through knee-high wet grass into the whipping wind (it wasn't that windy before we got to the cliff tops) - repeat! It was spectacular and we did see Razorbills, a near relative of the elusive puffin, and a new type of gull called a Fulmar - it doesn't take much to please some people!
As I mentioned there are plenty of castles and ruins to explore on the Northumbrian coast so we also included a little castling on our itinerary.The three biggies are Lindisfarne, Bamburgh and Alnwick. Lindisfarne is wrapped up and scaffolded for repairs so we only got a glimpse from the ruins of the viking sacked priory. The other two are quite different to each other, though both huge. Bamburgh stands triumphantly on a coastal rock outcrop while Alnwick is bang in the middle of the town, almost morphing into the look and feel of daily life. We were too tight to go inside either of them.
Of course some birdwatching was fitted in with a little wander along a path at Low Newton by the Sea, another spot with a bigger name than it's entitled to. Great birds though! We saw Linnets and Stonechats for the first time. We are very proud of our birding efforts with our UK list currently sitting on eighty-three species - unlikely to increase but I'll let you know.
A lesson I've learnt while here in the UK this time - whenever I say anything like, "It's only a short walk," or "It doesn't look far," do not, under any circumstances, believe me.