St Oswalds Way - part 2
St. Oswald’s Way part 2 (Berwick to Alston part 3)
Sundance has had his work cut out, after a week of the old soft shoe shuffle had he done enough to get a dry day? by putting one over on Jon who was walking in Yorkshire on Saturday and it of course ‘RAINED’.
Sunday dawned brightish and it was a pleasant drive to Beadnell. The £4.40 parking was a bit of a downer. Everyone was ready on time and Mike very methodically ticked off his list as people got on the mini buses (last time nearly leaving a couple of folk behind). After a short drive and we arrived at Belford. Mike gave a safety brief! About crossing the A1 and the East Coast main line and walking on roads.
At last we were off on the tour of NE golf courses walking between Belford Golf course and the Driving range, through a field of sheep and then the first hazard of the day The A1. We all crossed safely (eventually) and then walked along the back of a large number of Grain Silos before getting to problem 2 crossing the railway line.
Mike picked up the phone and spoke to the signal man who gave the group permission to cross when everyone had crossed Mike told the signal man, who then told Mike to cross and use the phone at the other side to say that he had crossed which he did.
After a short walk we crossed a disused branch line that lead to an old quarry unfortunately this gave Mike a chance to witter about all sorts of useless bits of information fortunately he eventually shut up and we continued our journey eastwards. A short climb gave our first view in the distance of Bambrough Castle.
A short section along a couple of roads lead us first past the SpindleStone Ducket a large tower like structure with connections to 13th century ballad about the Laidly Worm and then down to a renovated mill on the Warren Burn. The route follows the side of the burn for a short distance before climbing up hill to the foot of the Spindlestone Heugh and an early lunch in the sunshine.
By the end of lunch it had clouded over but was still dry. A gentle walk uphill brought us past a caravan site and our first views of the coast. (Budle bay and then Lindisfarne followed by Bamburgh Castle and out to sea and the Farne Islands and finally to the south Seahouses.) As we descended the hill we could see some beasts (cattle) in the next field as we approached the stile they ran over to greet us. Mike being the cowardy custard lead the group away from the beasts and on to another footpath that brought us out to where the footpath cuts across Bamburgh Golf Course (number two on the tour) towards the sand dunes along the south of Budle Bay. The path now follows the coast down to Bamburgh Castle.
At Bamburgh a loo stop allowed Mike and Ian to have a rest, something to eat and a cup of coffee. Again the route leaves the coast to follow a path inland to the west end of North Sunderland which was only reached after another two encounters with herds of cattle. Following an old railway line we entered Seahouses and another comfort break, ice cream, and while the rest of us had sandwiches Ian went and bought a big helping of chips. This is was the only reason Mike could think of as to why it had started to rain.
The path leads you round the harbour and on to the top of some cliffs before once more having to walk through yet another Golf course. The final section is on a cycle way and just follows the road from Seahouses to Beadnell and is probably the least pleasant section on the whole coastal route.
Pen-Ghent - Yorkshire Dales
It was our second ‘away day’ of the year as we walk all the three peaks in the Yorkshire Dales.
Two weeks earlier we had been baked in sunshine as we climbed Whernside but today could not be more different as we climbed Pen-y-Ghent.
One thing that has really struck me over our visits to the Yorkshire Dales is how busy it is compared to Northumberland. In Northumberland you never see anybody all day but in the Dales this is certainly not the case, but what stunning scenery and mountains the Yorkshire Dales has to climb.
Pen-y-Ghent was shrouded in mist as we head off. We again had a well prepared experienced group of walkers who thankfully had waterproof clothing from head to toe. Wind, mist and rain where on the menu today but spirits where very high and everybody really enjoyed the challenge of walking in these conditions.
As we climbed steeply to the summit (in mist at this point) everybody managed very well and just 15 minutes before the summit we found a great sheltered spot for a quick lunch.
Then we climbed steeply to the summit for the famous summit shot. What an achievement in these conditions and the smiles said it all. Well done!
As we did Pen-Ghent as a circular walk we had a steep descent, but thankfully for much of this we were sheltered from the wind which was force 9 or 10 at this point.
Then as we headed back down to Horton on Ribblesdale the mist cleared and the sun came out. We could look back and see the epic mountain behind us.
We had all made superb time under hard conditions and the sense of what everybody achieved in such bad conditions may take a day or two to really sink in.
Well done everybody, a great group, a real team!
Coastal Challenge 2013
Just under 300 people signed up to do the third Northumberland Coastal Challenge this year and what a day.
After a damp start the walkers and runners became bathed in lovely spring sunshine as they took on the 26.2 miles along one of the best coastlines in the country.
After checking in at Alnmouth all the walkers got bussed upto Budle Bar, just north of Bamburgh then they followed the Northumberland Coastal Path all the way back to Alnmouth, passing through Bamburgh, Seahouses, Newton, Craster and Boulmer before finally getting back to Alnmouth.
People of all ages took on this epic challenge with many people raising money for charities close to their heart.
Please enjoy the images and YouTube film and I very much hope you can join us in 2014.
Time lapse video taken during the morning check in.
Have you ever thought what goes on when all the runners and walkers go home after the Coastal Challenge Walk. 22 seconds gives you an insight what we do at 8.00 pm.