Thursday, 31 March 2016

Day Seven - Chores

What a bore having chores to do. No nice walks, but a treat after shopping visiting Corner House cafe in Berwick. Pictures are not mine but taken by the cafe owners. I'm sure they will not mind me using them, as I am indirectly advertising their business. It's a great place, roaring fire, leather settees, cosy seating areas and wonderful homemade cooking at a great price. Do go there if in Berwick.

Well all my jobs done and I can now relax and enjoy my last two whole days before I return to Leicester.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Day Six - Embleton, Dunstanburgh, Craster

Yet another glorious day. I had planned on mooching around Alnwick but the sun was so glorious shopping seemed such a waste of a day. So instead I headed out to Embleton to walk along the coast.

Have to say it was a day without any drama. Just a pleasant coastal walk.

As I look to the north I can see Low Newton and to the south Dunstanburgh Castle.

I do love the British - a bit of sun and out comes the shorts and windshields. We really are brave souls.

As I walked up and down the dunes I came across these children who have found a new use for their sledges.

It was a rather steep, tall sand dune and they must have been exhausted as they kept on climbing up the sand. Great to see children doing something else other than playing on square boxes.

So glad there is still some ruins left of this castle as it is such a lovely landmark.

Anyway not time to linger as lunch is calling.

It's here that they also smoke the kippers, yum yum. Anyway I have had enough of cheese sandwiches and decided to treat myself to some lunch.

When I went to pay I asked the waiter where he was from and he said he was local. So I suggested that he did not have much of an accent and he had apparently been told that he needed to calm his accent as diners could not understand him - poor chappy. I then found out that the chefs are from Brazil! Anyway the food and atmosphere was really nice and can recommend it. Oh this is such a good idea eating in the middle of a walk, get the chance to burn it off.

It's the sort of place that you can't help but just take lots of pictures.

Well the end of a lovely walk.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Day Five - Belford, Via Swinhoe to St Cuthbert's Cave

Oh I am being blessed with no rain. After a rather late start, still have not got used to the clocks being altered by an hour, I headed out for an unknown walk. Having decided I wanted to do a walk from Belford I went to get the map out to discover it has gone. I'm guessing that one of our guests used it and forgot to return it. Oh well. So I called in at the local shop in Lowick and they had a few maps but not a local one. So I drove to Belford where they have no maps but just as I was about to give this walk up as a bad idea when the newsagent lady came running after me with an A4 sheet with instructions for the very walk I wanted to do. Decided that this had to be an omen to do the walk,, but it went against the grain doing a walk without an OS map.

Typical English pastoral scene. Then I passed what looked like a castle, and now is used as a farm. I believe there is some discussion as to whether it really was Belford's castle. There is a moat, but why nestled in a valley and not at the top of a hill where there is a pill box.

Now it was not long after I passed this farm when I met my drama of the day. I climbed over a stile to see two ladies stuck behind a farm gate. In the distance I could see an older man walking towards us. Then the older lady started complaining to me that the gate was locked and what was she to do.

So I suggested that they shuffled underneath the gate. But the lady complained and said how could she possibly do this, "I am 70". So I said she only had one other option and that was to walk back to the lane and head back towards Belford. She then said she had sent her husband to get a key from the farm. Poor chappy. She kept on insisting that it was a public right of way.Then she went on to say that they were doing a walk to check it out for a group of people in their 70's and there was no way she could get them to crawl underneath, or insist that they walk all the way to Belford. Still she carried on at me as if I could magically conjurer up a key. By this time hubby joined us and complained that the farm hand did not have a key and it was not a public right of way. But he still insisted it was. Well by this time I had had enough of them and left them to their mumblings. But I did check later and I was right it was private land!

Tried to sneek a picture - younger lady looking rather frustrated!

Then I arrived at Swinhoe, where there is a horse riding centre. Now I must be a real townie because I found myself thinking "Oh isn't it cute a blacksmith shoeing a horse, didn't think they still did that". Oh what a plonker I am, what did I think happens to horses shoes! Oh dear I have a lot to learn!

Now I know these are cows!

So lovely to see so many primroses growing in the woods.

St Cuthbert's cave not far away now.

Looking the other way was this view of Holy Island.

Hurray - St Cuthbert's Cave. Oh this place brings back sooooo many memories of times with my husband and children. Today lots of others too enjoying making more memories.

I decided it was a bit too busy to have my lunch here and made myself wait longer to have it at Cockenheugh Crags.

Now the next picture is very special for our family. It's probably one of my most happiest memories as a family. We had walked one October half term to these crags. We didn't have masses of money and so we tried to be creative with our activities. So we took stuff to make a small fire in the cave and we cooked sausages and grilled bread. Whilst the food was being prepared our four children invented a game and were running around all these rocks, hiding and reenacting. It was so special. We all walked back stinking of the fire but having had a great time.

These lambs were so funny - they would get a certain distance in front of me and then run like mad, then they would come back again and check me out and run.

Well Belford was in sight and I have to admit to being glad as my feet were hurting, blooming bunions! Think the last few days have sadly worn me out - oh dear I'm getting old! Guess tomorrow needs to be a bit of a stroll.

Meanwhile my fitbit watch is happy - 22,578 steps, 8.72 miles, only 70 floors today!

Monday, 28 March 2016

Day Four - Embarrassing Moments, Humbleton Burn

I seem to be setting a pattern of coastal walks followed by inland moors. So today I headed out to Wooler, lovely old town nestled at the bottom of the Cheviots. Armed with map and OS Northumbria Walk Book, pack up and warm clothes off I start. Part of me is rejoicing because I gather some parts of the country are having horrid weather and me here it's not raining hurray. Also rejoicing because when I was here after Christmas it rained EVERY day and I got very frustrated that I could not enjoy these wonderful hills. Also rejoicing because I'm walking in England and back to wonderful footpath signs.

Don't you just love it when the start is from the carpark, with a "you are here" sign. Fills me with lots of confidence.

Quite a bit of the walk follows St Cuthbert's Way - a long distance walk. Now many years ago I did this walk all by myself. I can clearly remember walking this part of the journey as it poured with rain and I saw very little of the scenery. What I do remember was there being no where to shelter and no where to do a wee.

Just me and the sheep again - no Bank Holiday Monday crowds here.

Eventually I walk through all this glorious green hillsides out onto the moors.

I know I said I was rejoicing about the weather but it was bitterly cold and my poor old bladder could not hold out for too long. So I saw a wall coming and checked there was no one about, which is very easy when you are on the moors as you can see for miles. So off I go and do a pee but then to my horror a person!!! By jove I pulled my trousers up faster than I probably have ever done in my life. Where did he come from, well he was cheating he was on a bicycle! That's how he crept up on me. What can you do but smile sweetly and offer to shut the gate for him.

Off he goes.

Wonderful reassuring signs.

I loved this walk and being able to get closer and closer to the snow. Disappointingly the walk  never went up as far as those hills - which I am guessing is the Cheviot. Anyway what with all the cold it's time for another pee. OK this time I look out for any cyclists but I have not seen anyone since the last guy. You can guess what happened - a bloody group of ramblers! Fortunately they were further off, but honestly can't a girl have a pee without being watched?

 So again I stood aside and smiled sweetly!

 I just love the views.

I took about 130 pictures on this walk and it is so hard to just select a few.

There's something amazing about these sheep as they live out in this territory with virtually no shelter - tough ladies.

I can remember a time when Mr P and I were younger and I hated being out on moors I thought them rather boring, but now I adore these moody hills and moorland.

Well all good things have to come to an end and sadly the route back was a pain, literally on your feet. The author of the route decided to send me along a 3 mile road/dirt track. I loved the walk so much and I shall be looking to tweak this route back.

Back to the cuteness of the valley and time for a cuppa. I managed to fit in a lunch when I eventually found a hollow to nestle into, out of the cold cold wind. Well I loved the walk and will happily repeat a large chunk of it again. Fitbit watch now speaking to me again. Managed to clock up 21,147 steps, 13.20km and 103 floors.

But I must finish on another embarrassing moment that happened yesterday. It occurred whilst I was listening to the Bishop give his Easter sermon. You may remember me saying how full the church was and gradually what with all the singing etc(me still recovering from a nasty cold/virus) the air became very dry and I could feel myself wanting to have a good cough. But all was silent other than the Bishop, why had I wanted to sit in such a good seat when I could have sat at the back where I would not have been noticed. Well I desperately tried not to cough. I got to the point where the tears were beginning to stream as I tried to hold back this cough, But I lost and the cough won. Well I could see the Bishop looking and so was his mate holding his Bible. She looked on sympathetically as I seeked to refrain from coughing anymore. But no this cough is stubborn and insists on being heard. I can then hear the rustle of people fumbling in their bags and I gladly accept the first sweet offered me. Well it must have been the smallest sweet in the whole wide world. It was slightly larger than a sweetener. I couldn't tell you what they were called because I had tears in my eyes. So I took two to make up for their smallness. Popped one into my mouth only for my evil cough to decide to have another go and the sweet goes flying. The lady sitting next to me pipes up that it landed on the floor by her. Oh I just wanted the earth to open up. Some how I managed to keep the next sweet in my mouth and peace and calm was restored. I never did find the sweet - maybe a mouse got to it first!
Time for dinner, bye.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Day Three - Easter On Holy Island

Great thing about coming at this time of year is to be able to share in the Easter celebrations. Last night there was a vigil in the church. Now having been a  few times before I know how to prepare. So this time I went armed with reading glasses, warm clothes and a torch. The service is held in the dark in order to create the atmosphere of how it might have felt for Jesus after he had been crucified. After thirty minutes we then processed to St Cutherbert's beach to reflect and then gather light from the fire. Except last night it was rather blustery and it took a long time for the torches to be lit. I thought they were going to have to give up but some kind people stood in front of the torches with newspaper acting as a windshield. To be honest I was more worried about the flying embers and the bishop and vicars catching fire with their long flocks blowing in all directions. So apologies for this diabolical picture but it was all I could take on my phone.

After this procession we headed back to the church for an even longer service. The idea being that the candle being lit from the beach is then used to light all the easter candles inside the church. Knowing that I needed to be up early the next morning I called it a day at 10.30pm, I think they probably went on till midnight. Now it was a bit evil of whoever to choose this weekend to alter the clocks - well it's probably evil whenever they do it! Now this is a bit of an unusual experience having to arrive at church 40 minutes early in order to get a seat! Experience paid off as some people had to stand in the porchway or whatever they call that area. I'm guessing some gave up and left. Having arrived to a relatively quiet island we left the church jubilant but overwhelmed by the quantity of visitors. I have to admit to struggling seeing soooo many people. Guess I am used to the island with just a few  tourists dashing in and out of the shops and cafes, trying to keep warm. I doubt, today, if you could get into these places. The carpark ran out of spaces and as I eventually left I noted people were being very creative with their parking.

The sun was shining but it was bitterly cold, the northeasterly wind was showing off her wares! So I snuggled against the side of a boat to keep warm whilst I ate my lunch and took a few pictures.

Boats, boats, boats!

 Enjoying playing with my long lens - can see Berwick Lighthouse in the distance.

OK better change the pictures before your yawning deafens me!

Definitely snow still left on the Cheviots.

Mmmmm me thinks that when we retire here we may need to think more about the colour of our next car - black seems to be a no no. Also think we will need to consider what type of cars do not object to potholes. Golly I thought Leicester had its fair share but they ain't got anything as good as here!

Loving the flowers at the front of our garden.

Views at the end of the village and MORE sheep!

Isn't spring a wonderful time of the year?

Aren't the lambs adorable. Had to laugh as two No 5 lambs were running and leaping around with their mother crying out to them. Just like our children they ignored their mothers' bleats and in the end she had to chase them to get their attention! Nothing changes.

I was amazed how close these two lambs let me come.

OK enough of sheep now. But just one more animal this time in the form of our next door neighbour's cat peering at me through their front window.

Enjoy the rest of your Easter.