Results 1-3of 3 Reviews
November 4, 2010
From journal Walks and Churches in the North-East of England
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
October 7, 2009
From journal Places I Have Visited in Northumberland
New Haven, Connecticut
March 23, 2006
Elemental, imposing, beautiful, and grim. It's hard to come up with the right words for this place—Nana described it as a walk through the ruins of a Gothic novel. This English Heritage site was once one of the largest fortifications in England: erected in 1313 by the Earl of Lancaster (and later occupied by the famous John of Gaunt), Dunstanburgh's position on top of a promontory jutting out into the North Sea dominated this entire stretch of coastline as well as the rolling inland moors. Even after centuries of weathering, the ruins are still enormous: along the approach from Craster, especially, the castle's southern curtain wall dominates the horizon.
Dunstanburgh demands a full day, but believe me it's worth it. The bus (from Alnwick or Newcastle) drops you off in Craster, next to the seaside hamlet's only pub, the Jolly Fisherman (a must for an after-hike bite, with great grub and great views). From there, it's a mile hike along the coast towards the looming ruins of Dunstanburgh. In the spring, the wind is deafening—loud enough to drown out the surf pounding a few dozen yard away. But don't let that deter you from some great photo opportunities along the castle's southern approaches. The interior of the ruin is like a surrealist playground. Behind the curtain wall is a large, open field (the castle's wooden outbuildings are long gone) dominated by the castle's lonely keep. The wall makes for a solid windbreak; but at the holes, windows, and most of all, the gate, the wind can be enough to knock you off your feet.
Out along the foundation of the northern wall, which runs along the top of a cliff overlooking the coast towards Embleton, the wind again gathers its full force. Trek around the perimeter; explore the keep; and try to get some pictures of the crashing surf. Also, don't forget to explore the gatehouse—the entrance is behind the visitor's kiosk, so it can be easy to miss. From the top, there are some spectacular views towards Craster, and of course, plenty of powerful wind.
From journal Newcastle and Northumberland: England at the Edge of the World