From Alnmouth, the Northumberland Coast Walk took us past some of my favourite and most familiar parts of the region through the little fishing village of Boulmer (where the public toilet graffiti offers you the distinctly dubious opportunity to meet "Susan" on selected afternoons!) and past my favourite town of Craster, which I write about in another journal.
This area really is a beautiful bit of Northumberland coast, and we cheered up as the somewhat changeable weather improved as we wandered on. It goes without saying for most places, but as most of Northumberland's attractions are outdoors ones, the weather can play a large part in ensuring a successful and memorable vacation. One interesting part is that the shoreline along this stretch is a steady mix of sand and rocky meaning you get a pleasant amount of variation.
My favourite bit of dramatic shoreline is just beyond Craster at Dunstanburgh Castle, where the place is so windswept the waves often produce great swathes of foam and the coastline always threatens. I love the power of this little stretch of coast, with the remains of the castle appears to suggest that the strength of the waves and the inclement weather won.
The ruins are the remains of a building produced in the early 1300s, and the Castle didn't have a long life as after the war of the roses in the 1460s it was left to slowly decline while it's stone was stolen for other more worthy projects. I love the thought that in World War II, Italian prisoners of war were stationed at Dunstanburgh Castle and tried to produce their own Italian herb gardens in the shelter of the castle wars. Those sun loving Italians must have felt they had come to the end of the world.
Bizarrely just beyond this rocky vista is one of Northumberland's widest and longest bays at Embleton. This is the place to fly your kite or just run in the sand, and it is directly accessible from the car park at Low Newton by the Sea. The fantastic pub, the Ship housed in a former fisherman's cottage (or three) brews its own beer and makes for the perfect end to any day. Just make sure you book in advance for evening dinner.