With the rather hectic sightseeing of the last couple of days it was fair to say we both both a little lethargic on Friday, our penultimate day in Northumberland.
Our original rather loose plans were for a full day in Newcastle - utilising the one and only train that stops at Acklington station near the site in the mornings at 0739. It would have been nice to leave the car at home for the day, but that particular idea was laid to rest as we enjoyed a nice long lie in.
There was also the little matter of the eclipse but dense if patchy cloud covering ensured we only got the merest glimpses of the moon doing it’s thing.
By lunchtime however, we found ourselves at Newcastle’s central station, having driven about 12 miles to Morpeth and catching the train from there. With realistically, less than half a day left was no way we were going to ‘do’ Newcastle, so over a coffee I got on the ‘net to look for ideas.
Which is how we found ourselves in the Discovery Museum less than ten minutes by foot from the station. We spent most of the afternoon in there and had a really great time. A Challenger 2 Tank greets you outside and the ground floor is dominated by the Turbinia, built on the Tyne and the first ship to be powered by steam turbines.
There are exhibitions of Newcastle taking you through the ages and stories from people from around the world who have made Tyneside their home. Tyneside's industrial heritage is explored and you get a real taste of how tough life was back then, when employment - for men anyway, was mining, ship yards or steel works. The science maze was a chance to get ‘hands on’ and there was plenty to entertain kids - both small and big. Like us. All in all a fascinating, informative and entertaining few hours. All free too. (now you know why it appealed!)
Apologies for the quality of pictures from the museum. Despite carrying the ‘big’ camera in a backpack I ended up using the phone and some are better than others.
Saturday, and our last day in Northumberland saw us back on the tourist trail, looking to traverse the section of coastline so far explored by the Blogger in Black and his Portly Partner.
First up was Workworth Castle, just a five minute drive from the site. It sat impressively, overlooking an attractive little town with a very photogenic bridge at the far end.
Next cab off the rank was Alnmouth in a truly delightful spot on the coast and once a busy harbour. Alnmouth boasts - it says - the oldest nine hole links golf course in England. And should golf be your thing it looks a cracking place to play too.
Craster was next, again on the coast and the plan here was to ‘do’ Dunstanburgh Castle which is about a mile and a third walk from the village. Well, we got about half way, but realising it looked more of a ruin than complete, and the wind was cold and particularly penetrating we retreated to the comfort of a cafe in the village, somehow bypassing a very inviting looking pub on the way.
The next stop on the Nonsense! coastal tour was on the advice of a young lady we got chatting too in the bar of the pub where we are staying. You drive through Newton-by-the-Sea and follow the road down to the beach where you will find the Ship Inn. A delightful welcoming little pub that is clearly popular with walkers. Well, we’d walked from the car park up the hill so I’m sure that counts! Moreover their brew their own beer on site and let me tell you it was delicious. If it wasn’t for the car We’d have probably stayed all afternoon. Most properties here seem to be given over to holiday lets - and you can see why. It’s a lovely little place to stay.
Our penultimate stop - and the furthest north - was Bamburgh Castle. Again, we didn't go in. It was getting a bit late in the day to do it justice but it’s pretty impressive from the outside nonetheless. We skirted the village to get another view and caught a glimpse of the Farne Islands just off the coast.
Heading back we paused at Seahouses for a hunger quashing and thirst quenching sarnie and a cuppa. We passed through Alnwick on the way back, but with time marching on did not stop. However it looked a very attractive town and has gone on the ‘to-do next time list.’ There were lots of cosy looking pubs - sorry research sites, if we could find a caravan site within walking distance.
Our last supper was at the pub on the site where we’re staying - The Railway Inn. Ever the traditionalists we both went for bangers and mash while Trev had pancakes for desert and I chose the crumble trio. All, excellent stuff once again. So, our time in Northumberland was at an end, but what a great time we’ve had. It’s a lovely part of England and we’ve made a another dent in it this time but there is still so much more to do and see. The site was in a great location - just four miles from the A1 and easy to find. Pitches were large and level and the facilities were fine too.
Coming next: the North Yorkshire coast as we head to Lythe just a few miles from Whitby.