Two ruined castles, some working villages and a magnificent coastline

Boy, is this coastline something or what? I can’t get over it. Miles and miles and miles of glorious, soft sandy beaches that bask under a blue, blue sky, interrupted only by the occasional promontory of tougher rocks that have managed to hold out against the sea’s grinding and relentless erosive powers.

I start off at the top end of Whitley Bay looking across at St Mary’s Lighthouse emerging from the fresh morning haze. The gods have breathed onto a cold pane of glass and as the air warms it breathes away into the ether leaving the white silhouette standing clear and precise.

Blyth is a working port. Huge coils of subterranean wiring are stored on quaysides, ready to be laid under vast oceans to link continents with modern technology. By huge, I mean huge. The coils are 10 metres in diameter and require colossal spindles to slowly unravel them.

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea has a lovely natural curve of high sea defences which overlook an installation, the Couple Sculpture, a guy and a girl standing high on a scaffold looking out to sea. Arcs of coal on the beach are clues to the area’s geology and history.

Ambling around Amble is a delight. This is an old working port with ancient timbers marking the skeleton of old wharves and medieval docks and quays. Around the tributary of the river the ruins of Warkworth Castle still stand guard over access inland.

The day ends with two working villages that I love. Both are scruffy, tatty and honest in the paraphernalia that lies about the place. First is Boulter.

Casper’s harbour lies almost empty, waiting for vessels to give it a purpose.

Oh, yes. Across, through the islands of yellow gorse, the ruins of 14th century Dunstanburgh Castle spread out across the sheep grazed grass top of the headland.



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