Sunday, 10 November 2013


Newbiggin-by-the-Sea → Warkworth

druridge-bay.png Distance: 16.89 miles
Ascent: 159 metres
Duration: 5 hours 33 minutes

In transition
« Blyth | Alnmouth »

Today we saw Northumberland in transition.

maquette.pngWith The Couple still in our minds (not least because we passed a lovely maquette of the sculpture on the prom), we left Newbiggin and headed across the golf course towards heavy industry.

alum-works.pngLynemouth Power Station is still operating, but is surrounded by ghosts: the alum works to the west and a disused mine to the north. In the village an elderly man with a warm, crumpled face, gappy teeth and a poppy, leaned on his garden gate. I asked where the mine used to be, since we'd seen no sign of it. He gestured behind him to the land on which stands a lone wind turbine. "Lynemouth mine," he said. Then he pointed ahead to another symbol of the past. Twenty metres past his house stood the Miners' Welfare Institute; across the road the Resource Centre. I would like to know more about what gels this community now, thirty years after the pits closed, but didn't know how to start asking.

We followed the road as it snaked down to the dunes, then remained on it as it followed the coastline. (We'd liked to have walked on the wide beaches, but time is against long walks on winter days and we were worried we'd not make it to our destination before sunset.)

coast-path.pngBeyond the end of the road, a track continued behind the dunes, through a succession of nature reserves, possibly foreshadowing the development of the industrial land around Lynemouth. Certainly the reserves are beautiful (they reminded me of the heathland of Suffolk) but it's hard to see how they can employ more than a handful of people. The Couple seem to have the right idea.

cocquet-island.pngOffshore, Coquet Island interrupted the open horizon. This is the first island we've seen on the east coast, but will not be the last — we are fast approaching the Farnes.

We didn't see much of Amble as we passed through. We were still focused on the failing light.

warkworth-castle.pngHalf a mile short of Warkworth the sun began to set, bathing the river and the village's castle in a beautiful light. This is the Northumberland that the tourist board wants you to see. It is stunning, and well worth the visit, but I'm glad we've seen the other side of the area too.

Posted by pab at 20:32 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!