Posted by: natsevs | November 10, 2010

Barns Ness to Dunstan: Back in England

I managed to sleep through the wind and rain but it was picking up in the morning so I was packed up and walking by 8:10am. I got to the car park just before the nuclear power plant and went into the public toilets to brush my teeth and have a wash whilst hiding from the now very strong wind outside. The John Muir way took me round the front of the power plant then past a caravan site on the other side. The cliffs rise up after that and I walked the cliff top path until it hits a gully where I came down through some woods to the beach. I was on the beach for a while until a point where it is meant to come in by a stream. It was nowhere to be seen though so I had to climb over a mound and walk up the actual stream until the path appeared above me. Once up, I walked the roads to Cove before getting onto a cliff top path once more to Pease bay. Out of the bay were coast path signs but there was no path marked on my map. I decided to risk it and climbed up some very steep steps and onto the path. The risk paid off up to Siccar point but after that the path seemed to disappear completely. I made my way through sheep fields to a track and ultimately to road looping round to Dowlaw. The weather was still miserable and it was not exactly an interesting day of walking. A farm track connected Dowlaw with Lumsdaine farm then from there I was on roads for the rest of the day.

Walking along there a magazine woman rang wanting to do a face to face interview the following day and I stupidly said I would be in Berwick, even though it was almost 3pm and Berwick was still at least 12 miles away. The roads took me through Coldingham and Eyemouth, where a school kids were piling off a broken down bus, and onwards to Barnmouth. From there it was the A1 all the way to Berwick and not a pleasant experience. The advantage of being on the road is that I walked past the welcome to England sign which you don’t really get on footpaths. I took some pictures by the sign with the guy in the burger van looking on obviously thinking I was an idiot. It turns out the campsites on my map at Berwick were now holiday parks and didn’t take tents. As a result I asked my mum and brother to look for a cheap B&B but they were having very little luck. Finally my brother got hold of a guy who had some room and didn’t cost over £60 and I made my way through town via the supermarket to get there at 6:45pm quite knackered.


The following morning the owner had printed off the week’s weather for me as well as showing me the tide tables so I knew what times I’d be able to cross to Holy Island and back between. He was a really nice bloke and it turns out I stayed at his brother’s campsite in Badrallach. I set off to meet the journalist at the train station and did the interview in a coffee shop. It was a really sunny morning but I wasn’t setting off until gone 10am because of the interview, not that I minded a shorter day after a 10hour day the day before. I started off over the bridge across the river then headed out to the coast on the other side at Spittal. There was a promenade through Spittal finishing at a path heading up the cliff to join the Northumbria coast path along the top next to the railway. As I walked along the track a car came up and asked me if I knew whether they could get down there, I had no idea but it didn’t look good so I told them as much. They turned around at the first opportunity, I’ve no idea how they got up there. IT was quite a nice walk even though the wind had picked up and there was the odd bit of rain. Coming up to a farmhouse I walked through a field of cows to come to the gate with the standard huge bull stood in front of it. He was a nice fella though and I skirted round him as he stayed completely motionless. From there was a road going along behind the dunes now, coming to a path in the same direction. The path took me to Goswick Golf course and I was back onto road out of there before getting onto path once more.

I had to loop in when I hit a river to get over a footbridge. On there was an army guy who asked where I was going, they were about to do a practice bomb run apparently. I got to a car park via a very muddy path then set off over the causeway to Holy Island. Halfway along I jumped out of my skin as a massive boom sounded to my left and I looked around in time to see the cloud of water fall back down to the sea. I’d forgotten about the bomb run. The causeway was still slightly submerged in places but thankfully no cars thought it would be funny to spray me with water. I got to the island and set off around anti-clockwise for a change. The path took me past the ruins of the monastery then onwards to the castle looking impressive up on its hill. The wind was now ridiculous and at some point my bag cover was taken by it, never to be seen again. I hid behind a bank a couple of times as I continued my way around the edge. In the dunes on the opposite side, a shrew had somehow managed to twist its leg and tail together in grass and was continuing to spin around making matter worse for itself. I set about trying to free it, and after a rummage in my bag for nail clippers, I had released the silly thing and let it go into the grass to probably get eaten or get itself into trouble again.

I was soon back on the less flooded causeway again and making my way over to the mainland once more. I stuck to the Northumbria coast path for a bit but then there were other paths which actually stayed closer to the coast. I was eying up camp opportunities now but I really needed somewhere sheltered from the wind. The paths ended and I was soon onto roads but had seen a wood on the map so headed slightly off track to them in the hope of a sheltered place to stop. For once it actually worked out very well, the only unnerving thing was a big incredible hulk cuddly toy hanging onto a fence looking out at me in my tent.

The trees did a really good job of blocking out the wind during the night so I was able to get a good sleep. As I set off it was raining a bit but was also quite sunny so there was a really good rainbow behind me. I had to start the day along the road, turning off on a smaller one towards Elwick and beyond. The rain was getting a lot heavier but I figured it wouldn’t last. Unfortunately when it did stop, it started again very quickly and my shorts got very wet. It let up properly though as I made my way along a path to the beach at Budle and struck out along there to the point. The wind was ensuring that I got blasted by sand as I continued along towards Bamburgh. I came up onto the road at the golf course club house but was soon back down to the beach again to walk in front of the impressive Bamburgh Castle. The beach was really pretty too and there were plenty of people walking along enjoying it, even with the ridiculous wind battering everyone.

The sand being blown around made it look almost like a desert storm and made the walking interesting at least. I stayed on the beach until coming up at Seahouses. I was missing a map so was glad to find one at the tourist information there as I walked through the town, stopping to buy some food as I passed as well. I took the road out towards Beadnell where I had intended to stop at a caravan and camping site owned by people my uncle knew. I got here at half 2 though and couldn’t justify the early stop so I just popped in to say hello. I ended up stopping for a cup of tea and they kindly passed on word to the site at Dunstan who said they would be happy to have me. After about half an hour I set off again and was behind the dunes out of Beadnell towards Newton-by-the-sea. Once I’d gone through there I was back onto the beach with Dunstan castle clearly visible up ahead. I crossed a stream and a flat fish sitting in there caught my attention as it jumped out of my way, it was perfectly camouflaged so I wouldn’t have noticed it if it hadn’t moved. I came up off the beach to head in to the campsite. They put me in between a hedge and a bank so I was nicely sheltered from the wind. To add to that one of the guys running it came and gave me a couple of bottles of beer.


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