One of our local tourist traps; and I dare say numbers are on the rise since it was the setting for a detective novel. When visiting, the first thing to check is the tides. You could be stranded on the island for 6 hours waiting for the tides to turn and causeway to be passable again. However bleak the prospect of being stuck on Holy Island might be, its better than risking the causeway. Every year, probably about once a month, some poor idiot doesn't heed the signs and drives off the island at the wrong time and their car is abandoned and left to the mercy of the sea as the tide engulfs the narrow strip of road.
Have gone for a bit of a black and white vibe in these. The prior is the oldest part of the island and was founded by St Aiden who was a monk at Iona on the West coast of Scotland. St. Cuthbert, Northumberland's patron saint was abbot here .
The graveyard is well worth a mooch. There are graves of priates, masons and plauge victims (amongst others). In the picture you can see the castle in background... Whch seems to be the motif running though all the pictures.
The monastry was, of course, disolved by Henry VIII and its stones were taken to make the original castle builiding around the same time (mid 16th century). During the Jacobite Rising of 1715, Lancelot Errington, one of a number of locals who supported the Jacobite cause, visited the castle. Some sources say that he asked the Master Gunner, who also served as the unit's barber, for a shave. Once Errington was inside, it became clear that most of the garrison were away; later that day he returned with his nephew Mark Errington, claiming that he had lost the key to his watch. They were allowed in, overpowered the three soldiers present, and claimed the castle as a landing site for the Jacobite group led by Thomas Forster, Member of Parliament for the county of Northumberland. Reinforcements did not arrive to support the Erringtons, so when a detachment of 100 men arrived from Berwick to retake the castle they were only able to hold out for one day. Fleeing, they were captured at the tollbooth at Berwick and imprisoned, but were later able to tunnel out of their gaol and escape (Which sounds about typical of Berwick!).
The castle was rebuilt in the Arts and Crafts style by Sir Edwin Lutyens. To be honest though, the inside of both the castle and priory are a bit dull and my advice would be save your money. A wander round the outside of the castle is lovely and you can see all that is of interest from the free graveyard of the monastry without paying themassive entrance fee.
A reasonably traditional post Christmas stroll on one of the best beaches anywhere.
It was busier than the middle of July! However, you still pretty much had enough space to feel the wind in your hair and the emptiness. We were close to being the only ones there without a medium sized dog.
Following from the previous Bamburgh post: As the sun goes down the light, the open spaces and the reflections can be spectacular.
This is a huge, sandy beach that is so large that even when the car park is full there is enough room to have it largely to yourself. It's overlooked by its Castle, which is not that old really, which adds interest to one's photos.
All that is needed is to walk a few steps either way from the car park and the 'crowds' (I mean 3 or 4 other groups of people) are far enough away to satisfy even the most curmudgeonly old git!). However do wrap up warm as it is cold even in the middle of summer, when the sun is out.
As I say, 'busy' is a relative term. The picture below is about as busy as I've seen it. And, although the sun was clearly shining, you can see people are still walking along in their coats!
Northumberland has (I think) the only herd of wild cattle in Britain. The herd is actually split in two because of the fear of Foot and Mouth disease. If one animal in the herd gets it then the whole lot need slaughtering (not sure why but that's how it is). They took a few animals from the herd to north east Scotland so that if ever the worst happened then the herd's genes would carry on.
One of my favourite travel blogs is the travel past 50 site travelpast50.com/. Aside from the fact that its written by people from an atypical demographic to the average bloggers (This means it's a little more thoughtful and is generally better written) they are happy to return to a subject or place again and again.
Walking the walls of Berwick always seems to offer something new. Each combination of tide, time and weather seem to offer a new view.
So, with that in mind, here are some more shots of my old friends the Bridges of Berwick. These were taken with my phone rather than camera and, believe it not, we had been to Tesco's late in the afternoon and there was a hail storm.
I particularly like the blueness of the water in these pictures. There is almost no post production processing. A little bit of curves just to make it 'pop' and straightening the horizon on the Royal Border Bridge shot.
They are a fairly iconic part of Berwick; the three bridges. This is taken from the site of the Castle on a glorious summer's day. Yes, we do have them! From l2r: Old bridge, New bridge and Royal Border bridge.
The old Bridge was the traditional way in and out of the town towards the South and dates from James I's reign: It was completed in 1608. Presumably before this you crossed either by boat or much further up stream.
Then, the Royal Border bridge was built for the trains when they came along. This was when they knocked the castle down to make room for the station in 1850. Perhaps not the greatest decision ever made,. The bridge was was designed by Robert (George's son) Stephenson and opened by little Vicky. Its now a grade 1 listed structure.
One of the things about Northumberland, and Berwickshire on the other side of the border, are the number of castles. There's a good reason for this of course, in that both sides liked a day out to raid, fight and nick each other's cattle and women. Plus ca change!
One of my favourite ruins is Dunstanburgh castle; a short walk along from the sleepy fishing village of Craster. It dates from the 14th century (about 1313) and was built by the Earl of Lancaster. He was a rival to Edward II and it was probably meant as a safe refuge, if things went too badly wrong in the south. It was also, of course, a monument to his wealth and power. A wise move really, as he only visited it once before his capture after a battle and subsequent execution! It then passed into the hands of the crown (or at least the Royal family) for a couple of centuries at least.
Well, it's been a while!
We bought a house back in the UK where we both used to work and are now busy showing the children the sights of the North East of England, when we can drag them away from the wifi. There will some evidence of nice weather in future posts, but I have to say it is really cold on the coast here after Bangkok!
The weather has been a bit hit and miss. We have had some fabulous days and some absolute shocking weather too. The rain has meant that one needed to be creative to take interesting shots on some days.
Never been! Driven past I don't know how many times but never been for a look see. So, we decided to put that right.
We started off at the cracking 'Twice brewed' pub in the village of Once Brewed for lunch. Gill went for classy, but delicious, fish-finger sandwich. I went for the more traditional cheese sandwich.
Then we set off for a wee walk. It was very hot to the extent that even after 2 weeks in Spain we worried about sunburn. To be honest the wall itstolf is not all that impressive. It's basically just a large dry-stone wall. Having said hat, on the rare occasion you might get a nice day, its a great place for a walk.
This is a giant sculpture/statue thing of a reclining woman just outside the mining village of Cramlington in Northumberland. It was completed in 2012 and is made of 1.5 million tonnes of waste soil from the open cast mines that are just next door. The view below is from the forehead looking down the nose and body.
This will be a blog about my latest shots and what I liked or was trying to do with them