Walking in Northumberland is one of my greatest loves. The landscape is inspiration for much of my writing and no matter where I go there is a link with both history and nature which I can weave into my stories.
Yesterday I walked from Beadnell to Alnmouth on the Coastal Path as part of a training walk leading up to the twenty-six mile Coastal Challenge from Budle Bay to Alnmouth on 4 May. The sun warmed the air but there was still a nip which bit the finger tips. Families were enjoying the spring day as we walked through the caravan park at Beadnell. It wasn’t long before we were met with the sweeping sands of Embleton Bay and the haunting ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle in the distance. The sea shimmered, looking like millions of diamonds floating on the waves.
This is a coastline of sandy beaches, rock formations, sea birds and golf courses. In total we passed three golf courses, Dunstanburgh Castle, Alnmouth (Foxton) and Alnmouth Village. Shouts of ‘fore’ frequently sounded as we walked, everyone looking around to make sure they weren’t going to be bombed by golf balls. Twice the RAF Sea King helicopter flew above us. The first was near the castle – it looked so large against the ruins and seemed to fly between the crumbling turrets. It flew over again as we neared Alnmouth.
It is nesting season for the many seabirds on the Northumberland coast. Walking towards Dunstanburgh Castle the cries of the nesting kittiwakes fills the air. The whinstone rock, splattered white with guano providing solid ledges for the nests,
Craster Harbour provided a welcome respite on the walk. The sun hot in the shelter of the harbour walls. The tiny beach below provided an adventure playground for two small boys shrieking as the cold water lapped over their toes. An elderly couple, eyes closed sat snuggled up on a bench.
My favourite sound was that of the ebbing waves turning over the rocks and pebbles on the shore. There is something hypnotic about it and I could lie on a beach and listen to this for hours. The tide was turning as we walked from Seaton Point to Foxton. Stumbling across the stones made walking difficult but there was time to pause and listen to the crackling of the stones as the sea retreated from the shore.
Ideas for stories fill my head when I am walking – sights, smells and sounds trigger ideas. Northumberland has everything for a writer.