Day 280: Holy Island to Craster
Distance: 28.63 miles
Ascent: 1486 feet
Weather: Overcast With Sunny Spells & Breezy
Accommodation: Wild camp Near Craster
I had breakfast and said thanks and goodbye to Jackie, but due to me faffing it was 8 by the time I left. This should work with the tides to get back to the mainland. Today rather than the car causeway I was hoping to cross using the Pilgrims Causeway. This follows a series of poles in the sand and at low tide should in general get you across the sand easy enough. When I got to it, the middle section did look very wet but I decided to give it a go.
It was fun walking this way and the sand wasn’t too squishy, and the only water at this point was very shallow. There were hundreds of seals singing on a sandbank to my left which was lovely. After I guess 1/1.5km there was suddenly some quite deep water and I debated taking boots off and wading (I guess this bit was about knee deep.) Looking ahead there looked to be a lot of water and I started to think what happens if it rises anymore even though I didn’t think the tide was coming in yet. I wimped out and turned 90’ and headed towards the road causeway. There was some water on the way to the road but nothing quite too deep for my boots. At least I can say the new boots appear waterproof at this stage. Once on the road I easily got across to the mainland but there was definitely more water on the road today even though it was closer to low tide today than yesterday.
Once on the mainland the actual coastpath goes literally miles inland and I thought I could do better. I took a little footpath to Fenham and then dropped down onto the foreshore which was muddy but not too bad and followed the shoreline for a mile of so until a track comes down to the shore which I took up to Fenham-le-Moor. From here a path took me up to a quiet road which I was hoping to take all the way to Waren Mill. This road was quiet to start with but after the junction near the A1 it became surprisingly busy and made for quite horrible walking, I just went as fast and safely as I could until reaching Waren Mill.
I was so glad to have reached the end of that road bit and from here I could drop down onto the foreshore, and after a static caravan park just shy of Bamburgh Castle Golf Club the coast path rejoined me and the coast. The path followed the edge of the golf course and the spectacular Bamburgh Castle appeared above the dunes. This is an incredible castle and amazingly is still lived in and the Armstrong Family have opened it up to the public.
I decided to have lunch in Bamburgh and for some reason felt like getting some proper food so headed into a café/tearoom thing, I generally feel the need for a sit down meal when I am down or overly anxious but today I don’t think I was either of those things. I had a nice pie and when it came to leaving, a couple on the table next door incredibly kindly offered to pay for my meal. I sometimes feel embarrassed about accepting some things, but I have learnt to realise they wouldn’t offer if they didn’t want to.
The weather had been overcast and had threatened rain all morning, but it appeared to be slightly better as I continued on. I followed the beach the 3 miles or so to Seahouses, and due to the tide there was only a narrow strip of beach left. At Seahouses I grabbed some supplies in Co-op and carried on. I followed the coast path which went besides the road and soon reached Beadnell my proposed finish point for today.
For a couple of reasons, I decided to carry on, one being the weather was good, and a second being as the Tyne Foot Tunnel is still closed I might walk all the way into Newcastle in a couple of days’ time which is a lot longer. So, I carried on not entirely sure where I would get to but thinking maybe pitch in the dunes after Low Newton-by-the-Sea.
The dunes after Beadnell would be great for pitching but just a 1 or 2 mile extension seemed pointless so I carried on passed Low Newton-by-the-Sea into the dunes maybe 5 miles from Beadnell. There was a massive issue here in the fact that there were loads of huts amongst the dunes, so I would have to carry on further which was no big issue as I still had plenty of light left.
The next issue was a golf course which was unsurprisingly not ideal (well ideal for pitching but not acceptable) to pitch on. This was a long golf course and the wind had started to get up, as well as light slowly becoming an issue. There were the ruins of an impressive castle atop a cliff at the end of the golf course and I was considering pitching amongst this sheltered from the wind, but on getting to the gate it was closed and was actually a national trust one that they somehow charge for. So, I continued on and the next field had cows in and I was definitely not pitching there. Light was now becoming a big issue with only 15 minutes or so of light left. But finally, I found a field which seemed animal free and found a spot amongst a bit of gorse to give me a little bit of shelter. By the time the tent was up it was pitch black.
A good day with some great castles and ruins. Even the end pitching issues, though a bit too close to darkness, ended up I think with a good spot.