Monday, June 27, 2016

Exploring Bamburgh Castle (and beyond)

While I've talked about my day exploring Berwick and briefly (more details to come) about my trip to Holy Island but I haven't mentioned the day I explored Bamburgh Castle.

First though some information on where I stayed and how I got around...  I stayed at the Bridgeview Bed and Breakfast which is very close to the railway station.  I had a single room there and while I paid the most for any accommodation on the trip (48 pounds) it was wonderful.  Lynda's breakfast is one of the best English breakfasts I've ever had!  It was a five minute walk to the rail station with luggage and just around the corner from the High (main) street.  Lynda was a fountain of knowledge of the local area and breakfast was always lively as the other guests Glynnis and Eddie from Derbyshire, were fun and adventurous.  I did two day trips with them on the bus - and one was to Bamburgh Castle.  Eddie worked for the railroad so had free passes so off they go all over England for free - how nice would that be.

The bus left from the nearby rail station which was handy so off we headed to Bamburgh Castle.  And beyond...

As we stepped off the bus the castle rose above us...very impressive!

We headed down the path to the right peering in the adorable tea shops which sadly we never got to sample...and admiring the local cottages.

Okay how are we going to get into this thing?  We decided to opt for the path through the parking lot but came out the path above.  Definitely the path above is the way to do it as I can't even imagine what the parking lot and road you have to walk on to get there would be like in mid summer....

There has been a castle on this site since 547...Bamburgh was then known as "Din Guayrdi" and Northumberland was known as "Bericia".  I'm not even going to start talking about its long interesting history as the Bamburgh Castle website has a wonderful webpage documenting it but in a fun way.   Enjoy!   The castle is now a private residence but of course when you own a castle you have lots of expenses so it's open to the public year round.

You've gotta love a castle that overlooks the sea. One regret...not getting down to the beach and getting a view from below...

I loved this room!

Looking towards the village of Bamburgh

Time for lunch...well after Lynda's huge breakfast I had no appetite for anything substantial so I opted for a pot of tea and a piece of border tart.  Delicious!

So farewell to Bamburgh Castle...for now...

St Aidan's church in Bamburgh

Our next visit in the village was to the Grace Darling Museum.  Grace Darling is a local heroine and buried in the churchyard above.   William Darling, Grace's father was a lighthouse keeper on nearby Longstone Island.  During a severe storm in the early hours of September 7, 1838 Grace noticed a boat breaking up on the nearby rocks.  The area was too rough for a life boat to get close to so Grace and her father took their row boat out paddling a mile out of the way to avoid rocks. They were able to rescue five people out of 62 that were on the doomed boat.  Both William and Grace received the Silver Medal for bravery and Grace received donations of money (50 pounds from Queen Victoria) and even proposals of marriage.  She unwillingly became a national heroine for her bravery and gutsiness (is that a word?)  in an era when women were expected to be wives, mothers and not much else.  Sadly she died of tuberculosis at the young age of 26.

This is a monument - the actual grave of she and her parents is elsewhere in the churchyard.

Time to head off to our next destination which was Seahouses.  This was somewhere I had never even heard of but when Eddie mentioned it  I thought "okay why not".  It turned out to be a great disappointment to all three of us - an unremarkable fishing village with hordes of tourists.  I've been to many seaside fishing villages in the UK and this was not  worth visiting in my opinion.  So after a cursory look around (I can tell I wasn't impressed just by the fact I took no photos!) we headed off along a side street.  Eddie had talked to someone about a cliff side walk so Glynnis and I just followed along and hoped he knew what he was doing.  And he did!  We had a glorious short walk of half an hour or along the Northumberland Coastal path.  First we had to navigate a golf course but luckily no one was out so we didn't have to dodge anything!

Okay Eddie - I guess you didn't get us lost after all!

I don't think we worked out what these birds were or we did I can't remember!!

My kind of path... flat with a view!

The bulding on the outcrop was once a fish smoker.

Seahouses harbour with Bamburgh castle in the distance.

Time to head back into town and get the bus back to Berwick.  Once in Berwick the three of us went to the Castle Hotel restaurant which I highly recommend.  I had been there for dinner the evening I arrived as well.

Now that's what you call a I ate that thing will remain a secret.

The next day Eddie and Glynnis went back to Derbyshire but I'll always remember the fun we had for those two days.

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