|Holiday tips from our
friend in the north!
is for a holiday between the Tyne and the Tweed? I am for one…” So begins Walter White’s fascinating Northumberland and the Border, published
in 1859. Sigma author Mark Lejk, who
would love to have met this Victorian enthusiast and accompanied him on his
journey, starts a new series of guest blogs by asking whether Northumberland is
still a good place for a holiday - and decides that the answer is, undoubtedly,
Well I would say that, wouldn’t I? Having written two walking
books about the county, I’m besotted with the place. Instead of driving through
it on your way to or from Scotland, as many do, take some time to visit. You
won’t regret it!
this first blog, I shall write about the Northumberland coast. The area between the Coquet
Estuary and Berwick-upon-Tweed is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You
can walk its full 64-mile length along the Northumberland Coast Path while, for
cyclists, the Coast and Castles Route (NCN Route 1) links Newcastle and Edinburgh,
with 85 miles following the Northumberland coastline. Along the way you’ll pass
stretching, sandy beaches, quiet coves, ancient castles, pleasant villages and
|The beaches are surprisingly quiet. Druridge, Embleton and Beadnell Bays
have miles (yes, miles!) of unbroken sand, while my favourite is the
wonderfully named Sugar Sands, something of a local secret and the perfect spot
for a family picnic. Along this
spectacular coastline are some equally eye-catching castles, Dunstanburgh,
Bamburgh and Holy Island acting as historic beacons and all of them open to the
The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is the jewel in the crown.
Connected to the mainland by a causeway which floods at high tide, it was the cradle
of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon times and has a fascinating history. The
beautiful priory and the quirky castle are the main attractions but there is a
lot more, such as the fine beaches on the island’s quiet north side, where grey
seals can often be found basking on the rocks.
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| ||Take a boat trip from Seahouses to the Farne Islands, where you’ll find
all sorts of seabirds including puffins, guillemots, shags and eider ducks, as
well as a large colony of grey seals. You can also find out about Grace
Darling, the Victorian daughter of the lighthouse keeper who was involved in a
dramatic shipwreck rescue and became a heroine overnight. An interesting museum
dedicated to her life can be visited in Bamburgh village.
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As for the weather – yes, it can be a few degrees cooler
than the south of the country! But this can often be a relief in the summer,
especially for walkers, and the coast is also one of the driest parts of the
UK. In fact, it’s often remarkably sunny and clear, even in the winter – just
take a look at the photo of Dunstanburgh Castle on the front cover of my first
book, which was taken on a January day!
So have I convinced you? Please come and visit; you’ll be
Retired University lecturer Mark is the
author of Discover
Northumberland: Volume 1 and Volume
2, and is currently working on Volume 3. He moved
to Whitley Bay 35 years ago and thinks of the north east as his spiritual home.
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