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" Dunstanburgh Castle from above "

Accommodation : The Beach Court B&B, Beadnell, Northumberland, Uk.

Date of walk: Wednesday 17th September 2013.

Location of Start : The village car park, Low Newton, Northumberland. (NU 242 245)

Places visited : Embleton Bay to Dunstanburgh Castle and back.

Walk details :   7 mls,  650 feet of ascent, 5 hours including refreshments.

Highest point : The top of the main Keep of Dunstanburgh Castle.

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Beautifully sunny but with a breeze, with the briefest of showers towards the end.

" Dunstanburgh Castle from above " at EveryTrail

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]


We are enjoying a different sort of holiday, one with beaches, golden sands and blue skies.

No . . . not the Greek Islands but here in the north east of the UK, on the Northumberland Coast.

This area is full of beauty but also of history and we walk another beautiful sandy bay to reach Dunstanburgh Castle,

walking this time down from above . . . the north.

 The Northumberland Council have a very positive attitude to parking which others (mentioning no Lake District names) could well take note of.

The village car park is on ground literally just outside the village of Low Newton, a £2 fee securing a place for the whole day.

Consequently the village itself is tourist-traffic-free and safe and easy to walk.  It looks a lot better as a result too.

The village centre is a picturesque square of Fishermen's Cottages . . .

. . . the corner of which is the Ship Inn . . . a popular place this sunny afternoon.

Shall we visit ?    Perhaps we might leave it till later.

Time to be off on our walk along the beach, heading south round the bay to Dunstanburgh Castle.

A last look back at the houses and radio mast on the headland above.

Big skies are a feature of coastal and flat countryside . . . today was no exception.

From here the castle looks a long way off !

That's better . . . zooming in with the bigger lens makes it seem a much shorter walk.

Half way round we cross the Embleton Burn . . . at a place called The Skaitl on the map.

We had to watch the depth of the stream crossing but the goose didn't need to bother.

Safely over the small river, we stop to enjoy the view.

The sand dunes at the back have been undercut by the high tide.  I haven't checked how high it is rising tonight.

Hopefully we'll have a bit of beach to walk on for our return trip.

Ann's view across the second half of the bay.

Harry and Bethan wait as I try for a photo . . . but the castle is in shadow . . . it will be better in a few minutes.

Looking forward the castle is getting closer . . . I'm sure !

Certainly Low Newton is a long way away now . . . out to that headland and round the corner.

Eventually the sand runs out and we climb up onto the sand dunes behind the beach.

At this point we run (or to be technically correct, walk) alongside the Dunstanburgh Golf Course

a true links course which lies in the shadow of Dunstanburgh Castle.

[ The course itself is an 18 hole, 6298 yard, par 70 test of your golfing skills, founded in 1900 and updated in 1922.]

The gate to the next stage of the walk.

We leave the confines of the links and head across to the castle.

The Lilburn Tower . . .
. . . dramatically perched on the edge of the high ground.

Named after John de Lilburn, one of the constables in the years after the execution of Thomas, Earl of Lancaster for treason in 1322.

The naming suggests that he was responsible for the completion of the works. (see website)

What remains of the still impressive Gatehouse to Dunstanburgh Castle . . . hold your cursor over the picture to read all about it.

. . .  then if you wish afterwards click here for a fuller Wiki-history.

The building of Dunstanburgh Castle was begun in spring 1313 by Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, the Lord of the small barony of Embleton

and the building was virtually complete and lived in as a fortified stronghold within six years.

I've paid my dues and gone inside the castle to see the view from inside the walls.

Down below is the old moat, a series of ponds built to protect the landward approach to the castle.

They were probably more decorative than practical, but the central track did feature a defensive tower with a drawbridge and portcullis.

The Lilburn Tower . . . seen here from the top of the existing curtain wall.

Much of the stone from the old wall was removed in subsequent centuries to create other structures and local buildings.

The view through the window of the tower.
Castle Point on the northern edge of the headland.

Walking around the inside perimeter of the castle grounds gives an idea of the protective nature of the headland location.

Ann with the dogs can be seen up at the fence opposite.

In between is Queen Margaret's Cove, a deep ravine that would have offered safe harbour on all days except during an easterly gale.

The head of the cove and the north east tower.
Inside, with the evidence of old floors and windows.

The back of the ruined great gatehouse, seen from across the inner ward

In the courtyard in front of the modern office building was a well for drinking water.

Health and safety . . . I bet the old occupants of the castle couldn't claim if they tripped or slipped.

I climb the circular stone stairs to the highest part of the keep, the last set of stairs being modern concrete

but well weathered so that it didn't really spoil the effect.

Ann pictured me at the top of the tower . . . that's me, the head and shoulders, standing close to the second highest wall on the left.

Looking across towards Ann and down onto the layout of the castle walls.

The centre of the castle was never built on and various records indicate it being used to grow cereal crops and no rear to animals.

Looking down on the well and across to the village of Embleton to the west.

South this time towards Craster, the village can be seen after the big green field though the famous harbour is indistinct.

The bay directly ahead is known on the map as Nova Scotia . . . another possible boat landing point for castle visitors.

Looking down into the remains of the main gateway . . .
. . . it would have been a grand building in its day no doubt.

As I retrace my steps down to the ground, Ann and the dogs come up to join me.

One last panoramic view of the castle from the south  . . . before we set off again back towards Low Newton.

The castle is currently under the care of English Heritage

The castle was built on the headland formed by the hard volcanic rock of the Great Whin Sill.

In the bay a curved strata of rock goes by the name of Horse Rock . . . perhaps the outer section looks a bit like a saddle.

Ancient and slightly more modern.

The octagonal concrete structure is a World War II pill box, a gun emplacement to protect the coastline from enemy sea borne invasion.

Norway, the country on the opposite side of the North Sea, was occupied by German forces at that time.

There's a little more cloud around as the breeze brings localised showers across the coast from the west.

Our walk back was punctuated by the ever present action of the waves as they crashed ashore and swept back out to sea.

. . . hold your cursor over the picture above and make a "swooshing" sounds in time with your hand movements.

Oops . . . one of those rogue showers is just passing overhead . . . time for a light jacket to keep the worst of the moisture away.

That's better . . . five minutes later and it is clear again.

The cloud has proceeded out to sea . . . taking its rain shower and a small rainbow with it.

Nearly back at Low Newton Bay . . . just one headland to go.

Another rain shower passes ahead of us, giving another lovely rainbow for us to admire.

No more rain now . . . but there's moisture ahead . . . I can feel it in my bones.

A lovely display of gulls on the water's edge and the rocks as we turn into the village square at the end of the beach.

There are less folk about compared to earlier.

There . . . I was right . . . a whole glass of "Ship Inn" moisture, brewed on the premises,

. . . a whole glass, apart from the first delicious sip which is missing, presumed swallowed !

On the way back to the car park we have time to look back on a lovely seaside walk, satisfactorily completed.

- - - o o o - - -

Time to be heading back to Beadnell.

Before we went out for our evening meal we had one last walk to enjoy the early evening sunshine.

Ann's shadow on the grass as she walks out on Beadnell Point.

Out here you will find the remains of St Ebbs Chapel, now just a series of earthworks, whose history is hidden away in the soil

and the journals of local historians.

Clear air allows us to see the Farne Islands again.

My shadow this time as I watch the waves swirling around the outer rocks of the promontory.

South and we can see Dunstanburgh Castle in the  far distance.

Two of our three walks this holiday have spanned most of this shoreline.

Late sunshine on the yellow geology of Beadnell Point.

From the high vantage point I can look down on the sunshine streaming into the harbour entrance below.

The sun sets across the bay once more as we end our short break  at The Beach Court in Beadnell.

Time for bed says Aslan . . . get some rest before you head home tomorrow.

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220, or my Canon 1100D SLR digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

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Previous walk - 17th September 2013 - The Bamburgh Bay Walk

A previous time up here - 24th to 29th September 2006 Beadnell and the Northumberland Coast

Next walk - 21st September 2013 - Souther Fell with Jo