" 1. Our Beadnell Holiday ~ Day 2 ~ Craster "
Date & Time: Tues 14th October 2014.
Locations : The Northumberland Coast north of Alnwick.
Location of Start : Craster Village car park,Craster, Northumberland ( NU 256 198 )
Places visited : Craster South, Howick Hall grounds and the coast path back to Craster.
Walk details : 6.1 mls, 300 feet of ascent, 3.5 hours.
Accommodation : Accommodation at the Beach Court Beadnell, Northumbria.
With : Ann and myself and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.
Weather : A breezy day with a good sea running.
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Northumbria seems to have a much more tourist friendly attitude to visitors
and we park at a convenient, purpose-made car park next to the visitor centre about a hundred yards outside the village.
A £2 parking charge gave us an all day ticket (unlike the Lakes where they can charge up to £7 a day in the honey pots)
and we were free to roam, traffic free, through the village or on a locally advertised country walk.
A friendly and well stocked Tourist Information Office and car park at the start of the walk.
[ That's Ann, Dylan and Harry . . . viewing on a left to right basis by the way.]
The main car park and this outer one have been constructed in the workings of the old Craster Quarry
" Wanted immediately a number of good hands that understand the dressing of the said stones for paving London streets.
Apply to Mr. Dan Craster at Preston. " . . . an advert from the Newcastle Courant of 14th March, 1772.
Once clear of the woods we struck out over the fields towards Craster South Farm.
The recommended route was on the public footpath through a field of cows, calves and a bull which wasn't particularly 'walker friendly'
especially with our two dog-shaped cow magnets . . . so we kept to an adjacent farm track to avoid any potential problems.
The alternative route added only a short distance and brought us round close to where they had been felling trees.
( Make sure you all do what the nice man with the big black hand says !)
We just looked at the timber stacks . . . in a more artistic way instead.
Just a short while later, whilst still in artistic mood, I was looking at a wall.
That fine structure surrounded the gardens of Howick Hall, famed as the home of Earl Grey.
It was 1830's Prime Minister Charles Grey who gave his name to the bergamot orange scented "Earl Grey Tea".
[ It is said that the citrus flavour from the bergamot oil in the tea tends to offset the preponderance of lime in the local water.]
However approaching the grounds from the 'non car park' direction meant we saw no notices about entrance fees
and it turned out that the present Earl is not dog friendly in respect of the gardens either . . . so we were politely asked to leave !
Regaining the advertised route we now headed out towards the coast,
passing the village of Howick and a fine straw crop recently bailed and waiting in the field.
Somewhere here are the remains of a Mesolithic encampment from the early stone age . . . a major historic site.
The calling of the geese made us look up to see this flock of migrating birds flying high above us.
The short road walk over, we head down the track for the last hundred yards or so to the coast.
It's a dry day but there's a strong easterly breeze causing quite strong waves to break on the rocks ahead of us.
The wonderfully named 'Sea Bathing Cottage'
presumably built by the Grey family so that they could indulge in a little sea swimming . . . a posh changing rooms perhaps ?
With a sea running like this and not a sandy beach in sight, I think there won't be any sea bathing done today !
Looking back as we set off north up the coast path.
The strong sea wall surrounding the cottage has that doorway in it to allow access to the rocks below.
On a day like today, watching the sea is entertainment in itself.
The waves crash in on the rocks below.
My eye was caught by a lobster pot float that was being tossed and then engulfed by the waves.
Ahead was Cullernose Point . . . and the towers of Dunstanburgh Castle away in the distance.
Chance to relax at Cullernose Bay
Some fine curved rock strata has been exposed at the head of the beach.
More artistic moments as I catch a 'study in safety'.
It would need a longer bit if string and a very strong arm to throw it to anyone bathing by the now distant Bathing House.
Onward and northward towards Craster.
The sea is roaring in over the rocks and causing some fine splashes . . . I went over to investigate.
The waves crashing into the area on the map called 'Black Hole'.
Click on the play button to get an idea of the day . . . just a minute of your time.
Plenty of sea foam about today which was being carried up into the coves by the strong breeze.
Other people and other dogs in about equal measure . . . Harry, and in particular Dylan, were having a great time.
There's a harbour entrance ahead but the channel into it is difficult to make out with this sort of sea running.
Approaching Craster harbour, the square structure marks the harbour entrance.
Out to sea, a stone cairn on the rocks acts as an outer marker.
With this easterly swell the water inside the harbour isn't exactly flat calm.
Several of the local boats have already been hauled clear of the water
but the slipway is clear in case the local inshore lifeboat needs to be called into action.
Craster Harbour with some old fishing creel and rope stacked behind the chairs.
The unusual square structure on the end of the pier was the base of a 1913 aerial ropeway system.
The stone from the quarries travelled down to the harbour on the ropeway
and was then carried out and loaded into boats waiting by the pier. An idea of how it worked can be seen below.
The other classic export of Craster of course was Herring !
The modern day remnant of this once important North Sea coastal industry is of course the famous Craster Kipper
. . . and where better to buy them than from Robson's of Craster (whose web site is www.kipper.co.uk of course)
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Our walk completed, an alternative (crab) sandwich purchased for a late lunch and it was time to head back.
The view from our room at Beach Court later that afternoon.
This area is really dog friendly and most folk walking on the beach had dog or more each.
As we relaxed and enjoyed a glass of something French, red and mildly alcoholic the sun steadily set in the west.
The sunset was beautiful tonight.
All too soon it was over and it was time to head out to the Craster Arms for an evening meal.
- - - o o o - - -
We had chosen the local hotel / pub tonight at Carole and Russ's suggestion as they were going there to enjoy playing some music.
Just a few locals enjoying all sorts of music.
Some folk, some rock and roll, with guitars, accordian, mandolin and banjo.
There were classic songs and others written and sung by individuals who live in the area.
They were even joined in the break by 'a visiting artist' . . . but after practicing his one number he declined to make a public performance.
[ Well it is difficult to remember the chords and the words after not picking up a guitar for many years.]
Still the dogs were impressed . . . as were we all . . . by the standard of music played that night.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220 or my Canon 1100D Digital SLR Camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . . a little more guitar practice at home before the next holiday.
Previous walk - 13th October 2014 Part 1 - Arrival at Beadnell
A previous time here - 24th to 29th September 2006 Beadnell and the Northumbrian Coast