" 1. Our Beadnell Holiday ~ Day 3 ~ Druridge Bay ~ "
Date & Time: Wednesday 15th October 2014.
Locations : The Northumberland coast north (and today south) of Alnwick.
Places visited : Druridge Bay and Nature Reserve plus a Low Newton beach walk.
Accommodation : Accommodation at the Beach Court Beadnell, Northumbria.
With : Dave and Josie, Ann and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.
Weather : A lovely sunny day but still that keen wind.
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On Wednesday we arranged to meet up with friend to enjoy a day out together.
Dave and Josie are keen bird watchers and they suggested Druridge Bay, a location new to us,
so we headed south together and started our day at the nature reserve south of Amble.
Leaving Beadnell en-route to Druridge Bay.
This is the view over Nacker Hole (part of Beadnell Haven), the sheltered bay on the northern side of the headland,
. . . sheltered to everything but a good easterly blow of course.
The Farne Islands could be seen out to sea but the higher islands are hidden here by the headland.
Travelling south on the coastal road we pass Amble Harbour and the estuary of the River Coquet.
We failed to end up in the main car park of the Ladyburn Lake Nature Reserve due to a premature turn towards the sea shore.
The error worked in our favour however as we found a spot on the beach-side of the road barrier that gave us free parking.
A quick walk through the dunes brought us out onto the six mile long, wonderful sandy Druridge Bay.
It was a four mile stretch the other way, two miles this way, looking north.
The sun was temporarily obscured so everything appears a bit dark.
Back into full sunshine and down at the water's edge, a trio of sanderlings.
They rush back and fore and are joined by others to form a larger group at the water's edge.
Harry emerges dripping wet after sitting in a pool to cool down (presumably).
" So what's wrong with that ? "
There's a large number of other folk walking the beach, which extends well into the distance, but we decide to turn and head for the main reserve.
At the far end there's a blue paragliding rig of some sort that seems to be heading this way.
From the loftier height of the sand dunes we look down as the blue sail glides down the beach.
It turns and we see who . . . and what is on the ether end of the cables.
The 'land yacht' unusually has a trailer with a passenger it seems.
They control the para-sail nicely and disappear back up the beach at a fair rate of knotts.
- - - o o o - - -
Druridge Bay's nature reserve is based around Ladyburn Lake at the back of the sand dunes.
The lake is a reclaimed open cast workings, though looking at it you would hardly know.
The Druridge Bay Country Park offers visitor information and refreshments . . .
" The shop and cafe are open April to September and weekends during the rest of the year and the lake is available
for launching wind surfers and non-motorised boats. Sailing, windsurfing and canoeing courses are held each summer."
We plan to walk around the lake . . . don't panic . . . it's not that far and there's plenty to see on the way round.
The track gets narrower as we leave the visitor centre but it is a good path all the way round the lake.
Three "ugly ducklings" turn out to be beautiful swans . . . now where have I heard that before ?
First year feathers allow the young cygnets an element of camouflage in their nest or against the reeds.
The other two cygnets follow closely behind.
Two tufted ducks (see back of the neck), resplendent in black and white plumage.
. . . and hiding in the base of them a moorhen (with white stripe and red beak).
Two large adult swans make their way down towards us and the dogs.
You just want to move that piece of grass from its beak
but I don't think it would be a good idea to get that close . . . they are powerful and unpredictable creatures.
Mainly gulls on the grass by a car park beyond
though there are a couple of moor hens and ducks in there with them
They move to the water as we approach.
A splash landing for these two eider ducks.
Soon joined by a flight of mallard which land and disturb the water again.
Finally the two ducks who quietly vacate the grass in favour of a more aquatic haven.
Nearing the top of the lake a heron is fishing by the reeds.
The bridge was necessary as the ford was too deep to . . . well 'ford'.
Dylan takes an off lead look at the swans.
After venturing into the deep water he beats a hasty retreat
and begins to appreciate that not all other creatures want to play games.
As we walk round we glimpse more birds through the trees . . . a real Swan Lake.
We stopped for a brief moment on a wooden chair and the swan insisted on climbing out of the lake next to us, presumably hoping for our picnic left-overs.
Despite our protestations he continued to approach so we retreated in an onward direction (if one can do that) and left him rather disappointed.
A brief photo shoot from the day . . . Josie, Ann and Dave.
Where the open cast quarry road left the old excavation they've built a dam and sluice gate with this bridge over the top,
capturing the water to make the lake and so establish this lovely nature reserve.
Back round to where we started . . . there's the bridge on the far side.
- - - o o o - - -
Our visit over we head north once again in the cars.
Warkworth Castle stands defensively on the high ground at the head of the Coquet Estuary.
The weir in the river holds back a pool of water to complete the landscaped scene.
It would have prevented boats approaching the castle too but its origins may have been much more recent than this use suggests.
Three gulls use it as a vantage point to look out over the river.
This large cormorant sits in the middle of the river, on the stones below the weir.
A brief stop on the way through the town shows Warkworth Castle in close-up.
The web site adds . . . " Once home to the powerful Percy family who now reside in Alnwick Castle,
it was also home to 'Harry Hotspur', hero of many Border ballads and the bane of Scots raiders."
- - - o o o - - -
The afternoon not yet over, we stopped off at Low Newton for another beach walk.
It also enabled us to check out the Ship Inn for dinner tonight . . . but unfortunately they were fully booked.
[ If you favour an afternoon pint sitting out on the grass . . . print out this 360 degree photo, pin it to the underneath of your hat brim
. . . and stand out in your own garden ]
Down on the beach there's a thick tide-line of seaweed brought in by the strong easterly gales of the last few weeks.
. . . checking out the oyster catchers.
We walk south along the beach towards the distant ruin of Dunstanburgh Castle.
The children, more into play than bird watching, have brought their own red kite with them.
Group photo by Ann this time.
The castle is further away than the previous telephoto picture suggests.
The headland is formed by the same hard basalt rock that forms the Whinn Sill in the Pennines.
Redshank at the water's edge.
Male eider duck with its striking black and white plumage.
Fly-past by a high pitched oystercatcher, calling out on its flight across the beach.
Closer now but time to turn around for us.
Back to the cars parked in the village car park and think about where to have supper tonight.
. . . a problem solved by calling in the Joiners Arms at High Newton just a mile or so away.
A people friendly and dog-friendly welcome for us there plus an excellent meal.
- - - 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 good bird book or an expert on hand.
Previous walk - 14th October 2014 Beadnell 2 - A walk around Craster