Sunday 7 August 2011

It's more than just walking

Sunset near Goswick
I have just got back from 5 days of walking the Northumberland Coast Path.   A sixty mile walk from Cresswell in Northumberland to Berwick Upon Tweed.  It was an intriguing few days, helped by the fact that we decided to camp along the walk (something that is a bit difficult for the first half!!).

I can’t say enough about the beauty of the Northumberland Coast.  Magnificent beaches, castles, rocks and cliffs make it a spectacular journey - I described Northumberland as Britain’s best kept secret and I really do think that’s appropriate.  But we also met some fascinating people and received some amazing hospitality.
Bamburgh Castle
On the second night we stayed at the Camping and Caravan Club site at Beadnell Bay.  We got there at the end of our longest day and were absolutely shattered.  The managers at the site recognised this and were kind enough to let us stay in an already erected frame tent that was empty for the night rather than put our own tent up.   It didn’t save us much time, but it was a lovely gesture that they did not have to make.  The next day’s walking, from Beadnell to Belford was pretty wet and we got to Bluebell Farm campsite at Belford pretty soaked (being wet doesn’t have to stop you enjoying yourself by the way - it was a great day’s walking), as a result we asked the owners of the site if we could use their bunkhouse instead.  It would have been really easy for them to say no - we were the only guests at the bunkhouse and it was probably not worth the few extra pounds they made to open it up for us.  But they did, and indeed put the heating on so we could get everything dry overnight.  Again, we would have coped without this, but it was a nice gesture that made life easier for us.

On another night we reached a remote campsite and I mentioned to Angela (my amazing wife) that I would love a beer, although we had no chance of finding a shop, ten minutes later we bumped in to someone we had briefly bumped into a few days earlier and he immediately offered me a beer.

On our final night we met Aaron who originates from Wexford in Ireland.  He was getting somewhat frustrated with life and so sold everything he owned, bought some camping gear and went walking around Britain.  When we met him he had been walking for four months, wild camping most nights.  We ended up walking the final stretch of the Coast path with him and I have to say I totally admire what he has chosen to do.   How many of us would have the courage to do something like that?

Long walks like these are great experiences.  It is the second one Angela and I have completed and it certainly won’t be the last.  They are great for meeting people, learning about life and a great way of seeing our marvellous country.

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