Northumberland Coast Part 2: Alnmouth

After our impromptu trip to Seahouses on Saturday, we were inspired to head up along the coast again on Sunday. As we were driving home, we passed by Alnmouth, somewhere that I think I might have been to as a child, but haven’t explored properly. Also, Johan has never been up there, so it was settled.

The weather was beautiful again on Sunday, so we had a lovely lazy breakfast of croissants and coffee, and pulled ourselves together. The drive up was pretty uneventful; we came off the A1 at a random junction and headed East in the direction of Alnmouth, thinking “well, we can see the sea, so we’ll just head for that” and ended up pootling along a super windy country road. Coming into Alnmouth, we wound through the town and made our way to the large car park, overlooking the beach, parked up and made a beeline for the icecream truck (of course).

Icecreams in hand, we toddled off for a walk along the beach – it’s beautiful up there! I made friends with a dog, who I think was more interested in my icecream, as we made our way up the beach and along to the harbour where a  collection of fishing boats waiting obligingly to have their photos taken.

By this point we were getting hungry, and so turned our plod into a mission to find fish and chips (now you want fish and chips, don’t you). Unfortunately, we forgot that it was Sunday and nowhere was open/serving (the horror). Even after abandoning our efforts in Alnmouth and heading further along the coast. We were desperate for a bag of chips, but there was nowhere open! I mean, haway Northern coast chippies, sort it out!

We won in the end though; mama Imber made us a dinner and greeted us with a cider upon arrival…marvellous!

Northumberland Coast Part 1: Seahouses

We are so lucky to live so close to the beautiful Northumberland coast, and so last weekend we took ourselves on a couple of mini adventures, to explore the dunes and beaches north of my home town of Cramlington.

Johan had been away the previous week, and arrived back in Newcastle on Saturday morning. We had a wonderfully lazy late morning/afternoon catching up with each other after a week apart, but eventually we realised that we’d have to feed ourselves at some point! Neither of us could be fussed with cooking (that and there was nothing in the house) so I tentatively suggested a chippy tea. This then led to “Shall we have a look up the coast?” and “You haven’t been to Seahouses before, have you?”. And so we (I) packed the customary accompaniment of cameras, grabbed a couple of layers and headed for the A1. We decided to go the quicker, less scenic route on the way there as we were both getting hungry!

We arrived in Seahouses, found a parking spot (didn’t have to pay as we’d gone past the charge time – score!) and made a beeline for Neptune’s chippy, just across the road. We had only intended on getting some fish bites, but ended up with a full fish for me, and a battered smokey for Johan. Each with chips. The reputation garnered by this particular chippy is certainly founded in truth, as we sat and demolished our food in silence, punctured by “How’s yours?” … “Amazing, yours?”…”…muffled sounds of satisfied delight”. There’s nothing quite like chowing down on fresh fish and chips, sat outside with the dulcet tones of seagulls circling overhead.

Once we’d finished, we took ourselves for a lovely little wander along the dunes towards Bamburgh Castle, and down on to the beach.


Tyneside Micro-Tour Number One

Following an aborted effort to run from Chollerford back to our home in Newcastle last weekend due to a rather silly choice of footwear on my part, I had initially planned to repeat the challenge. A productive week at university had left me feeling a bit tired, and an evening of drinking compounded the effect so that on Sunday morning getting out of bed was somewhat difficult, and all thoughts of repeating the Chollerford run were abandoned for the time being. As an aside, if you have the good fortune to live in the North East, Chollerford to Hedden on the Wall is not a bad outing, although not as exciting as the wall further West.

Being an active sort of chap however, a weekend is never complete without a good couple of hours of exercise, but running inspiration was lacking and I can’t get away with running without inspiration. Cycling on the other hand felt like a pleasant alternative, and I thought I’d make use of the cycle paths around Newcastle and get out and see a little more of the Toon.

I elected to head down to the river from the flat, straight down Chillingham Road and on through Byker and Walker before hitting the Tyneside Cycle way (Sustrans Route 72). The track takes you along by the river (no surprises there) all the way out to Tynemouth, and is in a good state of repair pretty much the whole way. Add to the joy of a nice smooth path, the interesting and varied scenery encountered along the way, and the friendly Geordies passed on the journey, and this tour from the doorstep suddenly becomes very enticing.

Once in Tynemouth, I paused for a moment to let Lucy know the rest of my plans; we were fortunate enough to be treated to Sunday dinner at her parents’ house, so rather than just turn around and head back, I turned north and cycled up to Blyth along the sea front. If you haven’t experienced the Northumberland coast, I can highly recommend it; with open watery vistas to the right and lovely clean sea air this section of the journey was just as much a pleasure as the quieter cycle path.

Heading through Whitley Bay brought me in close proximity with some of the less savoury drivers, out on the roads in their huge cars and lack of patience. Nothing ever feels as sweet as the ability to cycle past on the cycle path, casually breezing past those who had previously cut you up and honked at others for no reason.

After the final few miles of pushing up to Blyth, I turned inland towards Cramlington and an excellent Sunday Dinner. What a perfect end to a lazy day, rolling up for a quick shower followed by excellent grub.

All I have left to say is that it is always worth thinking about adventures, however small, and whilst I’d always advocate getting out into the countryside, sometimes it’s worth having a micro-tour of your own back yard.  I for one will use the fantastic facility that is Newcastle upon Tyne for more adventuring, especially when I’m just not feeling up to a hard, damp run.


Post by Johan