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Pedal Power by Nick Veasey
  • Writer's pictureAnnette Culshaw

Castles and Kippers...

Updated: Jan 6, 2020

Romans, Castles and Reivers

Day 6: 06/09/19

We started the day at Warkworth Castle and ended at Bamburgh Castle, passing the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle on the way. So, only Reivers to come.... watch this space.

Altough it has been hard cycling today because of the strong headwinds and even stronger gusts of 30-40mph we have loved it. We left Warkworth and headed out along quiet lanes and cycleways with outstanding views. How we miss our DSLR cameras! We have only little point and shoot cameras with us which are not in the same league. It was sunny and relatively warm when we left and the quality of the air up here is so clear that the landscapes are in sharp focus. It is stunning to see. Our little cameras just not do it justice.

The first really stunning views were from the cycle track overlooking the pretty village of Almouth.

Overlooking Alnmouth

Rain was forecast at 11.00ish and we spotted a gorgeous little teashop so thought it would be a good idea to stop and have a coffee and cake whilst the rain passed over. We met a lovely couple who were out and about enjoying their Ebikes, so we spent a pleasant hour talking shop. The promised rain did not arrive all day.

Dark skys and a silver sea at Alnmouth

St Cuthberts Cross, Alnmouth

St Cuthberts Cross is reputed to be where St Cuthbert (634-687AD) agreed to become the Bishop of LIndesfarne when petitioned by the king.

From there to Craster, the home of kippers. The kipper industry was at the centre of commerce in this part of the North East as those of you who have seen the series "When The Boat Comes In" will know. (It is likely that for those of you younger than us two will never have heard of it.!)

All the retail outfits here were selling kipper products, memorabilia and kipper knick knacks. The cafe we visited specialised in Kipper burgers!! I suddenly realised that I have never, ever eaten a single kipper, so I thought I should sample one. However, upon reflection I decided that I simply could not face a kipper in a bun!

Craster Harbour, the home of the kipper industry

A fabulous cycle track followed which led us down farm tracks and through fields. We were relatively high up and the wind was fierce. We stopped to take a photo of Dunstanburgh Castle and the wind felled my bike. If the bike falls over it sets off an emergency alarm to my chosen contacts telling them I have been involved in an accident, which is great. However I could not switch off the perishing alarm in time so my son got the message that I had fallen and may need help!! He was on the phone within seconds which was amazing. Given he lives in Kent I am not sure what he could have done to help but he was there if we neded him.

Dunstanburgh Castle
The ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle

Built on the most magnificent scale, Dunstanburgh Castle stands on a remote headland in Northumberland.The castle was built at a time when relations between King Edward II and his most powerful baron, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, had become openly hostile. Lancaster began the fortress in 1313, and the latest archaeological research indicates that he built it on a far grander scale than was originally recognised, perhaps more as a symbol of his opposition to the king than as a military stronghold.

Unfortunately the earl failed to reach Dunstanburgh when his rebellion was defeated, and was taken and executed in 1322. Thereafter the castle passed eventually to John of Gaunt, who strengthened it against the Scots by converting the great twin towered gatehouse into a keep.

The focus of fierce fighting during the Wars of the Roses, it was twice besieged and captured by Yorkist forces, but subsequently fell into decay.

We then had a choice of either cycling down a rough coastal cycle path (descibed in our tour notes as unsuitable for road bikes) or take a road detour. We took the road detour through deep wooded and leafy lanes. It was lovely, but we both missed the coastal views that we have become used to.

We eventually arrived at Seahouses, a busy little fishing harbour and a typical seaside town with Fish and Chip shops dotted all over. We were feeling the effects of the strong headwinds by now, and also feeling a bit sore in our nether regions so stopped for a cuppa and a breather. From there we had our first glimpses of the stunning Bamburgh Castle described as the King of Castles!

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle

The coastal road to Bamburgh was so beautiful, with the large dunes running all the way between the spectacular beach and the road, but it was unbelievably windy. We were frequently blown inches sideways . We were delighted to arrive at our hotel The Mizen Head.

It is a pleasant hotel with friendly staff. Our bedroom is stunning. That is the good news. The bad news is it is on the top floor which means that our tired little legs have to go up and down carrying our panniers, bags, helmets, batteries and luggage. So I will sign out with a pic we took on our first day's ride. It was set outside a garden ....

Bob and Annette

Night Night

Annette & Bob

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