Tuesday, July 31, 2007

31 July: Craster again

As DH had the day off, yesterday we went for a walk up the Northumberland coast, from Craster to Low Newton by the Sea. We did the same walk last September, and I decided not to take the same photos again, so see here for pictures.

As we arrived at the old quarry in Craster to park, there was already a scattering of wiry grey-heads with rucksacks and boots ferretting in car boots for maps and walking sticks. Many of them were wearing heavy boots and big rain jackets. Some even had woolly hats.

Now I know it hasn't been a brilliant summer (understatement of the year?), but it was bright sunshine, with a bit of a breeze. Well, a stiff breeze. From the north. But I was very comfortable in a T-shirt with a cotton shirt open over it jacket-wise.

Setting off northwards towards Dunstanburgh Castle, we were soon overtaking strollers. Once beyond the castle, there were fewer people (and hardly anybody on the golf course) till we came to the part of the beach near the cabins. Plenty of people sitting on the sand, most with stout windbreaks. Lots of dogs (with their people) enjoying the beach; a few games of beach cricket going on, and even some brave (or foolhardy) surfers, plus a sea kayaker, who presumably knew what he was doing.

As you walk up the beach, there are several little streams running down into the sea, just trickling across the sand. One of these is rather bigger, and the small jumps over the earlier ones were not going to get us over this. It was much too much effort to detour to the bridge behind the dunes, so we took a run at it...

At least I didn't do a victory roll on the sand when I reached the other side. DH had sand in his pullover, as well as a wet foot and leg that didn't quite get across. But discretion being the better part of getting wet and sandy, I had a very wet foot, and severe splashing on both trouser legs from having put my foot down in the middle of the stream.

It dried off by the time we got to the Ship Inn for lunch.

The wind was combining with an incoming tide to produce some pretty big waves. After our lunch and a little while sitting and watching the folk round the little bay at Low Newton, we walked back along the path behind the dunes. This gave us a bit of shelter - strangely the wind that had been in our faces was now not quite at our backs - and took us to the bridge over the stream we had not-quite-jumped going north. From the top of the dunes, the view of the succession of white waves sweeping into the bay was exhilarating.

We stood and watched the tide reaching a sand bank, which it quickly turned into an island. A father and son were still playing beach cricket on the sandbank, until the water reached the stumps, and then father had to carry son and stumps through the incoming tide to reach the dunes. Meanwhile, the waves were washing round the sandbank from both ends, and where they met there was a fascinating interaction of water flows. Some of the undercurrents produced must have been strong, as the sandbank was being re-shaped as we watched.

Rejoining the crowds between the castle and Craster, we got back to the car park to find so many vehicles parked there that it was difficult to manoeuvre out. As usual, I slept on the way home, then DH had a nap on the sofa. Good day.


KAZ said...

Sounds great.
I too wonder at the amount of 'stuff' most older (as in over 40) walkers carry around.
Kendal Mintcake and crampons?
I like to travel light - it makes the hills easier.
Congrats on your jump. I seem to remember that you have long legs.

I wouldn't have made it.

Kerry said...

I love your writing. It gives me a visual image of the place and people.
Many thanks.

stitchwort said...

kaz - what walkers carry in their rucksacks is like what women carry in their handbags; spare bootlaces and space blankets, binoculars and Collins field guides.
Been there and done that - now it's the "less is more" approach.

kerry - hello, are you sure you're in the right place? I don't think of this as "writing", just a bit of social chit-chat and witter, telling it like it is.
*blushes and returns to knitting*

Lucy said...

What a lovely walk! And Kerry's right, it's wonderful writing.