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Frank's travels around Britain 2011.



Our first travelling day. 

You know that kind of English day when it's low grey cloud, no brightness, no shadows & it's dull, dull, dull! Well, we had five of them on the trot, no breaks, no release & a time to make photographers weep.

It all started so well ... we left in blazing sunshine but by Ripon, where we had our breakfast, the pattern for the next five days had set in.

Northumberland is one of those places in England, that deserves the name of God's own country. It is a land of castles, endless beaches and very few people to litter them. North of the huge Newcastle upon Tyne, it is full of gorgeous market towns, fishing villages and rolling hills.

We established ourselves in the truly lovely village of Warkworth. The whole village is cupped in the bend of the River Coquet.

Tourist attractions in the village include the castle, church, hermitage, river walks, and the nearby Northumberland Coast, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
St. Lawrence Church, is unique in Northumberland in being a large and almost completely Norman building. There has been a church on this site for around 1,200 years. The first record dates from 737AD when King Ceolwulf of Northumbria gave the church and village to the Abbot and monks of Lindisfarne. The church was the scene of a terrible massacre in 1174, when some 300 of the townsfolk, seeking refuge there from Scottish raiders, were brutally put to the sword and butchered by Duncan, Earl of Fife. Warkworth Castle is situated at the west end of the main street, at the top of the hill. Warkworth boasts three pubs, two hotels, a number of cafés, restaurants and tearooms, a chocolate shop and patisserie, a general store, and several galleries / boutiques.

 Day after day passed, as we waited to take the picture of this gorgeous place. No such luck. In the end we had to steal one from Google Images. Of course, any picture you find is bathed in the sunlight we failed to get!

Leaving Ripon, it's a long & boring but fast run up the famous A1 until we turned off for Durham. Now there is a glorious city! It is different as it holds the Norman Cathedral & an 11th century castle on this colossal rock outcrop that the River Wear has to snake around. A university city with its streets having to conform to it's long & illustrious past. Both the cathedral & castle were designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986. The Castle has been the home of Durham University since 1832, and to show its contrasts, HM Prison Durham is also located close to the city centre.

The City is hilly & it's street layout is based on the medieval sleeping farmer on top of a drunken horse principal. It just makes it a delight to wander around. It's best to remember that you can't get lost if you don't know where you going.

The present city can clearly be traced back to AD 995, when a group of monks from Lindisfarne chose the strategic high peninsula as a place to settle with the body of Saint Cuthbert, that had previously lain in Chester-le-Street, founding a church there.

Such a place deserves a terrific legend & Durham does not fail on that account either. Local legend states that the city was founded in A.D. 995 by divine intervention. The 12th-century chronicler, Symeon of Durham, recounts that after wandering in the north, Saint Cuthbert’s bier miraculously came to a halt at the hill of Warden Law and, despite the effort of the congregation, would not move. Aldhun, Bishop of Chester-le-Street and leader of the order, decreed a holy fast of three days, accompanied by prayers to the saint. Saint Bede recounts that during this fast, Saint Cuthbert appeared to the monk Eadmer with instructions that the coffin should be taken to Dun Holm.
After Eadmer’s revelation, Aldhun found that he was able to move the bier, but did not know where Dun Holm was. By chance later that day, the monks came across a milkmaid at Mount Joy (southeast of present-day Durham). She stated that she was seeking her lost dun cow, which she had last seen at Dun Holm. The monks, realising that this was a sign from the saint, followed her. They settled at a "wooded hill-island formed by a tight gorge-like meander of the River Wear." After arriving at their destination, they erected the vestiges of Durham Cathedral, which was a "modest building." Symeon states that this was the first building in the city and, unfortunately, does not remain today having been supplanted by the Norman structure.

As legends go, it's good, but  with a monk's preference for making alcoholic drinks & throwing in a milkmaid, we think it's one of the better ones.

We had a cup of coffee in a beautiful old building by the side of the cathedral that was originally a school in 1414 & later in 1666 a home and hospital for 8 paupers. At the main door of the cathedral was a large knocker with a handle. This was for people in trouble to claim the sanctuary of the church. We were met inside by "meeters & greeters", dressed in robes, who asked us not to take photos or videos inside, with or without flash. Plying us with bookmarkers, they assured us it was the rules & there was no charge to enter the building. Immediately behind them was a large notice saying a voluntary contribution of £5 would be appreciated!

We wanted to be in Warkworth around three o'clock to get the key to our studio apartment. As the light fails around three anyway, it was no hardship. A young lady called Clare met us with the keys to our studio & was most helpful & obliging. This was especially needed when the electric up & over doors to the inner courtyard failed by Thursday.

The big surprise was a four poster bed in this tiny place! Now we have never seen the "romance" of these huge heavy lumps. You find it can be painful getting over the wooden sides onto the mattress when you get it wrong and you begin to realise why it's not that romantic. Now added to that, the thing had to be up against a wall in this tiny place, which caused massive ructions every time old people need to go for a wee at three in the morning. I am 73 with cancer & weak as a wet lettuce & Cynthia is only 4' 11", so just pulling it's weight away from the wall, to allow access from both sides, was a feat in itself.

It sound like a series of moans after the bed, but the portable table & chairs (uneven & most uncomfortable), a rock hard settee & the lack of instructions on how to work the "thermal grill" sort of took the shine off this place. (What the hell is a thermal grill anyway?). The owners seemed to have a romantic streak as the place was full of candles too. To be fair the kitchen area & en suite were perfectly adequate, plus it was always warm, a great relief on a cold week in November.  If the weather had been better, there was a nice garden area off it's own conservatory. Access was via an electronic up & over garage doors. They proved to not last the week but despite the best efforts of Clare & Frank, like some gadgets, they had a mind of their own & it fixed itself.


Day two & more of the greyness.

Most of today was taken up with meeting our friend Yvonne. She arranged to meet us for lunch in Morpeth. We arrived early, got our bearings, had a brew & a bijou shopette. We got a lovely souvenir of our break.

Now Morpeth is a nice town! Lots of shops, including many independents, a cracking small arcade which lead onto M&S & Morrison's & to be completely different .... a bagpipe museum! (which Cynthia was dying to visit and Frank kept conveniently forgetting!!)

She arranged to meet us at the Electric Wizard right by the car park. It belonged to the Wetherspoon group. Excellent food, obliging staff, nice areas to sit but they must arrange to get more staff in! It takes ages to get fed! Not that that is a problem with Frank & two chatting women. Yvonne is a joy, & despite being a bit immobile, very little seemed to get her down on this day. She has her little car & seems to get around fine.

There was a slight question with the gluten content on the menu. While Cynthia was away, Yvonne's son in law passed the window, it was soon all round town that she had been seen with a strange man and she immediately got a text saying she'd been spotted. "I'd get away with nothing!" Yvonne exclaimed. It was a long, fun filled lunch hour & such a joy to meet her at long last.

To end the day, as the light failed, we broke the habit of a lifetime & went to a shopping centre! The Metrocentre at Gateshead claims to be the largest in Europe & just trying to cover a couple of its giant areas, we can believe that! It's been years since Frank had customers there & warranted a visit every six weeks. Lots seemed familiar but so much was new too. We needed plenty of breaks & pauses to cope with it all.

Although the car parks were jammed full, inside was surprisingly empty & light shopping was easy. (As a man who doesn't shop, I'm amazed I'm writing this!!!!)

In 1980 few people realised that, when a power station’s waterlogged ash dump on the outskirts of Gateshead was chosen for development, the North East of England would be pioneering a retail revolution. The concept, planning and design of Metrocentre were essentially very simple. The aim was to provide a shopping and leisure centre that combined the best of North American innovation with all the lessons learnt from centuries of European shopping tradition.
Since opening in 1986 Metrocentre has become more than bricks and mortar. It is now part of the social fabric of the region where people come to meet as well as shop. Metrocentre celebrates it's 25th birthday in 2011. It still claims to be Europe's Largest Shopping and Leisure Centre.


Day three & extra greyness

Today was a red star day. We went to Beamish Outdoor Museum. Even though it was winter & only partially open, it was great value at £6:50. Beamish is a world famous museum telling the story of the people of North East England during the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian periods. Staffed by people in costume, it attempts to re-create life as it was then ... and very successfully too.

The town area, officially opened in 1985, depicts chiefly Victorian buildings in an evolved urban setting of 1913. These include the Annfield Plain Store (with Lampson Paragon operating cash carrier), a terrace of "professionals"’ houses (from Gateshead) "occupied" by a music teacher, dentist's surgery, a family home and solicitor’s office; a pub (the Sun Inn from Bishop Auckland; town stables and carriage shed (utilising iron roof trusses from Fleetwood) housing an extensive collection of horse-drawn vehicles; a branch office of the Sunderland Daily Echo, stationer’s and print shop; a sweet shop and manufactory; a garage; a branch of Barclays Bank (using components from Southport and Gateshead and a masonic temple (from Sunderland). There is a bandstand (from Gateshead) in a public park, together with drinking fountains and other examples of street furniture.

The vehicles that transport you around are lovely to photograph & the trams give out their unique sounds as they trundle up & down hill.

The one thing that transports you back in history are the staff. Dressed in period costume they bring the place to life. In the back room of the sweet shop a lady pummels hot sugar into sweets before your eyes, minutes later your eating your freshly made sample. You wouldn't believe the difference in taste between shop bought & fresh made Cinder toffee! In a miners cottage, a lass will just be sitting here knitting & bingo, your back in time. Some of the guys must spend their days cultivating their Victorian moustaches as they sport huge facial hair features. It's obvious that they all attempt to make this a living museum & not stuff hidden behind glass.

Cynthia had her moment! Admiring the horse in it's stable, she managed to drop her camera while taking his photograph! Of course, the horse, being bored to tears thought it all very interesting & it took a groom (luckily handy) to rescue it, without damage. There was a fine collection of carriages for the horses to show off with. It included a good reproduction of the famous "Clapham Omni Bus".

This is possibly derived from the phrase "Public opinion ... is the opinion of the bald-headed man at the back of the Clapham omnibus," coined by the 19th century journalist Walter Bagehot to describe the normal man of London. Clapham in south London at the time was a nondescript commuter suburb seen to represent "ordinary" London. Omnibus is now rather an archaic expression for a public bus, but was in common use by the judiciary at the beginning of the 20th century.

I think it was the solicitors office, with all it's dusty files, that made you glad computers came along & the dentist made us grateful for modern medicine!

It was very cold in the wind but this also meant the place was quieter than normal & it was very good for taking photographs despite the lack of sunshine. We were glad to find the warm cafe with it's reasonable prices & gluten free food available.

After a noisy, rattley, fun tram ride, we visited the Mining village with its Victorian school & Wesleyan church, complete with very large "magic lantern" projector & its pedal powered harmonium. The actual mine was closed (like most of Northumberland's attractions in winter) but it was truly atmospheric & enlightening.

The day was ended with a visit to see Cynthia's cousin Simon, his wife Christine & daughter Jane. We couldn't have been more welcomed & Christine managed to ruin any thoughts of a diet with a magnificent roast spread. They live about 45 minutes away from Beamish in Prudhoe, a village high in the hills above Newcastle & Gateshead. We could only think how good the views were as it was now pitch black & the dull skies never left us.


Day four & a grey Holy Island.

Oh how we wanted the sun to shine today! We were off to the North East's stunning coastal areas, starting with Lindisfarne or Holy Island, one of England's legendary places. Cut off by the tide twice a day, you need to check your timing before you venture there.

World famous or not, the Castle & Priory of Lindisfarne were closed! It must be a huge disappointment to people who come from across the world to see this place. The Priory was the site of a monastery founded by the Irish monk Saint Aidan, who had been sent from Iona off the west coast of Scotland to Northumbria at the request of King Oswald circa. AD 635. It became the base for Christian evangelising in the North of England and also sent a successful mission to Mercia. Monks from the community of Iona settled on the island. Northumberland's patron saint, Saint Cuthbert, was a monk and later Abbot of the monastery, and his miracles and life are recorded by the Venerable Bede. Cuthbert later became Bishop of Lindisfarne. He was buried here, his remains later transported to Durham Cathedral (along with the relics of Saint Eadfrith of Lindisfarne). Eadberht of Lindisfarne, the next bishop (and Saint) was buried in the place from which Cuthbert's body was exhumed earlier the same year when the priory was abandoned in the late ninth century.

At some point in the early 700s the famous illuminated manuscript known as the Lindisfarne Gospels, an illustrated Latin copy of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, was made probably at Lindisfarne and the artist was possibly Eadfrith, who later became Bishop of Lindisfarne. Sometime in the second half of the tenth century a monk named Aldred added an Anglo-Saxon ( Old English) gloss to the Latin text, producing the earliest surviving Old English copies of the Gospels. The Gospels were illustrated in an insular style containing a fusion of Celtic, Germanic and Roman elements; they were probably originally covered with a fine metal case made by a hermit called Billfrith.

The Northumbrians were the descendants of a heathen race of people who were in many ways no more civilised than the Scandinavian Vikings, who invaded Britain centuries later. St Aidan's death in 651 A.D, is said to have been related in a vision to a young shepherd boy called Cuthbert who lived in the hills somewhere near the River Tweed. The vision convinced Cuthbert that he should take up the life of a monk and at the age of sixteen, he entered the Northumbrian monastery of Melrose in Tweeddale (now in the southern borders of Scotland).
In 654 Cuthbert came to Lindisfarne, where his reputed gift of healing and legendary ability to work miracles, achieved far reaching fame for the island. Cuthbert was elected Bishop of Hexham in 684 A.D but exchanged the see for Lindisfarne, to become the fifth successor to Bishop Aidan. When Cuthbert died in 687 A.D, he was buried in accordance with his wishes on the island of Lindisfarne, but eleven years after his death, his body was found to be in an incorrupt state by the astonished monks of the island. The monks were now convinced that Cuthbert was a saint and pilgrims continued to flock to Lindisfarne in numbers as great as during Cuthbert's lifetime.

In 793, a Viking raid on Lindisfarne caused much consternation throughout the Christian west, and is now often taken as the beginning of the Viking Age. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records:
"In this year fierce, foreboding omens came over the land of Northumbria. There were excessive whirlwinds, lightning storms, and fiery dragons were seen flying in the sky. These signs were followed by great famine, and on January 8th the ravaging of heathen men destroyed God's church at Lindisfarne". Alcuin, a Northumbrian scholar in Charlemagne's court at the time, wrote:
"Never before has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a pagan race. . . .The heathens poured out the blood of saints around the altar, and trampled on the bodies of saints in the temple of God, like dung in the streets".
Viking raids in 875 led to the monks fleeing the island with St Cuthbert's bones (The bones of St Cuthbert are now buried at the Cathedral in Durham). The bishopric was transferred to Durham in AD 1000. The Lindisfarne Gospels now reside in the British Library London, somewhat to the annoyance of some Northumbrians, I would have thought. The priory was re-established in Norman times in 1093 as a Benedictine house and continued until its suppression in 1536 under Henry VIII.

Lindisfarne Castle, first built in 1550, sits romantically on the highest point of the island, a hill called Beblowe. The Castle has never witnessed any major battle or Border siege, although it was occupied by some Northumbrian Jacobites at the time of the 1715 Rising. Lindisfarne Castle was converted into a private residence by the well known British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1903. A small but superbly rugged looking building, it has been a National Trust property since 1944.

Inside the church of St. Mary's, in the south aisle, stands the imposing statue known as The Journey, depicting the monks of Lindisfarne carrying St. Cuthbert's body on the first stage of its journey to Durham and is probably the first thing to catch the visitor's eye. The sculpture is an acclaimed work of Dr Fenwick Lawson made up of 35 pieces of Elmwood, carved principally with a chain-saw. Rough hewn & very moving, it commands your attention. This has been loaned to St Mary's Church and a bronze copy has been placed in the Millennium Square in Durham, thus marking the start and finishing places of the journey of St Cuthbert's coffin between 698 and c920.

We travelled down the coast to Bamburgh to sample the tea & cakes in the village cafe. It is the site of a most imposing castle. (This area is full of imposing castles but this looks the part!). Of course it was closed, but the view alone is worth it. (oh for some blessed sunshine!)

It has a fascinating time line. Built on a basalt outcrop, the location was previously home to a fort of the native Britons known as Din Guarie and may have been the capital of the British kingdom of the region from the realm's foundation in c.420 until 547, the year of the first written reference to the castle. In that year the citadel was captured by the Anglo-Saxon rule Ida of Bernicia (Beornice) and became Ida's seat. It was briefly retaken by the Britons from his son Hussa during the war of 590 before being relieved later the same year. His grandson Æðelfriþ passed it on to his wife Bebba, from whom the early name Bebbanburgh was derived. The Vikings destroyed the original fortification in 993.
The Normans built a new castle on the site, which forms the core of the present one. William II unsuccessfully besieged it in 1095 during a revolt supported by its owner, Robert de Mowbray, Earl of Northumbria. After Robert was captured, his wife continued the defence until coerced to surrender by the king's threat to blind her husband. (Nice one, King ... always reasonable the Royals in those days)
Bamburgh then became the property of the reigning English monarch. Henry II probably built the keep. As an important English outpost, the castle was the target of occasional raids from Scotland. In 1464 during the Wars of the Roses, it became the first castle in England to be defeated by artillery, at the end of a nine-month siege by Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick.
The Forster family of Northumberland provided the Crown with twelve successive governors of the castle for some 400 years until the Crown granted ownership to Sir John Forster. The family retained ownership until Sir William Forster (d. 1700) was posthumously declared bankrupt, and his estates, including the castle, were sold to Lord Crew, Bishop of Durham (husband of his sister Dorothy) under an Act of Parliament to settle the debts.
The castle deteriorated but was restored by various owners during the 18th and 19th centuries. It was finally bought by the Victorian industrialist William Armstrong, (Tyneside industrialist who founded the Armstrong Whitworth manufacturing empire) who completed the restoration. The castle still belongs to the Armstrong family, and is opened to the public. It also hosts weddings and corporate events. It has been used as a film location since the 1920s, featuring in films such as Ivanhoe (1952), El Cid (1961), Mary, Queen of Scots (1972), and Elizabeth(1998). Now I call that an interesting & varied history!

Our next port of call was high on Frank's personnel list! The small fishing/tourist centre of Seahouses ... famed for it's fish & chips, a thing Frank finds hard to pass by. It should be noted here that Cynthia, who needs gluten free food, does her famous impression of unzipping a fish from it's batter. A thing of beauty & true skill that is a wonder to witness! We choose the Neptune, solely because it had more folks in there & we assumed everything would be freshly fried. It WAS delicious but we think you can be spoilt for choice of where to eat in this town.

It is also famed for its boat trips to the Farne Island to see & photograph, seals & puffins etc. A lady tried hard to persuade us to take a trip out there in her catamaran but as equally bad sailors, there isn't a sick bag big enough to cope. We saw it returning & had no doubt we made the right choice.

Both Bamburgh & Seahouses have museums dedicated to Grace Darling. In todays modern view of the equal sexes, why is her father hardly mentioned when he completed the rescue with her? Grace Horsley Darling, born in Bamburgh (24 November 1815 – 20 October 1842) was an English Victorian heroine who in 1838, along with her father, saved 13 people from the wreck of the SS Forfarshire. Without question a hugely brave thing to do. The weather was so bad, her father, a lighthouse keeper, thought the lifeboat wouldn't be launched, so he & his daughter took a rowing boat out (a 21 ft, 4-man Northumberland coble). Her father went out a second time with other crew members to rescue others they couldn't lift off originally. By todays standards it looks like its easier to promote a story with a girl as the lead! Grace must have handled boats all her life & damn well too! Was it second nature, a desperate situation or a dominate father? (or a combination of all three?)

Our fourth day wasn't finished yet. We had a walk around Alnwick. It's a very nice town, once again dominated by the castle. Nice small place to shop, have a break in a cafe & get some more pictures (yes even in the gathering murk of an unbroken grey day). Unfortunately, not a lot of praise can be heaped on it's market. The day we went it was very small & best described as rubbish!

There's an interesting window display of broken bottles (yes .. honest!). It's Ye Old Cross Inn in Narrowgate, however, this place is universally known to locals as the “Dirty Bottles” because of a window display that is said to have lain untouched for two centuries. Legend has it that a former landlord dropped stone dead while interfering with the bottles in the window  and no one has dared touch them since as they will be cursed. Its so dark & dirty, plus a gloomy day, that any pictures I took were cursed not to come out!

We found the statue of Harry Hotspur, erected just round the corner from the castle. It's there to commemorate 700 years of the Percy families connection with the town. He was one of the bold knights that went off to war either side of the 1400s. Unfortunately, he lifted his visor to get some air at the battle of Shrewsbury & an arrow made sure that was the end of Sir Harry.

As the light faded so early we went mad & visited the Metro Centre again to do some last minute shopping for the coming season. Although the car parks were full again, the place is so big that you can shop in relative comfort. (Please note, these are Cynthia's words: No real man would ever mutter them. Frank was told by a strange women "Stop messing around & get your wallet out!" (I admit I was acting the idiot in public & I deserved it!).


Travelling home in greyness.

It didn't take long to get the apartment squared away, mainly because Cynthia had done most of it the night before! We had planned a breakfast in the nearest pub but as it didn't open soon enough, we changed plans & headed for Morpeth & it's Morrisons. Nope! That didn't work as it doesn't have a cafe & the M&S restaurant are too posh to do a breakfast! By luck we found out about The Old Bakehouse. Its off Newgate St. down an alley (If you find T & G Allens on Newgate, its just across the road & through the arch way). Lovely people, freshly cooked food at a reasonable price. The breakfast is a bit of a belly buster with two eggs, two bacon, two sausage, fried bread, beans etc etc AND toast, butter & marmalade with unlimited tea or coffee all at under six quid. Nothing was too much trouble for them & they seemed to fill up with repeat customers that they greeted warmly. We need more places like this one!  Highly recommended.

It was then off to see Hadrian's Wall in all it freezing cold glory. The only lucky part was that no rain fell but the low cloud & wind chilled to the bone! Now the National Trust one at Housesteads was open, but for a creaking old man I'd never have made the climb up to it's lofty position. Instead we paid to see Vindolanda. What a good choice! Flatish, easy to get round, replica walls & guard towers to give you the feel of the place from a guards view point. The Vindolanda site museum conserves and displays finds from the site. The museum is set in gardens, which include full-sized reconstructions of  Roman temple, a Roman shop, Roman house and Northumbrian croft, all with audio presentations. Exhibits include Roman boots, shoes, armour, jewellery and coins, infra-red photographs of the writing tablets and, from 2011, a small selection of the tablets themselves, on loan from the British Museum. 2011 saw the reopening of the refurbished museum at Vindolanda, and also the Roman Army Museum at Carvoran, after 6.3 million pounds had been spent on revamping these museums with a Heritage Lottery Grant. These finds were so varied & beautifully displayed.

The museum is noted for the Vindolanda tablets. Because of the kind of ground they are found in, they are recovered in excellent condition. They are among the most important finds of military and private correspondence (written on wooden tablets) found anywhere in the Roman Empire.

There is a very nice cafe too. Not cheap but good.

The fort was originally constructed in turf and timber before Hadrian's Wall was built around 122 AD, and was repaired and rebuilt several times. Later, apparently after a period of abandonment when the garrison transferred to a fort on the Wall itself (probably Vercovicium, now known as Housesteads), a new stone fort was built approximately on the same site. This fort, and the civilian community abutting it, called a vicus, remained in existence until the end of the Roman period in Britain in 410. Scattered finds suggest that some type of settlement, possibly including an early church, survived well into the fifth century. The garrison were auxiliary infantry or cavalry units, not components of Roman legions. From the early third century AD onwards, this was the Fourth Cohort of Gauls. It had been presumed that this title was by this time purely nominal, with auxiliary troops being recruited locally, but an inscription found in a recent season of excavations suggests that native Gauls were still to be found in the regiment and that they liked to distinguish themselves from British soldiers.

This part-mounted unit was originally recruited from amongst the various tribes of the Gallic provinces, modern France. The Fourth Cohort of Gauls is attested on several stones from Chesterholm on the Stanegate in Northumberland dating from the early third century through to the fourth, where it is also recorded in the Notitia Dignitatum; the unit therefore had to be stationed at Risingham sometime before the third century. The regiment is recorded on two undated tombstones from Templeborough in South Yorkshire, which was clearly an earlier posting, and a couple of undated altarstones from Castlesteads in Cumbria, on Hadrian's Wall. A detachment of the unit is also recorded on another undated building inscription recovered from High Rochester in Northumberland, the next station along the Roman road north into the Scottish Borders.


The run home was in the eternal 5 day grey cloud, sometimes, on this last day, so thick it was fog. Tom Tom's Jane led us a merry dance down narrow lanes via the village of Whitfield & over the A686 moors & through Alston to Penrith & the M6. It was too gloomy & misty to see what were probably the best views anywhere.

Nevertheless, it was a brilliant five day break, full of interest & fun. One day we should go back in the sunshine .. we bet it's terrific! 


Links for information on this page:
Beamish Museum
Lindisfarne, the Holy Island
Grace Darling