Northumberland revisited2nd October 2006
On Saturday, I got to revisit Northumberland and expand my knowledge of the county. The start was early but I did get to Newcastle-upon-Tyne by 10:40 and travelled north to Berwick-upon-Tweed aboard a rail replacement coach that very nearly got me there in time to catch the 12:00 bus to Wooler. Along the way, I caught glimpses of Bamburgh castle and Holy Island in the distance. I had plans to catch a bus back to Belford and walk to Bamburgh, and maybe beyond, before catching a bus back to Newcastle.
However, the call of the Cheviots proved too strong and I ended up in Wooler by 13:50 (a bit late, I know) after spending a little time taking in a little of what Berwick has to offer. In the glorious sunshine, everywhere looked fantastic but I had to choose between coast and hill and it was a difficult choice. After spending a few hours of exploring a section of St. Cuthbert’s Way, I continued to Alnwick where I only spent minutes before continuing back to Newcastle on a bus that took me round by Alnmouth (where I had been in January), Warkworth (home to an enticing castle) and Amble before it made its way to Morpeth and its final destination. From there, it was the railway that returned me home after a worthwhile day that had its share of tight transport connections, especially on the way home.
Following my ramble, my ideas and plans for exploring Northumberland have firmed up a little more. For the Northumberland National Park, there are a number of gateways with reasonable public transport options: Haltwhistle, Hexham, Bellingham, Rothbury, Wooler, Kelso and Kirk Yetholm. Now that I have been to Wooler, I can continue my explorations at leisure (all going well). St. Cuthbert’s Way, mentioned earlier, passes through the Cheviots on its way from Melrose in the Scottish Borders, before heading across Northumberland to its destination on Holy Island. The route reflects that taken by St. Cuthbert himself through his life. Alnwick, while home to historic Alnwick castle (home of the Duke of Northumberland), is also sited in hill country of its own and worthy a little more attention. Northumberland’s coast remains an attraction with places like Amble, Warkworth and others worth revisiting. In addition, I have recently learned that a long distance footpath following this coast and there are a good supply of cycle trails as well. With the land near the coast is reasonably flat as well which makes cycling a good option.