|Sunset from Holy Island Causeway|
My internet is now restored, albeit via a dongle in an area that has poor reception and following two phone calls to my service provider who admitted the local mast had a data reception fault on it, it is now working to a reasonable if somewhat slow standard.
Life is tootling on. I’ve just returned from a long weekend away in the beautiful countryside of Northumbria. I’ve only ever been there previously for work purposes and literally stayed for the day in Newcastle and returned without seeing the city or the countryside. However, for the sake of the need for relaxation, I decided to stay in the countryside at a place call Lowick half way between Berwick upon Tweed and Alnwick and adjacent to Holy Island.
|The causeway to Holy Island as the tide drops to allow traffic to pass to and from the mainland.|
The countryside is indeed beautiful and not as rugged as I imagined. The Cheviot Hills to the west were covered in snow and although the weather was cold, I was lucky and got plenty of sun although showers were never very far away and that did provide for some spectacular sky-scapes at times.
On the first evening I went to see the causeway to Holy Island and it was a shame because my itinerary did not allow for a visit to the island itself. The area is alive with seabirds of every kind around the causeway and as I arrived the tide was just going out allowing a few cars to start to cross to and from the island.
On day two I travelled to Berwick upon Tweed for the morning, English yet with a population of people with Scottish accents although officially it is called north Northumbrian, a mix between a Northumbrian accent and east Scottish accent.) . The town is lovely and in need of investment in parts, but there was a bit to see, the beautiful river Tweed and the defensive walls that surround it. Unfortunately the Barracks were closed for the season as was the town hall. I never quite understand this because there are still visitors, even in the depths of winter and early spring who would want access. I once went to Whitby Abbey in February and found the same inconvenience.
|The Tweed taken from the Royal Tweed Bridge|
Berwick has ‘changed hands’ many times between the Scots and English over the years and may even have been at war once with Russia. According to Wikipedia, the story goes as follows:
“The story tells that since Berwick had changed hands several times, it was traditionally regarded as a special, separate entity, and some proclamations referred to "England, Scotland and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed". One such was the declaration of the Crimean War against Russia in 1853, which Queen Victoria supposedly signed as "Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, Ireland, Berwick-upon-Tweed and all British Dominions". When the Treaty of Paris (1856) was signed to conclude the war, "Berwick-upon-Tweed" was left out. This meant that, supposedly, one of Britain's smallest towns was officially at war with one of the world's largest powers – and the conflict extended by the lack of a peace treaty for over a century.” Oh if only that were a true story.
The afternoon was spent in Eyemouth just north of the border in Scotland. This was a lovely little working port and again very quiet. There were seals in the harbour and the people were friendly (no jokes about Scottish independence please!)
|The memorial at Flodden Field|
On the way back, a visit to Coldstream for a cuppa and the site of the Battle of Flodden Fields in 1513 where there is an isolated and eerily quiet memorial on a hillside to the dead in this last famous (military) battle between the Scots and the English near a pretty but tiny village of Branxton.
The casualty figures are astounding with around 1,500 English dead and between 5,000 and 17,000 Scottish dead and James IV was killed in the battle, becoming the last monarch from Britain to suffer such a death.
|Bamburgh Castle in beautiful early spring sun|
The third day was spent travelling and between Lowick and home there were short sightseeing visits to Bamburgh Castle, Seahouses, a gorgeous little seaport south of Bamburgh and Durham as well as a flying visit to the magnificent Antony Gormley statue of the Angel of the North.
|The Angel of the North. Male or Female? (In my view, neither)|
A great weekend in lovely last winter/early spring weather.
Great to be back