Tuesday 18th September 2007
Warkworth To Belford
The forecast for today is much better. The strong northerly has gone and the temperature is almost back to normal. Looking out the window there is a lot of blue sky with wisps of high cloud. Our hosts tell us about a new cycle track which now runs alongside the main road (but on the other side of the hedge) most of the way to Alnmouth. This apparently is a much better option than the track through the dunes which is shown on my map. We are soon sailing along with a light wind behind us on a good surface, with views out across the bay to Alnmouth. Having reached the town we go down towards the harbour and from here have wonderful views right back along Druridge Bay to Newbiggin in the distance. More spectacular views delight us about 2 miles north of Alnmouth.
In the village of Boulmer we pass two cyclists who are travelling south and we stop to ask them about the next part of the route. The map shows two alternatives for route 1 - one hugging the coast and the other inland. They have come along the coastal route and do not recommend this for the likes of a tandem - they had struggled on their single bikes equipped with road tyres. So we opt for the slightly longer route inland through the town of Longhoughton and passing Howick Hall - not that we could see it! By Craster we are ready for our first tea break of the day. Craster is a lovely little fishing port - although not much fishing these days - and it has great views along the coast northwards to the Castle at Dunstanburgh in the distance. After refreshment we spend a good half hour talking to a couple on the quayside - they had been renting a holiday home in the village on and off for fifty years and they reminisced about their family and about life and changes in the port. I was hoping to take lunch at the castle, but one look at the gates on the footpath to the castle put us off this idea. Instead we carried on along road to Dunstan Steads and parked the bike above the beach from where we could see the castle about a mile to the south.
Next stop is Bamburgh Castle - a grand building renovated by the Armstrong family and still lived in I believe. Again we had lovely views out along the coastline from high up on the castle ramparts. To the north we could just about make out Holy Island (tomorrow's port of call), and to the east the Farne Islands (see photo). After a tour round the castle we decide to opt for the short route (along the main road) to our B&B in Belford. As we cycle up and then down the steep hill into the village we are met by the sight of a young teenage girl grappling with a folder and pieces of Christmas music strewn across the road. We come to her rescue, together with another man, and manage to catch most of the pages that are blowing away in the wind. In return she gives us the directions to our B&B which is only just around the corner. What a great day this has been!
Mileage today 38.6 miles Total mileage so far 675.5 miles