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The southern edge of Beadnell Bay
The southern edge of Beadnell Bay

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Route No 239 - Saturday 8 March 2008
Craster, Dunstanburgh Castle,
Low Newton-by-the-Sea, Beadnell - 10km
Northumberland . . .

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base
View the route in Google Earth

Map: OS Explorer 340 Holy Island & Bamburgh


The harbour at Craster
The harbour at Craster

This weekend we are having our usual long weekend break with two of my wife's sisters and their husbands. This year we have rented a cottage in Beadnell village on the Northumberland coast. As usual on the Saturday, the three wives are going sightseeing and shopping leaving the three husbands free to have a walk on this lovely part of coast. My wife agreed to drive the three of us down the coast to Craster and the plan was to walk back to Beadnell, about 10km.

Approaching Dunstanburgh Castle from Craster
Approaching Dunstanburgh Castle from Craster

Dunstanburgh Castle
Dunstanburgh Castle

Just beyond the castle we saw an unusual rock formation at the edge of the sea with clear horizontal bedding planes pinched into a pointed fold. It's hard to imagine the huge natural forces at work that produced it.

The weather was fine and bright with a strong wind blowing lots of dark shower clouds across the sky. My wife drove back to Beadnell and we set off from Craster harbour along the coast path to Dunstanburgh Castle about 2.5km away.

Oyster Catcher feeding on the beach in Embleton Bay
Oyster Catcher feeding on the beach in Embleton Bay

Folded rock formation near Dunstanburgh Castle
Folded rock formation near Dunstanburgh Castle
Heading north into Embleton Bay
Heading north into Embleton Bay

Looking back to Dunstanburgh Castle
Looking back to Dunstanburgh Castle

Along the way we saw various wading birds picking a living from the edge of the water, including an oystercatcher, some sanderlings, a redshank, and several that I could not identify.

We continued around the bay to Low Newton-by-the-Sea, where there is a little square of low houses facing the sea with the Ship Inn at the landward end of the square.

Looking back to Dunstanburgh Castle
Looking back to Dunstanburgh Castle

The little square at Low Newton-by-the-Sea
The little square at Low Newton-by-the-Sea

A retired roller
A retired roller

The clouds were racing across the sky and there seemed to be a bank of more persistent rain in the western sky. After our lunch we continued across the headland and into the southern end of Beadnell Bay.

From Low Newton-by-the-Sea we followed a path around the coastguard lookout point and across the headland. We found a comfortable spot sheltered from the wind on a low bank under some gorse bushes to sit for our lunch.

Wind taking the tops off the waves
Wind taking the tops off the waves

Blown sand whirling across the beach
Blown sand whirling across the beach

It takes you past the site of a summer tern nesting colony (you need strong headgear then against the dive-bombing attacks), and leads to a footbridge over Brunton Burn.

As we walked along the wind was whipping the sand acoss the beach in violent swirls. It's best to stick to the path behind the dunes on this first part of the bay.

Sanderling by the water's edge
Sanderling by the water's edge

Eider Ducks in Beadnell Bay
Eider Ducks in Beadnell Bay

Once over the footbridge we decided to abandon the beach in view of the deteriorating weather, and to stay on the path behind the dunes and through the caravan park back into Beadnell. The rain eased off as we reached the village and made our way back to our cottage.

We were a bit careless and continued along the beach only to find our way blocked by the burn which is quite a substantial watercourse. So we made our way along the bank of the burn to the footbridge, just as a heavy shower hit us and we were heading directly into the wind, so we were soaked in a couple of minutes.

Footbridge over Brunton Burn
Footbridge over Brunton Burn

Rainbow over Beadnell
Rainbow over Beadnell and Kelp stems uprooted by the winter storms

A car passed us in the village with lots of tooting and shouted comments. It was our wives who had obviously had a good day out. The whole route had been about 10km and had taken us just over four hours to walk including a couple of stops.

The Limekilns at Beadnell hrbour
The Limekilns at Beadnell hrbour