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Dunstanburgh Castle seen across Embleton Bay as the tide recedes
Dunstanburgh Castle seen across Embleton Bay as the tide recedes

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Route No. 415 - Sunday 22 May 2011
Embleton, Dunstanburgh Castle,
Craster, Longhoughton - 12km
Northumberland . . .

Route map from Ordnance Survey Open Space service.

Map: OS Explorer 332 Alnwick & Amble


Leaving the bus stops in Embleton
Leaving the bus stops in Embleton

The road to the beach in Embleton
The road to the beach in Embleton

Beach path from Embleton Golf Club
Beach path from Embleton Golf Club

So that I could do a shorter walk I drove my car to Craster and got on the same bus as the rest of our group when it stopped there. From the bus stop in Embleton at map ref. NU230227, we walked along a path between the houses up to the beach road on the East of the village. We followed the road down to the Embleton Golf Club at map ref. NU239230. The road ends there and there is a footpath across the links course, over a little footbridge across Embleton Burn and out to the beach across the dunes.

This weekend we are staying in a holiday cottage with a group of friends in the village of Longhoughton near the coast in Northumberland. Today my friend John is leading a linear walk from Embleton back to Longhoughton. The plan is to start by getting the "Arriva" bus number 501 from Longhoughton to Embleton to walk back. The bus journey takes 15 to 20 minutes. The bus route 501 goes along the coast from Newcastle to Berwick-on-Tweed.

Footpath through Embleton
Footpath through Embleton

Heading for the beach from Embleton
Heading for the beach from Embleton

The beach at Embleton
The beach at Embleton

Dunstanbrugh Castle seen across Embleton Bay
Dunstanburgh Castle seen across Embleton Bay

Looking Northeast over Embleton Bay
Looking Northeast over Embleton Bay

Path through the dunes from Embleton
Path through the dunes from Embleton

Walking across Embleton Bay
Walking across Embleton Bay

Getting nearer to Dunstanburgh Castle
Getting nearer to Dunstanburgh Castle

To our right, looking northeast were the beach houses of the bay tucked away amongst the dunes. We walked across the sands towards the castle. After about 700m we reached the start of the rocky headland and left the beach behind to walk along the coastal path.

As we crossed the dunes and came out onto the beach there were wonderful views across Embleton Bay. The tide was going out to reveal the vast flat sands of the bay, and about 2km away to the southeast across the sands were the striking ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle on the rocky headland.

Walking around Embleton Bay
Walking around Embleton Bay

Looking Northeast over Embleton Bay
Looking Northeast over Embleton Bay

Leaving Embleton Bay
Leaving Embleton Bay

Looking back Northwards over Embleton Bay
Looking back Northwards over Embleton Bay

Path around the golf links to Dunstanburgh Castle
Path around the golf links to Dunstanburgh Castle

Sea thrift by the path
Sea thrift by the path

To our left there was an unusual rock formation of folded strata running out across the shore.

The thin soil by the path was full of wild flowers including sea thrift and wild geraniums.

Cranesbill or wild geranium by the path
Cranesbill or wild geranium by the path

War time pill box to defend the shore
War time pill box to defend the shore

Folded rock strata on the sea shore
Folded rock strata on the sea shore

A swan on the marsh below the castle
A swan on the marsh below the castle

Heading for Craster next to the sea
Heading for Craster next to the sea

From the castle we continued along the coastal path across the sheep pasture next to the rocky shore for about 2km to the village of Craster. We sat on the seats overlooking the little harbour for our lunch break.

The path led us round the foot of the hill topped by the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. It was an interesting and attractive place with grassland cropped short by the sheep, marshy pools and large areas of gorse covered with its yellow flowers.

Looking back to Dunstanburgh Castle
Looking back to Dunstanburgh Castle

Heading for Craster next to the sea
Heading for Craster next to the sea

The harbour at Craster
The harbour at Craster

Houses by the harbour at Craster
Houses by the harbour at Craster

Leaving Craster on the coastal path
Leaving Craster on the coastal path

I had left my car in Craster before catching the bus to Embleton. The rest of the group left Craster on the coastal path which went down the side of the pub to the cliff top.

Craster is famous for its kippers, smoked herring, and I called in the shop by the smokehouse to get some to take home. At Craster I left to group and drove back to our holiday cottage in Longhoughton.

Beached fishing boat in the harbour at Craster
Beached fishing boat in the harbour at Craster

Leaving Craster on the coastal path
Leaving Craster on the coastal path

Sea birds nesting on the cliff
Sea birds nesting on the cliff

Fulmars are members of the petrel family with prominent nostrils on the top of their beaks.

There were sea birds nesting on the cliffs mainly kittiwakes and Pete managed to take a photo of a pair of fulmars.

A pair of fulmars nesting on the cliff
A pair of fulmars nesting on the cliff

"The Bath House" holiday cottage by the sea
"The Bath House" holiday cottage by the sea

Sea anglers intent on their lines
Sea anglers intent on their lines

Just beyond the Bath House there was a group of sea anglers casting their lines from a rocky promontory. There were several sandy coves along this rocky shoreline.

Next they passed the "Bath House" which is now a holiday cottage right on the rocky shore with a small sandy cove next to it.

"The Bath House" holiday cottage by the sea
"The Bath House" holiday cottage by the sea

A little cove called "Sugar Sands"
A little cove called "Sugar Sands"

A replica Iron Age House
A replica Iron Age House near iron age site

About 350m inland just before the burn there was an iron age village and on the cliff top a replica iron age hut has been built, but it doesn't look to weather proof.

After about 3km from Craster the group reached the bridge over Howick Burn which flows down from the Howick Hall estate.

Howick Burn near the iron age village site
Howick Burn from the footbridge near the iron age village site

Bridge over Howick Burn flowing to the sea from the grounds of Howick Hall
Bridge over Howick Burn flowing to the sea from the grounds of Howick Hall

Howdiemont Sands
Howdiemont Sands

The lane back to Longhoughton
The lane back to Longhoughton

The church at Longhoughton
The church at Longhoughton

The whole route had been 12km and had taken almost five hours to walk including refreshment stops and time gazing at the amazing scenery along the Northumberland coast.

The group crossed the footbridge and continued along the coastal path for another 800m to a minor road at map ref. NU261156. Here they turned right to leave the coastal path and follow the road for over 2km, past Low Stead Farm, back into Longhoughton.

The lane passing through Low Stead Farm
The lane passing through Low Stead Farm

Monument in Longhoughton
School Green Sculpture in Longhoughton