Nine days of walking, 8 of which were dry and mostly brilliantly sunny, 11 nights away in 9 different b&bs or small hotels, 17 different kinds of fish eaten (including 6 kipper breakfasts), more beaches than I could count and 2 happy people. These are the headline numbers from our holiday spent walking the Northumberland and Berwickshire Coastal Paths as arranged by Shepherds Walks Holidays.
September can be a beautiful month and the countryside through which we walked looked lovely under the big bright blue skies over the coast. There were fields of golden grain waiting to be harvested, other fields of stubble stacked with large rolls of winter feed. The hedgerows were full of fruits of various kinds and colour, including lots of spectacular wild rose hips glowing scarlet and shouting at the cerise flowers on the same bushes. On the first day of the Berwickshire coast path walk we walked alongside fields which were being ploughed ready for the next crop. We were both surprised at how much arable farming there is along the north east coast.
All of the places where we stayed were delightful. Each day we looked forward to seeing what our room would be like, knowing that it would be good. It’s unfair to single out any, but I must just mention a few for particular reasons.
My husband took his pastel crayons and paper so that he could create some pictures from the holiday. Pastel crayons are messy, so the ground floor room in which we stayed in Alnmouth was perfect with its little private patio outside our french windows. Similarly, the table in the garden of our Seahouses hosts was very convenient for the artist. Only the paper and the artist’s trousers ended up covered with pastels.
However, for nostalgia and the most memorable image of the holiday, our stay at Coldingham Bay takes some beating. We arrived at the beach at the end of a hot sunny day. The tide was well up and the sandy beach was busy with people doing what people do on a sunny day on a sandy beach. There were sandcastles, buckets and spades, people of all ages paddling in the sea and the little stream that runs down the beach, people sitting and enjoying the view, picnicking…. There were proper multicoloured beach huts at the back of the sandy beach, an old- fashioned beach cafe, enclosing cliffs and a few attractive houses nestling on the slope above the beach. Just like the beaches of my childhood!
Later in the evening we enjoyed a delicious home-cooked meal at a table with a view of the beach and sea. A bright red harvest moon rose out of the sea and trailed a red moon-glade across the gentle waves and along the wet sand towards us. When we returned to our room which had the same view, only higher up, we spent ages studying the moon through our binoculars. What a treat to be in such a lovely place at such a perfect time.
We were very lucky with our weather, of course, and that made the holiday, but all the work that Jackie and Jon put in with making the arrangements and then following them up set the stage for a great holiday. The 2 walks (Northumberland and Berwickshire Coastal Paths) fit very well together. We included a rest day in Berwick in the middle. It’s a holiday that we will remember with pleasure.