For a year we have been climbing hills and in doing so have given little attention to the coast, and coast is something that Northumberland does well. Yesterday was a day of sunshine and wind; a strong wind blowing offshore driving sand across the beach in mini sandstorms that blasted exposed faces. The sea wasn’t rough but the waves struggled as they came to shore with their breaking crests blown back out to sea in a swirl of spray that produced mini rainbows.
The coast between Low Newton and Dunstanburgh Castle is mostly a wide beach of pale sand but on occasions rocky platforms contained a few seaweed strewn rockpools. A small flock of sanderlings fed in some of these, seemingly oblivious to the constant stream of walkers passing by. In amongst this flock a few purple sandpipers stuck out, brown and grey against the white of the sandpipers.
Our walk took us down to Dunstanburgh Castle, a scattered set of ruins perched on a higher chunk of whin sill where it juts out into the sea. The remains are limited but the location is certainly striking and imposing. Nearby we encountered toads heading steadily to the ponds that remain on the landward side of the castle. The plants we found were nearly all yellow: celandine, primrose, dandelion, coltsfoot and an early cowslip, although scurvy grass provided a variation with its white blooms.