A Walker’s Journal by Anthony Linick
When it was time for our annual June walk in 2011, Marge, complaining of sore knees, begged off – and that meant that for the first time in our long walking history it would be just me and Tosh hitting the trail. Not wanting anything too challenging we chose the Northumberland Coast Path. This 64-mile route would bring us into entirely new territory for us and close to a number of interesting sites in the process.
We relied in this case on the services of the Mickledore Travel Company, located in Keswick, and they booked our accommodation, arranged for the transfer of our baggage from place to place, and supplied us with a copy of the guidebook, a publication of the Northumberland County Council. There are other service providers, easily discovered on the Internet, and you can, of course, undertake your own search for accommodation. If you are entirely new to this kind of undertaking you may find some useful hints in how to get started in in my book, A Walker’s Alphabet: Adventures on the long-distance footpaths of Great Britain – published in 2010 and available from the publisher at www.authorhouse.co.uk or from www.authorhouse.com or from www.amazon.co.uk or from www.amazon.com.
The Northumberland Coast Path is part of the “North Sea Trail,” one that also includes sections in Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. It is waymarked and, at least along the coastal stretches, it is hard to get lost for long – but walkers may want to supplement the Council’s guidebook with the relevant Ordnance Survey maps; in the Explorer series these would be 325, 332, 340 and 346 and in the Landranger series numbers 81 and 75. Maps are particularly useful in the day or so of walking, between Seahouses and Holy Island, when the route abandons the coast.
The route is usually divided into six stages, with a start in Cresswell in the south and a finish at Berwick-on-Tweed in the north. We did our own version of these stages and found the route to be full of visual interest and with a greater variety of scenery than one might have expected. It was not particularly strenuous. (You can always let me know how you got on by leaving word via the Contact Page.)
Here is the lineup as we walked it.
Day 1: Cresswell to Warkworth – 11 miles
Day 2: Warkworth to Craster – 13 miles
Day 3: Craster to Seahouses – 10.5 miles
Day 4: Seahouses to Belford – 9 miles
Day 5: Belford to Fenwick – 6 miles
Day 6: Fenwick to Berwick-on-Tweed – 12.5 miles