I had been waiting for almost 4 weeks for a 3 day weather-window in Scotland in order to continue my walk around the Ardgour peninsular. However, no such weather window was forthcoming, so instead, I decided to open a ‘Second Front’, beginning the long walk south down the east coast of England. These walks, beginning at Berwick-upon-Tweed, would be predominantly undertaken in Winter as an alternative to my primary focus on getting around the Scottish coast. I had decided to start my walk at Berwick because I wanted to try to keep my Scottish walks sequential and in one piece. I also decided to make this trip a two-day outing and would be staying at the Budle Bay campsite. This caravan and camping site is run by Jayne and Matt. Matt is a top bloke, very welcoming and helpful.
I set off very early from Shropshire, aiming to avoid the notorious rush-hour traffic around Gateshead and Newcastle. Unfortunately things did not turn out as planned, as on the drive up I was getting ominous warning signs that the M62 was closed for repairs. I managed to circle around Manchester, only to be foiled by further closures at the M60 junction. I had no option but to head off up the M66 towards Burnley and then on to Skipton and Harrogate. By this time I was already mingling with the early morning commuters. By the time I reached The Angel of The North, I was stuck in very slow-moving traffic on the A1. Almost an hour later and I had just cleared the traffic, but only just made the 9:07 bus from Waren Mill to Berwick-upon-Tweed.
As I got off the X18 bus in Berwick, I could see that it was to be an overcast, but dry, warm and still day. I immediately sought out a Greggs to buy coffee and a bacon/sausage bap. I crossed over the old bridge, one of four that cross the River Tweed close to the town. I continued along the south bank of the Tweed all the way till it spilt out into the North Sea. I was now walking along the Northumberland Coastal path and also the Lowry Trail, named after the painter L S Lowry, a regular visitor to Berwick.
This was the first bit of ‘real’ coastal walking I had done for a while and I was really happy to have some excellent views from the cliff-top grass track. At Cocklawburn Beach I descended to the beach, and continued walking on the sand which was firm and enabled good progress. I stayed on the beach for the next 4 miles, only coming back onto land when I reached the tidal road which ran out to Lindisfarne. Because Lindisfarne is a tidal island I had no plans to walk out to it, although I had been out to the island some 10 years before. I now joined joined the St Oswald and St Cuthberts Way’s, which also ran along the Northumberland Coasta Path. I could see a steady stream of traffic coming and going out along the tidal road to the island.
The next two miles was spent walking across agricultural land on a footpath that had seen little foot-fall over the years. The footpath emerged onto the very busy A1, but which fortunately offered a wide protective verge. After about a mile of walking along the main road I headed off down a minor road with worrying signs telling me that the road was closed ahead! I persevered on through the hamlets of Elwick and Easington. I finally came to the problem, which was a bridge that was being rebuilt after collapsing. I asked the guys on the bridge if it was ok to cross. The fact that I was already half-way across meant that I was crossing anyway! I continued along the minor road all the way into Budle Bay and the small hamlet of Waren Mill.
Matt, at the campsite, had recommended the fish and chip shop in the nearby village of Belford. He was not wrong, one of the best fish and chips I have had for some time and at £3.60 great value for money!
Distance today = 20 miles
Total distance = 3,252 miles