It was 2010, and I was in the final stretch for moving to Australia. I must have gotten a thirst for exploring early though, and I spent much of final 12 months travelling to France or the Lake District. One day I read an article about top places to go in England, and was encouraged to visit the north-east coast.
I stayed at a B&B in a small town called Seahouses. My journey there was long into the night. I traveled straight from work in the north-west, traversing the passage across northern England. I passed Newcastle during sunset, but it was through stormy weather I traversed the coastal lanes to my accommodation. I was amused to see signs for Preston Tower (having left from my hometown of Preston earlier in the day). Still, I arrived safe and sound.
The next day I took a walk along the beach to Castle Bamburgh. It was windy, but dry and not too cold. As suits my tastes, it has a particular roughness, but with a rich spirit. The kind of place that makes you feel good just being there, taking the very best of nature.
I got to the castle, but didn’t explore inside. My joy is in the journey, not the destination. On the way back the tide was coming in fast. Had I waited another hour the beach would have been impassable.
The next day I visited Holy Island, or Lindisfarne, enjoying the sight of its unusual castle. Again I got to savour the natural state of the island, and the weather. I got more out of the isolated parts of the island than the castle.
It was a part of the country I’d barely experienced before, and I reflected it might be many years before the opportunity to visit again. I was only there a few days, but it was brief capture of a spirit of the UK that I suspect is under accessed. I’d definitely go back.