Autumn is creeping in, with September gone after soaring temperatures followed by torrential rainfalls. The season change has caused us to pause and reflect on changes in our lives here in Newcastle. Dealing with loss of loved ones leads to recallibration of priorities and needs, and so my partner has cut down his hours and I have altered mine leaving us both free to spend Mondays walking in the beautiful North East landscape. If you get the opportunity, I can recommend walking for wellbeing.
Each week we have picked a route of around 10km, in different locations; coastal, moorland, riversides and woodland. Incredibly, all the routes so far have also included remarkably good cafes! (More on that later!) I haven’t stopped to get out my sketchbook yet but have been busy with my camera and collecting bag.
The walks have provided thinking time to mull over project ideas and the landscape is certainly proving inspirational.
Week 1: From Craster to Low Newton and back, via Dunstanburgh Castle
We started this walk with tea and toast at the Shoreline Cafe in Craster, truly excellent toast!
We found this spider hanging outside one of the little cottages on the dunes near Low Newton- beautiful markings
On our return the temperature seemed to have warmed up enough to get these little frogs hopping- we had to be very careful where we put our feet!
Dunstanburgh Castle looking dramatic against the sky line,
Lunch at the Ship Inn, Low Newton. It had to be crab sandwiches and kipper fish cakes!
A mad dash back to Newcastle saw us reach Grey Street in time to catch the end of stage 3 of the Gour of Britain bike race – think we overtook them when the riders got stuck at the level crossing in Widdrington!
Week 2: Allendale around Stobbs Cross
This walk started with a visit to an art gallery…and cafe- can you see a routine forming 🤣
We went to The Allendale Forge to see a beautiful textile art exhibition by the very talented Kate Slaughter and then got our energy levels up with a tasty vegetarian breakfast.
I found this walk quite hard, the landscape seemed bleak to me and the wind was fierce
Lower down the route, hedgerows were covered with rose hips, hawthorn berries and the last few blackberries.
We saw several beautiful brown butterflies whilst we were on the moor – I need to check if this caterpillar was related to them!
Week 3: Derwent Valley from Swalwell to Thornley Woods
We couldn’t go too far from home today- kid taxi duty later – but this gorgeous walk is only 9 miles away- so lucky to live where we do.
We walked a whole mile from the car park before ‘accidentally’ finding Land of Oak and Iron a heritage centre that just happens to have a lovely cafe attached 🤣 more toast and tea tested- 👍👍👍
We walked across the viaduct and then went down to follow the river.
Wasn’t quite so impressed to find this-almost as big as my foot!
Thornley Woods has an accessible sculpture trail- and another cafe! These walks are all easy to reach by bus from Newcastle too!
Week 4 Alnmouth to Lesbury,Bilton and Hipsburn and back
Heading up the A1 this week, calling at Swarland for…yes, tea and toast – you really need to try Nelsons in the Park 4 slices!!
I love Alnmouth, a village full of art and cafes right on the coast- this time though it was all about the river. So after a short walk along the beach we turned inland to find the Aln.
This little hut features in one of my miniature scenes
We walked through the golf course and across a field warning of bulls – luckily they seemed to be elsewhere.
This little robin was quite fierce- he flew right up to my face twice as we tried to pass him- surely it’s the wrong time of year for nesting?
Another viaduct- this trainspotter just missed the 1 o’clock to Edinburgh going overhead!
And after all those steps? A vegan spicy cauliflower pie fromScott’s of Alnmouth
I hope we can continue these walks as the weather turns, we’ve been lucky so far but if it does get grim, we might switch to urban walks with (more) cafes and cinemas!