Saturday 6 October 2012--The first few days over are always a little rough for me. Getting some exercise helps, and taking a long walk on my
first full day keeps me from crawling back into bed midafternoon, helping to reset the clock. The plan is to repeat last year's walk to Low Newton-by-
the-sea, where we'll have lunch at the Ship Inn (not to be confused with the Olde Ship in Seahouses); then continue on to Dunstanburgh Castle and, time
permitting, Craster, before returning to the Ship for dinner. We'll taxi back to Seahouses.
We pass through Beadnell, stopping to look at the lime kilns, and start out along the beach toward Newton. A short way along, the Brunton Burn flows over the sands, a broad and shallow braid. Win tells me his shoes are not waterproof, and I get a bit cross with him. I had this very spot in mind when I told him, at least twice, to bring a suitable pair. I understand why he didn't--for this short trip, he flew with just a carry-on. And honestly, it's not that big a deal. There's a bridge over the burn above the beach, two or three hundred yards away. I guess I'm just grouchy from jet lag. I stubbornly slog across the burn while Win detours to the bridge, but I then turn up to meet him at the other end. From there, we elect to follow the path on the links behind the dunes, rather than return to the beach. Eventually we come out on the road above Low Newton.
At the Ship, we decide against lunch--breakfast was big, and still occupies the center--but manage a pint. I inquire about dinner reservations, and am very disappointed to learn they are booked solid already. I've failed to account for the fact that it's Saturday. We decide to push on and try our luck in Craster.
Dunstanburgh Castle is impressive from below, as it was meant to be. I know from experience that there's almost nothing to see inside. I hope Win realizes that I've saved him the four quid it would take to find out for himself.
We arrive at Craster and poke around a bit before settling in at the Jolly Fisherman for a pint. I inquire about dinner; they're booked up here, too, but are willing to squeeze us in if we'll eat right at 5:00. We're happy with that, not having had lunch. I go out to the village phone box--a working one, mirabile dictu!--and find one among several local taxi services that is willing to pick us up at 6:00. Lucky that, on a Saturday night.
We enjoy our dinner and pints, and are outside the pub shortly before 6:00. Win walks down the street, and waves me down to see the dramatic early evening sun illuminating Dunstanburgh Castle. I take a few photos, one eye out for the taxi. We return to the front of the pub and wait...and wait. At 6:20, I call the dispatcher, to be told that the taxi has been and gone. Evidently the taxis hereabouts don't look like taxis, and the coming and going of an unmarked car passed without us taking any notice. I'm told there is no chance of rebooking on a busy Saturday night, and, faced with an eleven-mile walk in the dark, I say some very rude things to the dispatcher, which is not to my credit. Jet lag.
We are lucky. We find out that the last northbound X18 bus will pass through at 6:32. It's an option I'd long ago dismissed, thinking we'd be eating at the Ship at 6:00 or so. Good we skipped lunch and dined early. Shortly after 7:00, we're in the Olde Ship, chatting with Colin, a widower who retired here from Newcastle. I can see that. It might not be what he had in mind...things don't go to plan as often as we'd like. If we end up in a good place in spite of that, we can't complain.