Saturday 19 October 2013--The X18 bus was one of last year's great discoveries. The route runs parallel to the Northumbrian coast, from
Newcastle to Berwick, taking four hours in each direction. The train takes forty minutes, if you're in a hurry; but of course, that's not what
the X18 is for. Knowing that I can connect easily to any number of points opens up a lot of possibilities. Today, I will ride down to Alnmouth,
and walk north on the beach as far as time and energy permit. I intend to walk at least as far as Craster, and hope to get as far as Low Newton
for a pint at the Ship.
The BBC this morning said the day would start gray and then brighten. Instead, the gray darkens as the bus approaches Alnmouth, and it's raining as I start north. It slacks off after a while, and I enjoy the stroll along past Boulmer and Howick. Arrive in Craster at about 2:30. The northbound X18 is sitting in the bus stop, a serendipity I should probably take advantage of, but I've been thinking all day of that pint at the Ship. I press on, past Dunstanburgh Castle. High tide at Embleton forces me up onto the proper coastal trail, past the cottages at Embleton Links, just as the sun makes its tardy appearance. Approaching Low Newton, I check the bus schedule, and realize I can make the 4:52 from High Newton to Seahouses if I hustle. The alternatives are to take the 6:47, or walk the rest of the way. The latter isn't really an option...I'm beat, and it's a long way yet. I could have a pint or two or three and take the next bus, but I don't like to count on the last bus of the day, especially after a pint or two or three. I know the Ship will be very busy at a Saturday dinner hour, as well. So I miss my pint, after all, and hurry up the hill to the bus stop, sweating and cursing the ill-timed sun. I make it with a few minutes to spare.
The bus stop in Seahouses is right in front of my B&B. Shower, rest a bit, and head out for dinner and pints.