The Northumberland Coast Path runs for 101 km (63 miles) from Cresswell, a small village about 30 km (20 miles) north of Newcastle upon Tyne, to Berwick-upon-Tweed, on the border with Scotland. For logistical reasons, my mate Pete and I decided to walk it from north to south and finish about a mile passed Cresswell, at Ellington. The walk was planned over 4 days, staying at Inns and B&Bs along the way.
I thought Day 1, from Berwick to Belford, might be the longest (at around 30 km or 18 miles), so we set off early, shortly after 8am. It was almost dark, but that turned out to be the low, brooding clouds overhead, which persisted for most of the day. That is except for 30 minutes or so, when we had some very light hail.
Little did we know it, but we were to risk life and limb… (The things I do to bring you these posts!) Not only did we have to navigate our way through an old Military Target area (see Warning sign, pic 12), but we also had to cross the East Coast main railway line – TWICE. Fortunately though, in the UK, Health and Safety is paramount, so we had to ring the Signalman before crossing. Pete phoned and was asked some obligatory questions (calls may be recorded in case of accidents, and any litigation, no doubt):
a) How many of you are there ? Answer given: 2
b) Are any of you disabled or requiring assistance ? Answer: No
c) How long will it take you to cross ? Answer: Just a jiffy!
The signalman obviously thought this was fast enough, so he said it was ok for us to cross.
So how long do you think a jiffy is?
With a big thanks to Pete for some of these pictures (as watermarked) and in the 3 posts to follow.