About Me

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Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it

Sunday July 1st 2012 - Seahouses, Bamburgh and rain

I woke that morning to blue sky, fluffy white clouds and sunshine, and nothing but the sound of the birds in the nearby trees and the occasional crow of the resident cockerel. I didn't really need to make any plans for that day as I'd already got an idea of where I wanted to go - the Sunday market at Amble first, followed by a drive up the coast road to Seahouses and Bamburgh Castle and after that, well it was anyone's guess where I would end up. First off was a dog walk along the lane and back, then with my table and chair set out in the space between the tent and the van came a leisurely breakfast while the dogs lay on the grass a few yards away. Very occasionally I heard a train whizzing past on the East Coast rail line across the fields but they were gone in seconds and other than that it was a very quiet morning - the sort of morning which makes you want to do absolutely nothing, but doing nothing wouldn't get me any photos so eventually I decided to make a move. With the breakfast things put away and the dogs in the van I went across to the bungalow to pay my site fees then set off on my day of exploration.

The Sunday market at Amble harbour was a mixture of actual market stalls and car boot stalls, and though it wasn't a big market there seemed to be something for everyone. One of the clothes stalls was selling the type of casual tops I like, two for £5, so I bought a lilac one and a light blue one, and on another stall I managed to find some gas cartridges for my camping stove, so another fiver spent and I was a very happy bunny. Back at the van I stowed my purchases behind one of the seats then set off to see what I could find further up the coast.

My route from Amble took me through Warkworth, past the castle and north along the coast road, and it was when I rounded a bend a couple of miles along from Warkworth that I saw it just across the fields - what appeared to be a lagoon leading from the sea, with sailing boats in the water and a village beyond. This was definitely a good photograph opportunity, and just up ahead was a lane which, if my sense of direction was right, would lead me to it; I was destined to be disappointed though, as when I got almost to the end of the lane I was confronted by a 'private road' sign and I could go no further. However, I wasn't giving up the opportunity of a photo if I could get one, so I reversed the van a few yards back up the lane to where I could see over the hedge and by standing on the passenger side step and leaning on the open door, with the camera lens on zoom I managed to get a shot across the field in front of me; I didn't know how well it would turn out so I was pleasantly surprised when I checked - it was much better than I expected.

Looking at the map book it seemed that the village was Alnmouth, and what looked like a lagoon was actually part of the River Aln estuary; to get to the village itself I would have to continue along the main road then turn off a little way up. I was very tempted to go and have a look round but decided to follow my original plan then stop off there on my way back - a decision which, in a way, I was to regret later on. So my journey up the coast road continued and eventually I arrived at Seahouses, where I followed the signs through the little town and along to Bamburgh Castle. Unfortunately my visit there was extremely brief, in fact I didn't even get out of the van; when I reached the car park at the top of the hill I found that it cost £2 to park and £9 to go in the castle and the grounds - I didn't want to buy the place, just take a few photos, and as I wasn't prepared to pay that much I just drove round the car park and straight out again.

A short distance back down the road towards Seahouses was a grass verge where a few cars were parked, and a path lead through the dunes to the beach, so I pulled up there then I could take Sophie and Sugar for a decent walk. The beach was vast, with clumps of seaweed dotted here and there and the dogs had a great time running around and exploring, but I hadn't gone very far when the sun went in and a bank of dark grey cloud covered the sky so I thought I'd better make my way back to the van. It was a wise move too, as I'd only just put the dogs in the back when the heavens opened with a heavy downpour which lasted for about ten minutes, and apart from a couple of very brief shafts of sunlight later on the grey cloud stayed around for the rest of the day.

When the rain stopped I drove the rest of the way back to Seahouses and found that I could park along the harbour wall for a very reasonable hourly fee; the town was only a very small place so an hour was all I would really need just to wander about and take a few photos. A quick walk up the main street showed me nothing of interest, just a handful of shops and cafes and a couple of amusement places; one of the shops was a bakery and the cakes looked really nice so I got myself a couple to eat back at the van with my own brew instead of going in one of the cafes, then I had a short walk along the cliff top above the beach before wandering round the harbour.

Back at the van I fished my suitcase stove out from its storage place and made myself a coffee and had that and the cakes while watching the activities of various people on the harbourside. By the time I'd finished my coffee the time was up on my car park ticket, and as the sun was showing no sign of reappearing and there was nothing to linger for I drove back up to the coast road and started heading back south. Having looked at the map book I decided to have a look at a couple of little coastal places on the way, the first being Beadnell and the second Newton-by-the-Sea, but neither of them were anything to write home about and there was certainly nothing worth taking any photos of. A friend of mine, who had been to Northumberland earlier in the year, had told me that the beaches there were beautiful but to be honest I've seen nicer beaches in Norfolk and on Anglesey. I don't think the grey weather helped though - if it had stayed sunny I may have got a different impression altogether.

My final stop was back at Alnmouth, where I drove through the village and managed to find a place to park on the road leading down to the estuary. And what a different estuary it was to what I'd seen a few hours earlier - apart from the blue sky now being grey the tide had gone out, leaving a vast expanse of sand and dunes with the river running through and out to the sea, and the boats which had previously been bobbing about on the water were now beached on the sand. And that's when I wished that I'd taken the time to explore the place earlier when the weather was good, I could have got some really good shots then. As it was, I took the dogs and walked a little way along the sand, and after getting just one photograph I returned to the van and set off on the last few miles of my journey.

Back at the camp site I parked the van, made a sandwich and a brew and settled down to a couple of hours of evening tv, then as the daylight faded I took the dogs for their pre-bedtime walk along the lane. We weren't out for long and when we got back we were soon snuggled into our respective beds for the night; it had been a funny old day but still enjoyable in spite of the change in the weather. It was just a shame that I didn't get as many photos as I'd hoped for, but I could always revisit those places another time when hopefully the weather would be better.

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