After a wonderful and deliciously filling English breakfast – farm-fresh eggs, sausage, beans, bacon, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes –
it was time to say goodbye to the proprietors of Carraw B&B, Kevin & Leah, pack our few bags and head east towards the coast.
Setting our GPS for Aydon Castle, we were immediately redirected off of the main road and onto a lovely one-track lane. The first time I traveled to England, I was terrified of these tiny lanes and feared that I would perish in a head-on crash! But this was now my third time traipsing across the English countryside and I was not daunted in the least. David, however, sat in the passenger’s seat with eyes as big as half dollars!
Within half an hour, the road opened up and before us sat Aydon Castle – one of the finest and most unaltered examples of a 13th century English manor house. Set in a beautiful and secluded Northumberland woodland, it was originally built as an undefended residence, but almost immediately fortified on the outbreak of Anglo-Scottish warfare.
Here I am, taking a look at the outer fortified walls of the castle. They’re definitely showing signs of age, but I guess that’s to be expected – they’re over 700 years old!
Entering through the outer gates of the castle and amazed that many of the buildings are still intact.
David in the inner courtyard.
The manor house is on the left and the servant’s quarters and barn, on the right.
My favorite part of the estate – the orchard!
Another view of the orchard and manor house (not taken by me).
Walking around the perimeter of the grounds and listening to the sound of the river below.
Can you guess what this hole in the wall is for?
Here’s a hint: inside the building, this is where the bathroom’s located. You got it right…this is the sewer…leading out of the castle and down to the river below. Ugh!
Inside the great hall of the main manor house.
Can you imagine trying to stay warm with just one fireplace in each room? Brrr!
The kitchen area with a fireplace that filled the far wall.
One of the many sleeping chambers.
Up on the rampart walk that surrounds the inner courtyard.
I was increasingly intrigued by the plant life that had found a way to survive (without soil) in the tiny nooks and crannies on the castle walls and along the ramparts. These were some kind of petite violet, growing in a bed of moss. Beautiful!
A new seedling that’s just beginning to take hold.
After a couple of hours at Aydon Castle, the weather has begun to change (for the worse). Time to get back in the car and head to the coast – Seaham – a sea glass mecca.
My favorite beach for picking sea glass – once the site of a Victorian-era glass factory. After years of dumping slag glass into the ocean, beautiful orbs and smooth discs of multi-colored sea glass now dot Seaham’s pebbled shores.
Looking to the north towards Sunderland. Lots of gravel to search through…lots of sea glass waiting to be found!
It’s just like picking agates along the shores of Lake Superior…except there’s tea and scones waiting for us when we’re done here!
Bending down to pick up a lovely piece of sea glass.
This aqua beauty is a keeper!
I found another amazing piece…this one deserves to be photographed!
An amazing English “multi” that will make a lovely piece of jewelry one day.
Introducing David to my English friend, Robert, and his dog, Lucy.
Interesting caves…waiting to be explored!
David – my spelunker – checking out the inside of one of the many sandstone caves.
Feeling very content with our little stash of sea glass, we headed back to our peppy VW and headed north towards Beal.
Our route took us through a number of historical coastal towns. Looking out over the North Sea was the beautiful Warkworth Castle.
Not wanting to pass up another historical ruin, we decided to make a U-turn to take a closer look at this ancient building…
…only to discover that our VW was capable of time travel!
A few miles further north and we found ourselves, once again, on a single-track lane…this time contending with cows that were in no hurry to go anywhere!
With the weather getting foggier and the rain falling in earnest, this sign was a welcome sight!
Fenham Farm Bed & Breakfast – a lovely oasis on this rainy and foggy day.
Heading to the main house to check in to our room – the Sandpiper – formally the cow byre!
Rustic and modern – all at the same time!
Camera tucked inside my jacket, we take one last walk to the beach before the day is done.
David’s ready to head out too!
These guys obviously don’t get much company…they were quite taken with our presence.
Looking out over Foulwork Burn…hoping to get a glimpse of Holy Island through the haze.
There it is….Holy Island and the Lindisfarne Priory…waiting to be enjoyed on the morrow!
TO BE CONTINUED…..