So after our marathon run to Lake Garda at Easter (4900km round trip), we decided to stay closer to home and catch up with family and friends in England. It’s easy to forget what a beautiful little island (albeit sometimes a bit wet) this is.
We planned to take a trip to the North East of England and the county of Northumberland, looking for a campsite with minimal facilities to test our self-sufficiency and to stay away from the crowds. Scenery and views were high on the agenda, as well as catching up with friends. Unexpectedly several of our Syncro buddies also fancied the trip, which was great and we set off for another Syncro adventure, as none of us had spent much time in this area. First though, we had to get there and as it was a long trip and a Friday, which meant traffic, we decided to break the journey and gather together in one of our favourite places in the U.K., the Tan Hill Inn.
The Tan Hill is a 17th century pub located high on the Yorkshire Dales and is renowned for incredible hospitality in one of the most inhospitable places in the Dales. Perched on top of a windswept hill, the Tan Hill has rooms, great food, welcoming fireplaces and live music, including some big names (- we’re seeing Kim Wilde there in 2020!). But importantly for us, they offer not for profit cheap camping in the car park (all proceeds go to charities such as the local mountain rescue team) and have provided toilets and a shower for use. It’s a beautiful drive up, along twisty roads over the moorland, dodging sheep and when you’re ready (after a beer or three and some sleep) you can launch deeper into the Dales or head North.
We headed up via one of the UK’s most spectacular waterfalls, High Force, which was in full flow after several days of heavy rain. The water in the area is heavily coloured by the minerals in the peaty soil and it created a frothy cream caramel effect!
After seeing the waterfalls and visiting some family, we continued on into Northumberland, finally arriving in Budle Bay Farm. Northumberland is a revelation to me: from my childhood I remember it being dominated by coal mines, pit heads and slag (spoil) heaps. But now all that has gone. The only pithead we saw is a museum, the mines have closed down and the slag heaps have been landscaped to create a beautiful scenic vista, peppered with castles and history, with long, clean sandy beaches. Eat your heart out Game of Thrones!
Budle Bay Farm (not to be confused with Budle Bay campsite) is a small site, (did I mention it has no facilities), overlooking the Bay which is a nature reserve and has stunning view including Lindisfarne in the distance. The reserve is on the inland part of the bay, but the mouth of the bay opens up, meandering gently to the sea and is a haven for kite boarders, windsurfers and kayakers (cos it’s blummin windy!). Its just beautiful and because of the lack of facilities and the grassy steep slopes, only a very few determined campers stay there. The sunsets were gorgeous every night.
And that is Lindisfarne behind the orange truck… Those Trucking Celts.
Just a few miles to the South, an easy stroll along the beach is Bamburgh, home to a stunning castle, several fabulous (dog friendly) pubs, a fab butchers, a cricket green and the home and resting place of Grace Darling. A gentle 2.5 mile walk along the cliff to Bamburgh takes in a lighthouse, several WW2 coastal gun batteries and bunkers and glorious beaches. And of course after a couple of pints you get to walk home under dramatic skies and that sunset. I highly recommend everyone does this.
In part 2 we go to Lindisfarne, The Farne Islands and travel inland towards the Pennines and Kielder Water.