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Other Trips:- St Abbs Head to Pease Bay...... Berwick to Eyemouth...... River Tweed...... Circumnavigation of Holy Island...... The Farne Islands...... Boulmer to Amble...... Coquet Island......
This is a lovely trip with something for everyone, long sandy beaches, rocky headlands, reefs and islands, a castle, and tiny fishing harbours and villages.
There is little tidal flow along this section of the coast.
Distance 10km from Beadnell to Craster and a further 8km Craster to Boulmer.
Launching from Nackers Hole turn south past Beadnell Point, home of the ruins of Ebba's chapel built in the 13 century.(Now little more than mounds in the ground.)
Rounding the point you come across Beadnell's tiny harbour dominated by two 18th century lime kilns.
Then cross the wide sweep of Beadnell Bay with its long sandy beach backed by sand dunes.
Rounding the snook with its shallow reef you find the sheltered sandy beach edged with rounded boulders of dolerite of Football Hole.
Again out round the reefs of Pern and Lobster Carrs you go past tilted limestone slabs to Newton Haven with it's tiny village of Low Newton. This beach is very sheltered and the pub in Newton square sells good beer and sandwiches, and if you fancy a short walk, 500m, the bird hide overlooking Newton Pools is worth a visit.
Leaving Newton you pass the islands of Emblestone and Out Carr, which often have a good seal population.
Now the castle of Dunstanburgh sitting on the winstone basalt rock of Castle Point draws you past the sandy beach of Embleton Bay.
Dunstanburgh castle was built in 1313 by the Earl of Lancaster who was executed for treason in 1322. Largely destroyed by gunfire during the War's of the Roses it was abandoned in 1464.
The area just off Castle Point and it's attendant reef, Thorns Carr, can produce haystacking waves in a swell.
2 km down the low rocky coast is the little village of Craster with it's small harbour protected by 2 small reefs lying just offshore, Little Carr and Muckle Carr.
Built in 1906 by the Craster family, the village quarried and exported stone for the kerbstones of London. Also when it was built 20 fishing boats were catching 2,000 herrings a day to be salted and smoked in the village.
Now the smokehouse produce the famous "Craster Kippers" and smoked salmon which are exported world wide.
The Jolly Fisherman, overlooking the harbour is famous for it's crab sandwiches.
A short distance south of Craster is Cullernose Point with a short south facing dolerite crag, it's columns full of Kittiwakes in the spring, with the cliffs just beyond the home of Fulmars. This area is regularly visited by porpoises.
Swine Den, the small bay just south of the Point is floored with whinstone boulders and south of this is arched and folded limestone backed by sandstone cliffs.
Beyond Cullernose Point the little cottage called the Bathing House, built by the Grey family in the Victorian era, comes into view on the cliff top. Immediately beyond this a narrow channel cuts through the low sandstone rocks into the little beach called Rumbling Kern, only accessible at high Water. Look out for the swimming pool cut into the rocks below the cottage.
Just south of Rumbling Kern see if you can find the small cave which cuts into the rock before opening to the sky where it's roof has collapsed. With a swell it becomes a lovely blow hole.
The coastline continues with low sandstone cliffs interspersed with sandy beaches and shallow reefs extending well out to sea.
Howick Haven is first, with just beyond the remains of a large ships boiler stranded on the rocks.
Beyond this is a small beach backed by a wooded valley with Howick burn running through it, beneath a small footbridge and into the sea. If you feel like stretching your legs there is a woodland walk up this lovely valley which after 2.5km brings you to Howick Hall and it's attendant gardens. The house was built in 1782 by the Grey family and the gardens are lovely with many species of plants collected from China.
From the sea the sides of the valley are carpeted in daffodils in the spring.
On the hill to the south overlooking the bay is the site of one of the oldest prehistoric houses ever found in Britain, over 10,000 years old. A reconstruction of the house can be seen at Millfield Village.
Sugar Sands and Howdiemont Sands are next, famous for a club BBQ and the funeral pyre of a venerable double kayak that sent up so much black smoke it attracted the attention of the rescue helicopter from RAF Boulmer.
Finally round the reef of Longhoughton Steel to finish at the fishing village of Boulmer, with it's Haven almost totally surrounded by a ring of rocks with just a narrow gap marked by the poles of the leading marks. A welcome shelter in any sort of swell.
A lifeboat was stationed here between 1825 and 1968 and their list of rescues along this wild coast is long.
There are six main launch sites for trips along this stretch of the coast.
There is no problem with access for this trip, apart from possibly being asked for a charge if you try to launch or land in Craster harbour. (Paddling in to look is not a problem.)
Typical bird species are :- Eiders, Guillemots, Razorbills, Shags, Cormorants, Fulmars, Kittiwakes.
Grey seals, especially around the islands off Newton.
Common dolphins and porpoises especially off Cullernose Point.