Berwick to Middlesborough - 155 miles approx.

The delightful walled town of Berwick upon Tweed marks the start of the English coastline. South of Berwick and the Tweed estuary are miles and miles of golden, unspoilt sandy beaches.

Beautiful unspoilt and quiet beaches South of Berwick

The priory of Lindisfarne

A few miles south and the Island of Lindisfarne is reached. Island but really a rocky mound in a mud flat connected to the mainland by a causeway covered over by the seas twice daily.

Lindisfarne is quite special. Otherwise known as Holy Island it was settled by the Celtic missionary St Cuthbert who establisged a priory and hermitage here. Credited as bring Christianity to England St Cuthbert was buried on the island and today the Priory is a shrine and pilgramage centre attracting thousands of visitors every year.

The Castle of Lindisfarne

Well, when English Heritage, the custodians of the priory, allow them to. Obviously the pilgramage business is a bit slow in winter, the priory was closed to visitors.

Not wishing to be controversial but shouldn't such an important national monument as Lindisfarne priory is be kept open at all times?

Lindisfarne is a pleasant small village with a castle managed by the National Trust - who keep it open in all seasons and in all weathers, some pleasant views, the excitement of being cut off by the tide, and probably one of the most important historical sites in the country - when it's open.


The Albert of Lindisfarne

This stretch of coastline, almost all through Northumberland, can best be described as pristine beaches of clean sand interspersed with castles. After Lindisfarne is the beautiful Bambrugh Castle followed by more castles all the way to the small port of Craster.

Craster is a nice small port. Pleasant pub nearby where Albert and I spent the night, then on to Newbiggin on sea.

Newbiggin on sea

Probably very few people know of Newbiggin on sea. For me it is one of the most honest and important historical sites in the country.

No knights, queens, kings starred here. No revolutions, riots or civil war battles were fought here. However Newbiggin is a microcosm of the change in Britain from an agrarian society to an industrial one.

First it was a small fishing port, then someone discovered coal so it became a mining town, then the herring fishing expanded then in 1851 came the lifeboat. THe tales of hardship of the miners, the herorism of the lifeboat crews, the immense toil of the fishwives, the courage and sacrifice of the fishing boat crews are all told in a simple, honest visitor centre on the coast.

If you are near here please go, you can get a ,lovely cup of tea in the cafe, and the simple story of the life of just one small town in the Northeast of England will enrich your life.

Marsden, the Rock and Lift shaft

After Newbiggin it is the North Easts "blackpool", Whitley bay, before the Tyne tunnel leaves Northumberland and the glorious Durham coast coastline.

On the southern estuary of the Tyne stands South Shields and just south of there the Grotto of Marsden Rock, golden sands, a bar restaurant, all reached by either steep steps down the cliff or more easily a lift propped up against the cliff.

Glorious sand, glorious scenery

I love Marsden. As a child I used to spend a lot of summer holidays playing here.

From Marsden the road, edging a lovely green making a gorgeous cluff top walk, runs into the mining village of Whitburn before linking with another major industrial urban sprawl, Sunderland.

The coal and shipbuilding have gone now, industries that once employed my maternal family, but the golden sandy beach of Roker remains and Sunderland has rejuvenated itself into a thriving,  vibrant metropolis.

Roker beach and it's rather out of place "Barbara Hepworth type" sculptures.

From Roker Sunderland has to be driven through before reconnecting to the coast.

In those long off days when I was a child the rest of the Durham coastline would have been an industrial maelstrom best avoided unless you had to. Mining villages, steel, ship building, fishing etc.

Now its beautiful, Easington almost a new town, Seaham beautiful in its sea front rejuvenation.

Finally Hartlepool, the River Tees and Hartlepool's equvalent of a coastal resort, Seaton Carew is reached.

The beach at Seaton Carew ... on a murky day

Arriving at the Tees estuary so is arriving at my arbitrary Southern end of North East England.


Next is Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Behind are fond memories. Unspoilt beaches, golden sands, unspectacular but honest seaside towns, a rich part of our national culture.


OK, enough maudling nostagia,  Onwards Albert!

Next section:   Yorkshire and Lincolnshire