Thursday 28 May 2015
Beal to Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Hosted by Clive & Yvonne
I survived the rain through the night and woke to another beautiful sunny morning. I had small tents either side of me and it was disheartening to see how wet my tent was compared to theirs. At least it showed that my tent struggles are not all my fault. That settled it, I need to buy a better tent.
I eventually got the tent dry in the strong wind, made myself some porridge, admired the beautiful view and set off on the relatively short walk to Berwick. Although it was sunny, the wind was in my face and very strong, which made it quite hard going. Once past the marshy areas opposite Holy Island, I tried to walk along Goswick Sands but hadn’t taken account of the North Low River that flows out over the beach cutting it in two. I walked along looking for somewhere to cross but to no avail. I could have paddled if I’d taken my shoes and socks off, but as I was being sand blasted and struggling into the headwind I thought I’d leave the beach anyway in the hope of some shelter. I ended up almost turning back on myself and then struggled to find a way through the dunes until finally I reached Goswick Golf Club. I was relieved. Almost as soon as I picked up the coast path signs again they tried to send me further inland so I headed back towards the beach, braving the busy (and private) golf course, and stayed close to the dunes. It didn’t take long before I was back on the coast path and overlooking the beautiful Cocklawburn Beach. A few families were enjoying the beach, despite the gale force winds!
Chris’s friend, Ed, lives in a house overlooking the beach and had invited me in for a brew (no cups of tea in the Army, just brews). I had only walked 8 miles but was desperate for a break from the incessant wind so timing was perfect for me. Ed was out but his mum, Sue, was there and made me feel very welcome, feeding me tea, sandwiches and cake. I admired the views and watched from the window as squalls of rain came through, alternating with the sunshine, and I wasn’t keen on heading back out. Ed came back so I stayed for more tea and then, after I’d been there a good couple of hours, he offered me a lift the last few miles to Berwick as he had to go out anyway. I gratefully accepted.
I’d had a wonderful afternoon chatting to Ed and his family and was treated to a scenic drive the long way round to Berwick to take in some of the sights. Fantastic. We drove over the Union Bridge, possibly the oldest suspension bridge in the UK, that crosses the River Tweed and so I had my first foray into Scotland. Then we drove up to the viewpoint on Halidon Hill which has an incredible vista. I was lucky it was such a clear day and I could see for miles; right across to the Cheviots, South as far as Ross Castle, and of course the Farne Islands, Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island.
We drove into Berwick-Upon-tweed and had a quick drive around so I could admire the immaculately preserved Elizabethan town walls and see the home of Ed’s old regiment, the Kings Own Scottish Borderers. After he dropped me off I had a short walk along part of the wall to the Quayside where Clive and Yvonne have a beautiful town house with wonderful views across the mouth of the Tweed and out to sea.
Clive had heard about my trip ages ago and kindly offered me accommodation, and a wonderful meal, and use of his washing machine. What a perfect ending to the day. I had a lovely evening. Yet again some very kind people had made my day by being kind to a stranger.