Friday, December 5, 2014

Northumberland Day 3 - Exploring castles inside & out

For my last sunrise location of the trip, I took an early morning drive over to Dunstan Heads, to get another view of the magnificent ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. Once I had arrived on the coast, it was a 20 minute walk over the neighbouring golf course, which thankfully at this time of the morning was deserted, to get to the dramatic coastline.

The ocean shore along this stretch of remote headland is strewn with large, weathered boulders, worn smooth from the constant pounding of the relentless surf and battering winds.

I picked my way carefully over the slippery rocks, looking for a spot to set up in preparation for the rising sun. Once I had scouted around a bit, and duly admired my impressive surroundings, it became fairly clear that should the sun decide to rise, and I saw no reason it shouldn’t, I probably wouldn’t be witness to it.

The emerging sun displays brief show of light from behind the clouds.

There was a strength of cloud above me that looked like it meant business, and it wasn’t about to be moved along in any great hurry. Any sunrise would be entirely shrouded from view, and all I could hope for was that a bit of errant colour might sneak its way through the nebulous fortifications, and offer me a morsel of charity.

Looking across the jagged shore towards the ruins of Dunstanburgh.

Still, the clouds themselves were worth getting a few snaps of, as they jostled and whirled about above me, almost as if they were gathering above the distant tower, which looked utterly dwarfed beneath the gigantic atmosphere.

After a fleeting glimpse of the dawn light, which, for a brief moment, threw a handful of flaming tendrils along the underside of the billowing clouds, it was all over, and the day continued its opening act beneath a heavy sky.

A long exposure, capturing the flow of clouds over the motionless rocks below.

Once I had returned to the cottage to pack up and check out, I headed into Bamburgh for a wander round the famous castle and to get a bit of local history.

Once I had paid the rather lavish entrance fee I had a bit of time to kill, as the Keep, which contains all the historical rooms and paraphernalia didn’t open until ten, so I had a wander around the battlements, taking time to enjoy the pummelling wind and flat grey light, which lent the expansive views out to sea an ambience that could perhaps only be generously described as bleak.

It wasn’t long before I’d had my fill of the desolate view and I hurried down to the Armstrong and Aviation Artefacts Museum, whose display of engines, artillery, weaponry, and aviation artefacts from two world wars was actually quite interesting. I rather enjoyed touching the various pieces of aircraft that had been recovered from the surrounding sea over the years, like touching a bit of history.

By the time I had finished there, the Keep was open so I wandered over to the entrance, and began an exploration of the castle in all its glory.

A closer view of the castle on a sunny morning.

You can find out about the history of the castle here

In the mean time here are a few snaps from my phone I took on my historic ramble.

Kings Hall
The Cross Hall
No idea what this room is called.
Details from a print in one of the hallways

Looking along the walls of the keep,
past Kings Hall and the Gatehouse
Day two in Northumberland

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