Jo’s Monday walk : The beauty of Bamburgh

Last Monday I left you with one eye on the sky, looking towards beautiful Bamburgh.  Soon after, I was high in the battlements of the castle.  It’s just 3 miles around the coast from Seahouses, and the coach whisked me there in minutes.  You know I would have prefered to walk, but time was of the essence.  I had never before gained access to this, one of the north’s mightiest castles, and was hugely excited to be there.

Bamburgh is a small village, totally dominated by the castle, seat of the former Kings of Northumbria, and the burial place of Grace Darling.  I would have loved to visit the museum to her memory but today I was on a mission.  I had just a couple of hours and it wouldn’t be wasted.

The sky was dark but the flag flying proudly as I climbed the hill towards the gateway, and caught my first glimpse of the dunes.  In the far distance, the Farne Islands, home to a colony of puffins and numerous seabirds.

Inside the gateway a sequence of information boards gives a brief history of the castle, and then you’re approaching the battlements.  A small boy is very enamoured of the tubbiest canon, and I wait patiently while his Dad coaxes him away.  Beyond the battlements an expanse of green stretches out, a roller propped against a wall testifying to hours of work to maintain its pristine appearance.

The castle astounds with its scale, and venturing through the doorway you may well pause in surprise.  The walls are thick, as a castle wall should be, but light flows in from high windows. The alcoves are deep and have been used to display the castle’s many treasures.  I am particularly taken with the clocks, which appear throughout the castle, and there’s a fine collection of Chinoiserie, historic paintings and photographs.

Be prepared to gawp in admiration as you enter the King’s Hall.  Built on the site of the medieval Great Hall, it is a Victorian masterpiece.  The ceiling is made with teak from Thailand. The King of Siam, as it was then known, was a good friend of Lord William Armstrong, the industrialist who was responsible for completing the restoration of the castle.

Perhaps it’s time to squeeze a little history in.  There is archaeological evidence that as early as 10,000BC this area was inhabited.  The Romans arrived sometime between 43AD and 410AD, to find a Celtic fort, and knew it as Din Guayrdi.  Written history begins with the Anglo-Saxons, when Christianity was brought to the area by saints Oswald, Aidan and Cuthbert.  The Vikings destroyed the fort in 993, the Norman castle and tower which eventually replaced it being the foundation of the present one.  The Percy family, Earls of Northumberland, were based at the castle when a 9-month siege by Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick, ended the Wars of the Roses in 1464.  King James 1 then gifted the castle to the Forster family.  Somewhat surprisingly it became a surgery and dispensary for the poor and sick under John Sharpe.  Finally, the castle was bought by the first Lord Armstrong in the 1800s, but he died before restoration could be completed.  It’s obviously much more complicated than this, but I’ve brought you full circle.  The Armstrong family still own the castle today.  Now let’s enter the King’s Hall.

Impressive, isn’t it?  Did you spot another clock?  A little too ornate for my mantelpiece but looking fine against the wood panelling.  And so it goes on.  Opulence follows opulence and I spent considerable time admiring.

But that clock was ticking and, after a brief interlude in the kitchens and scullery, I tore myself away and made for the outdoors.  A quick tour of the castle walls, then will I have time to make it down to that beach?

At the rear of the castle I find a narrow pathway down through the dunes.  A sign points it out as the Victorian path to the beach.  I imagine swishing skirts and parasols, and certainly the steadying arm of a gentleman friend.  I follow it most of the way down but it twists and turns and I doubt that I have time to make the return trip.  I retrace my steps to the front of the castle.

A band is setting up on the huge village green and I wish I could hang around for the festivities, but it’s time for my return to the coach.  I hope you enjoyed walking with me in this beautiful part of the world.

The Bamburgh Castle website is a beauty, and will give you many more details than I can provide here.   You can even stay at the castle, if you wish.  Meantime, let’s get that kettle on and visit a few more walks.

Many thanks to all my contributors and to you folks in the armchair too.  You liven up my Mondays beautifully.  If you’d like to join me there are details on my Jo’s Monday walk page. Please do!

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Anabel finds a little incredible beauty of her own :

Kananaskis

Much nearer to home for me, and looking lovely in full bloom :

Simonside Hills – A walk amongst the Heather in the deceptive heat

Jackie’s menu planning and sunshine!

Pot-au-feu

A misty lake and horses!  Nice combination, Janet :

Let’s go the lake

Liesbet has some very interesting formations to show us this week :

Day Trips around Santa Fee, NM : Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument 

And I can always rely on Jude for something beautiful :

Loe Bar Circular Trail through Penrose Estate

Delighted to welcome Madhu here, with some fascinating insights into Brussels :

Brussels – Glimpses of an Eclectic Cityscape

Drake takes us back to his Danish roots, where the living is easy :

Lazy living mood

Welcoming more beauty with Meg’s rock hunting post :

Eurobodalla beaches: Tomakin Cove (north) and Barlings Beach (south)

Woolly’s back on the Memorial Trail this week :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk35

We all need a little of this, and Annika’s sharing :

Creative energy

And lastly, a wonderful surprise for me-  Gilly playing hopscotch!  Enjoy Florence, hon  :

The High Lands of Orcombe

That’s it for another week!  Fabulous, aren’t they?  Please do find time to visit.  I’m off out walking with my group, if the rain holds off.  Have a happy week ahead!

 

152 comments

    1. You could spend a few days here quite easily, Agness, because there are a number of castles up and down the coast, including Lindisfarne. A day would be enough to see Bamburgh itself. 🙂 🙂

  1. What an impressive walk and fantastic castle. The opulence, the history, the position, is indeed captivating. It is a shame that your time frame was tight. There looked like there was much more to see!!

    1. I’ve been ‘nagging’ my husband to go up there for years, and when the coach trip opportunity presented itself I couldn’t resist, Amanda. Maybe I’ll get Mick up there for a day or two next time. It’s such a lovely coastline. 🙂 🙂

      1. Lovely man seems to think I’m wonder woman. Just pressganged me into moving a solid metal lathe stand across the road from the car to the house. Hmph. This new shed fitting out lark is wearing a bit thin, but I will pass on your hugs – when I’ve recovered full use of arms 🙂

  2. I wish WP had a ‘love’ button as well as a ‘like’ button, Jo. This entire place looks like it comes out of a fairy tale. It’s history is intriguing and I love the teak ceiling. I immediately thought of The King and I when you mentioned the King of Siam. What a beautiful walk – I might just scroll back to the top and do it one more time! xxx

  3. Thanks for that, I thoroughly enjoyed it. We visited Bamburgh two years ago, only in passing, mind (we were on a mission, or rather: my husband was – it was Rugby World Cup Time) and I would love to go back. Although, I am more of an outdoor castle person and the “innards” have never interested me as much, possibly because where I come from we have mostly ruins remaining so there are often no interiors left. But the landscape around Bamburgh is just awesome.

  4. Wonderful walk – I’m both a huge history and a huge story nerd. One of the many reasons why I love following in your “footstep” every monday. Often I have to take it twice for catching all the details. Excellent captured. 🙂

  5. Thanks for a wonderful tour Jo – thoroughly enjoyable as always. You can see how thick those walls are by the first photo of the window – it must have been an interesting place to live in. Restoring it must have been a huge task and the maintenance must take up a lot of time! The rugged beauty of the coast is lovely – views all round. Hope your week is going well 🙂

    1. Hiya darlin 🙂 🙂 I imagine it would have been draughty back in the old days but they’ve done a beautiful job with the restoration. Wouldn’t mind a beach like that for an early morning stroll. Pretty wet here today but I was sitting in the garden yesterday so can’t complain. 🙂 How’s yourself?

      1. Sorry Jo for delay in replying – a very busy few days. My younger granddaughter is in the throes of potty training …say no more! Lovely spring weather here for the weekend though think some rain is on the way. Hope it fines up soon for you though of course with reverse seasons it will be soon be autumn. That’s my favourite season – love the autumn time but then our winters are nowhere near as cold as some places though people still complain!

      2. Sorry to hear that Jo – I don’t like grey dreary days either. A vibrant post sounds a lovely idea – a mood lifter. Take care and will be back a bit later to check it out off out soon to our daughter’s! 😃

  6. What a fabulous place, and your photos are wonderful. It’s enormous! I always marvel at such places – at the work and creativity that went into making all the beautiful things, and the building itself of course – what an undertaking.
    Alison

  7. Jo the castle looks enormous! If I happened to have a wee army I would scuttle away at just the sight of it! Perhaps that was the point. The interior is so well preserved and impressive it is indeed. Thank you for heading outside to show off the castle walls. Astounding to think of how a structure would have been built in those times. Fantastic walk my friend.

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