Shaftoe Crags, Northumberland.

Our midweek walk took us to a territory of Northumberland which was just north of Belsay, and for those who aren’t accustomed to Belsay, then Shaftoe is north of Ponteland off the A696. If you pass Belsay, then Shaftoe is literally the third major turn off but the only snag is, you can’t park there as it’s a private road, so we basically parked 100m from the private road on a lay-by.

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It does feel a little awkward walking up the private road as you begin to encounter property and it feels like you shouldn’t be walking round there, but lo and behold, if you turn right and walk round, there is a road which leads you away from the house and onto Shaftoe Crags.

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The cattle were alerted by our presence and probably wanted something from us, something we didn’t quite have, which was food.


The road basically ensures you reach the crags, but halfway up we decided to take another path through the bracken.

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The views were still breathtaking despite it being more than overcast.


You get a real sense of achievement reaching the summit and being able to take in the landscapes is an added bonus.

It also appears when you go round from the top there’s more routes to indulge yourself in, but on a wet overcast day, remember to take your wellies and waterproof’s! There’s plenty to explore and it’s another beautiful part of Northumberland which on a clear day  illustrates how expanse, natural and raw this land is. This walk was a good stretch and we probably spent an hour walking there and back. So for anyone who hasn’t been, get yourself there for a lovely walk.

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Craster – Dunstanburgh Castle – Embleton Bay & back again…

It’s not every day the Sun comes out to dance with Northumberland, but when it does, it simply gives Northumberland the shine it deservedly needs after the Winter months. Therefore, my partner and I decided we’d visit Craster for some much needed peace and tranquility, and the idea succeeded and went beyond all expectations. The backdrop of Dunstanburgh Castle from Craster serves as a reminder for a land full of historic battles, defending ourselves from the Scots who would often invade Northumberland as a way of attacking the English.

Not much is left of Dunstanburgh Castle, but as it is an English Heritage Site, it thankfully attracts many visitors from around the Country and Abroad to visit. For full information of the site itself, please click on the hyperlink provided above. Despite there not being much left of Dunstanburgh Castle itself, you can still appreciate the scale of the Castle in its prime. The walk itself was enough to stretch our legs but it’s also a great way of inhaling some much needed fresh air, getting away from it all, and about being ‘in the moment’.


Below is a close up of the entrance to Dunstanburgh Castle.

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As you can see, the clear day enhanced the quality of the pictures ten fold. We were lucky to have such a beautiful day on the cards as it had been forecast for cloud all that day. Against all odds, algorithms, predictions… the sun prevailed victorious. We sat outside and had our lunch, taking in the view from Dustanburgh Castle back over to Craster, the landscape is absolutely stunning and it’s easy to see why this land is an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). Below is a picture of the view we had from the Castle with Craster in the backdrop. The sea glistening, flowering bushes and green fields as far as the eyes can see.

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After our much needed lunch, we decided to continue walking round the Castle from the outside, heading in the direction of Embleton Bay which we could see North of us lying in the distance. Descending the hill in which the almighty ancient ruins lay on, we took a couple of pictures of the rocks, cliffs in which sea faring birds have come to roost and of the Dunstanburgh Golf Course, luckily, all golfers were on form and we were able to stroll without being hit.

The path took us on towards Embleton Bay, meandering on the outskirts of the Golf Course we passed a couple pillboxes from the World War era, purposely built to defend the land from any attacks or to spot any potential invasions. Embleton Bay itself, is pristine, the dunes peer over and stretch for a good distance. There were all sorts of activities going on, from locals walking their dogs, people building sand castles which were close to emulating Dunstanburgh’s scale!!

We didn’t spend much time on Embleton Bay despite its true beauty, the only reason being, we were hungry and we needed to be fed so we headed back on ourselves to Craster.  As we’d heard so much about two things in Craster, one being how good the kippers are and how they’re famous for them, and the other how good the food is at ‘The Jolly Fisherman‘, we thought, it would be rude not to try both. I would definitely recommend their seafood platter, consisting of  fresh rolled herring which had been pickled, a slice of fresh salmon, crab pate, salmon pate, trout pate and a small serving of prawn marie-rose presented inside an oyster shell. The beef dripping chips along with the soup of the day did not disappoint either, and our complimentary pints in the sun went down a treat with the sun continuing to burn the back of my neck!

Please find a few pictures of the small beautiful fishing village of Craster, The Jolly Fisherman, Shoreline Cafe & Traditional Fish Smokers establishment and the lovely view from where we sat at The Jolly Fisherman overlooking Dunstanburgh Castle. If you visit The Jolly Fisherman, please bear in mind that it can be busy therefore you might expect to wait a little while but the service is fantastic and the food didn’t take long to find its way to our table. The smokehouse which is adjacent to the Jolly Fisherman smokes kippers to perfection, and it is easy to see why Craster is famous for them as we grilled them lightly back at home along with the fishcakes we bought too for a little treat.

Accessibility to Craster is excellent, there is plenty of parking available although it is quite popular when it’s a beautiful day and you might be surprised to see how many bays are filled so to avoid any disappointment, ensure you arrive early as possible in the day to seize it. Parking all day is relatively cheap and recommended if you wish to take in the sites and go for a bite to eat. Until next time Craster, the pleasure has been ours!