BERWICK-UPON-TWEED, DURHAM, HOLY ISLAND…

Now this was a super fabulous wonderful great day out. It was chock full of everything we enjoy. A walk, a drive, a train, some history, some food, new places, churches, towns, the sea. We did it all

The day started for me with a three hour train ride (in first class which appears to provide you with significantly more space than coach, along with food and drinks and a reserved seat- I enjoyed 4 bags of popcorn) out to Berwick-upon-Tweed – a lovely town, just like it sounds, Tweed being the river the town sits on. Just 3 miles from the Scottish border it is described on the Visit Northumberland website this way.

“This peaceful town is a far cry from Berwick’s turbulent past; captured or sacked 13 times before finally falling into English hands in 1482, Berwick’s great Elizabethan walls were built to keep invading Scots from entering the town. Walk the complete circuit, taking in spectacular views across the River Tweed estuary and of Berwick’s three bridges, including the iconic Royal Border Bridge, built by Robert Stevenson and one of the finest bridges of its kind in the world.”

The train ride was easy once I located my platform. my train car and my seat, and though I was entertained sporadically looking out the window, primarily the track was encased in shrubbery that made looking out at scenery unpleasant if not impossible as the train reached speeds of perhaps 100 mph.

I was able to snap a few photos. I played on my phonemes of the way and the time passed fairly quickly.

I do love the church steeples. I always imagine riding along hundreds of years ago, across empty space, with few comforts, and seeing your destination in the distance growing closer as the steeple first comes into view.

And then there was the power plant, the fields, the river, the cows and the hay.

The best photo, in my opinion, is one of the last before pulling into the station. I assumed it was just some old wall, the wall of some fort or castle from I can’t imagine how long ago. I didn’t grow up with this length of history ( having spent the last 35 years in Miami where history began in the 1900’s) and I still am amazed that I am here where people take this for granted and live with it casually every day.

Isn’t that wall amazing. It turns out this whole town was fortified and this was part of it as the Scottish and the English fought over it.

We climbed across the ramparts on the other side of town and found a fair going on where we bought lunch and a few goodies to take home. One of them being the best brownie in all of England. And its not just me saying so. Apparently the recipe, and the stall, belong to the winner of the British Bake Off TV show, Ridiculously Rich by Alana. And here I am, weeks later, finally googling her and discovering they are available for home delivery!!!!

One surprise when we were climbing down from the ramparts was a small gallery… I love the paper.. not so sure about the scattered body parts.

It was an amazing place to be. Full of people enjoying a day out. I understand we were lucky, the day was crisp and clear and the wind barely blowing.

I can’t imagine how this all was built, but I suppose if you are defending yourselves against invasion anything is possible.

You can see rooms dug in and walls built up and even an old cannon.

This little building in the center now sells ice cream but it was originally a ladies “waiting” room.

And then there was the fair… I saw this pile of fudge and thought it was soap… We picked up some to take home and wandered to find lunch and ran into a couple of alpacas.

We ate our lunch on a bench in an old graveyard

In memory of Thomas Statland who died August 1821 age 75 years and seven children who died in minority, Elizabeth his wife died July 1830 aged

and then on to see a bit of the town and the view from the river side. Like so many places here the signage is great and we passed many a sign explaining the area and a few like the one below telling us of the Lowry Trail.

L S Lowry (1887 – 1976) visited the town of Berwick many times from the mid-1930’s until the summer before he died. The Berwick Lowry Trail identifies the sites of many of his finest paintings and drawings of the town.

DON’T YOU THINK IT LOOKS THE SAME AS THE PAINTING ON THE SIGN?

And that was just Berwick-Upon-Tweed!!

It was back to the car and off towards dinner on the road and into London. What was to be a 5 hour drive was closer to 9, but what a wonderful day.

As we rode down the motorway Brad caught sight of a sign leading to Holy Island, so off we went. We drove about 15 minutes, waited at a railway crossing then came upon this view…

CAN YOU SEE THE TOWN IN THE DISTANCE…

Then this sign

It seems the Island isn’t always an island. It’s just an island at high tide!

Seeing other cars in both directions we assumed it was safe and headed on.

Seeing people out walking across this vast empty space gave us further confirmation that it was fine to proceed.

And they pretty much enforce where you can park as the streets inland are marked for residents use only. We didn’t get out and walk as it might have been a ten or fifteen minute walk in from the car park and we weren’t really set to stay but we did see many, many people walking. We drove in just a bit and snapped a few photos.

The Island is definitely set up for visitors with cafes and shoppes. I think people come for a religious purpose. We looked around enough to know that we probably had seen enough and had no need to come back. Not that it wouldn’t be lovely to do so, but with so much to do and see, a day devoted to Holy Island just isn’t a priority for us. But if you are in the neighborhood the fun of driving out across the flood zone is a great memory.

On the way out we saw this little building and wondered if it was meant as a safe haven for anyone getting stuck in the tide. There were people out birdwatching and everyone seemed delighted to be in this risky situation.

By the time we were in the car an hour, still 5 hours from home, we were hungry. After a bit of googling and a few missed turns we headed to Durham, where a sign declared it to be a Cathedral City.

We loved the little place where we had dinner. Though we can’t rave about the food it was certainly better than average and as we walked the town and looked around we agreed it was probably one of the lovelier places, though again, we won’t return to Bistro Italiano, but we did enjoy it and the inside is lovelier than the outside.

After dinner we talk and walk. I think the photos mostly speak for themselves.

We did finally make it home and here we are two weeks later still telling each other what a great day it was and we have done a ton of stuff since then. River walks, city walks, museum talks, food and happiness.

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