Springtime in Northumberland is truly stunning with bouncy lambs springing across fields, the landscape daubed in the yellow …daffodils, gorse and primrose, coming into bloom.
We are lucky to have family in the beautiful seaside resort of Whitley Bay, just north of Newcastle. Matt’s grandparents, both their 90s, have lived there since the 1960s.
One Easter Sunday we followed the A697 through the rolling landscape, heading north in the national park towards Scotland on a sunshiny kind of day. . the landscape grew more desolate as we gained height. The Simonside hills still dusted with snow in April.
We endured a running commentary from the twitchers in the front of the car, talk of grouse, goshawks, buzzards, peregrines and a plague of egg thieves. Matt my partner is a Boy Scout, birder, mountain biker and hiker. This holiday he had a new telescope and binoculars and was enjoying a bird bonanza, in the company of his grandfather 93 year old Geoff, another avid twitcher.
Our reward was Easter Sunday lunch at Three Wheatheads Inn in Thropton, and what it lacked in Michelin Stars it more than made up for with its lovely garden and glorious views over the river Coquet valley on an Enid Blyton kind of day with fluffy clouds in the bright blue sky.
After our lazy lunch we returned to Whitley Bay via Cragside, a National Trust Property, This time we didn’t enter the house, a Victorian pile which was the first house in the world to be lit by hydroelectricity by its genius/eccentric owner Lord Armstrong during the Victorian Era, it is well worth a trip and blog post of its own. Today we pootled around the grounds (we had two nonagenarians in the car), past the waterfalls, puffy rhododendrons, birch and scots pine until we reached a glassy lake.
Eight toads swam languidly the reflection of the clouds making them appear to soar through the sky.
In addition to two 90+ year olds, we had a pre-schooler in our midst so a stop at the adventure playground was non-negotiable. Kitty clambered over the wooden climbing frames and obstacles as I pretended to be a circus ringmaster celebrating her acrobatic feats, to the applause of her great grandparents.
Kitty’s big top routine wore her out and she went to bed that night without a murmur of complaint. Dreaming of more Northumbrian adventures tomorrow.