A friend and I walked St Oswald’s Way earlier this month – 97 miles across the most beautiful countryside, along spectacular beaches, over dramatic moors and through pretty villages. And I didn’t wear my rain jacket once!
Along the way we passed one imposing castle after another. With so many miles to walk, we didn’t go in to any of them, but it was wonderful to see how these great buildings still dominate the landscape.
First, Lindisfarne Castle on Holy Island. We were lucky enough to see Holy Island on a sunny afternoon, when the sense of space and light was wonderful, but it was even more atmospheric crossing the causeway to the mainland on a misty morning.
The next day we passed Bamburgh Castle, standing massively on the coast.
Dunstanburgh is in ruins now, but marvellously atmospheric. Like Bamburgh, it dominates the coast for miles in either direction.
After walking down the coast, we headed inland at Warkworth, where Harry Hotspur’s castle looms at the top of the town.
Somehow we missed Alnwick Castle, one of Northumberland’s most famous, and now forever associated with Harry Potter, but we visited Chillingham Castle instead. With its dungeon, torture chamber, and ramshackle interior, Chillingham has an atmosphere so strange and troubling – and so inspiring for the book I’m writing at the moment – that I think it deserves a post of its own … Come back soon!