Northumberland Microadventure

This microadventure had been on my to do list for months and for various reasons had been repeatedly shelved; finally I managed to get myself organised and out the door just as gale force winds were forecast.

The idea was to combine two of my favourite things, beaches and castles. I’d wanted to go to sleep amongst the dunes of a sandy beach listening to the waves rushing over the sands watched over by an ancient fortress.

Costal Northumberland is perfect for this, beautiful long sandy beaches, dunes and castles perched above the sea. Two of these were on my list, Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh, the first a gaunt ruin the second virtually intact and still very much a home, if an expensive one.


In the end I chose Dunstanburgh as it felt slightly more remote and wild. A forecast for strong winds through the night drove me from the top of a dune to a hollow at its base where I pitched my Trailstar in the fortunately firm feeling sandy soil. Tucked up warm in my sleeping bag as the wind tugged at the tarp and rain lasted the fabric was a great feeling. I thought what it must have been like 800 years ago as you approached the castle, a bastion of safety in a cold wild landscape.

Waking on the beach made some morning photography really easy with bright clear skies greeting the sunrise, although a bank of cloud was fast approaching from the east. The wind was whipping up the sea into a series of rolling waves which passed under the castle to crash onto the beach. Despite all this kinetic energy my favourite image from the shoot was a long exposure smoothing out the sea but accentuating some movement in the clouds and the colours of the sunrise reflected off the retreating water of the waves falling onto the sand.

Later I went north to Bamburgh, cloud coated the sky and the wind picked up. I was initially sceptical about the conditions but notices the wind was picking up streamers of sand which then danced over the beach towards the castle. I was able to combine this fain leading line with a stronger feature of outcropping rock in an image I was really pleased with.