Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Romance in the Stone

I have just returned from a long weekend on the Northumbrian coast. The weather was superb for November and the scenery in this part of the world is stunning. We stayed in a little village on the coast close to the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, which is set on a dramatic whinstone promontory overlooking the North Sea (a couple of my better photos included here!) Unlike Bamburgh a few miles up the coast there is very little left to see now at Dunstanburgh, but the setting is so atmospheric I just love it. There are no roads or car parks close to the castle, so it's a walk of about a mile to reach it. The castle is owned by the National Trust and run by English Heritage and it is possible to climb up into some of the towers and look out over the sea or the countryside. Dunstanburgh has a charm all of its own and I can wander round the walls and cliffs for hours, listening to the constant roar of the sea and the cry of the seabirds overhead. It must have been very different when the castle was occupied: in times of danger the local people would have brought their animals within the safety of its thick walls: it must have been exciting, bustling, noisy and probably very smelly!

I discovered Dunstanburgh a few years ago and keep coming back. I have already used the castle in one (as yet unpublished) story and have a feeling it will creep into several more tales - it's a wonderful place to find inspiration.

Melinda Hammond
Gentlemen in Question - pub 2006 Robert Hale

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