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Northumberland Coat of Arms

Mar 2015+

crāwe crow + ceaster Old English (roman) site.

Population - 305.

Northumberland Coat of Arms

What have Arbroath  Smokies, Craster kippers and this individual got in common? That's right, they've all been said to stink a bit and they're not to everyone's taste. That includes a couple of fillets in a bap served with a hot beverage, the ' kipper tea'.

Two Caster kipper fillets in a white bread bun with a cup of tea in a polystyrene cup

Hands up who likes kippers? 1, 2, 3 so that's all of you, then? What you don't know, however, and what this one has known, like forever, is... you're wrong!

They fell out of fashion in the 1970s when herring quotas were slashed so you've just stuck your hand up out of nostalgia. They're only really liked by people with failing memories well, them and the middle classes, actually.

They've hijacked this now luxury item but only ever eat them in country house hotels because they frown at the full Englishes on offer.

Sure, there's an instant, salty and smoke gratification but there are posh crisps to do the job these days. They render your kitchen unusable for a week and could you really eat a whole one? Every morning?

The village was once awash with smokehouses, probably, but since the kipper came a cropper, only one remains.

L Robson & Sons Ltd still use the traditional curing technique of  cold smoking so they're still technically raw when you take them home. That'll mean a bit of heat before you eat, hence the stink in the kitchen, and you can pick up your annual fix from their  shop alongside more palatable, oceanic fayre.

Craster - L Robson & Sons Ltd

Doing a bit of eavesdropping, as you do, one utterance was right up there, middle class-wise... 'I'm all kippered-out after breakfast!'

This presumably was in response to an invitation to a kipper tea. Man up man and just say it man... 'I can still taste the ones from this morning.' Once a year is enough to remind yourself how indigestion inducing these fiddly and bony little bloaters are.

 
The Craster Seafood Restaurant (Haven Hill)

Run by Robsons, it's a seasonal operation that's all light lunches by day but doubles up as a restaurant come sundown. There's an unexpected Brazilian twist, in the mains, if you like your salmon swimming in passion fruit or your crab dressed Copacabana-style.

This neck of Northumberland has more than its fair share of castles and the 14th-century ruins of Dunstanburgh are a walkable mile away. It's free up close but there's a  small fee for more of the same from the inside.

Craster - View to Dunstanburgh Castle Craster - View to Dunstanburgh Castle

Its last act of usefulness looks to have been during World War II as a defensive lookout post. The surrounding beaches were bathed in barbed wire and ditches were dug. They even laid a minefield to prevent any potential invading force from nipping into Craster für ein kïpper Tee.

There was really no need for that, just use them as ammunition and catapult them at 'em... 'AAARGH! Rauchfisch! Wir gehen jetzt!' Now that would've made for an episode of Dad's Army.

 
Shoreline Cafe & Shop (Church Street)

Cosy café and gift shop where walkers and dogs are welcome. When it's said 'cosy', that means you might have to wait for a table some of which can be found outside in summer.

Once upon a mine, the old quarry dressed up the local whinstone to pave the streets of London. They started chiselling in the late 1700s and operations lasted until the 1930s when, ironically enough, a London-based outfit bought then quickly closed the place.

The quarry's now the main car park and there's a nice view along the track into the village and some bird-fuelled business going on in the bushes.

Craster - Car Park Track Craster Harbour

In the village, there's a tranquil harbour and sea-wall, a popular pub, a café and a walkable castle. What's not to like about this place?

As mentioned already, they're not to everyone's taste.

 
Jolly Fisherman Inn (Haven Hill)

Local ales and renowned, fishy fayre with a beer garden that's good for eavesdropping on. They expanded in 2016 to Newcastle-upon-Tyne's quayside, which really was rather good, and it's a bit of a shame to see that's now closed.

This one's still going strong and will have you scuttling back sideways for seconds.