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Mar 2015

Northumberland Coat of Arms

A popular spot on the Northumberland Coast, this, and it's no wonder why. There's a breathtaking stretch of beach that, because of its popularity, you'll end up practically parking on.

Limited on-street spaces mean, getting here, you'll already have driven a fair way only to have to avoid some flying golf balls from a fairway but more on that in a minute.

This vast tract of sand stretches 30-odd miles north to Berwick-upon-Tweed with just the odd, rocky interruption.

Be warned, though, that's the North Sea there and its temperature rarely dips up into double digits. The temperature's not actually measured in degrees Celsius but in minutes... life expectancy that is!

Another warning, as well, because unlike the nearby town of 'Ann-ick', this one's pronounced more 'Alan-Mouth'. Think of Princess Anne, trying to steal a bicycle, all egged on by someone called Alan at least that's how it's remembered in this house.

It's found that  Whicker works well but if you're youthful, you'll be all, like, 'Whicker what? Who-evs!' Sugar, Shearer or Alda, even, but you're young and you've probably never ever heard of  M*A*S*H? Let's face it, there simply are no famous, young Alans and let's not even get started on Princess Anne!

Once you've exhausted the attractions of Northumberland Street, head down Garden Terrace towards the river.

The river's tidal and flows in and out of the North Sea just here. Some of the estuary[1] is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and, as should be known by now, they don't hand them awards out willy-nilly.

Across the river is the site of an old church that's marked with a cross. Church Hill used to be part of town until a biblical storm in 1806 changed the course of the river also cutting off the port that lay just beyond.

You can get up and at it, as did the Vikings who were found buried at the bottom, but you'll need to head back out of town and south where there's an, arguably, even better bit of beach but, well, a warning...

No, you're not likely to drown, just don't ask a local for directions to the River 'Alan'. Confusingly, it's pronounced more like 'Arln' and if you ask a real old-timer, you might detect a Lancashire-like rolling of the 'r' and it's all the fault of those Vikings, apparently.

The  Northumbrian dialect starts not far from here and can be heard all the way to Berwick where the sand stops, the cliffs kick in and everybody suddenly sounds sort of Scottish.

[1] For the best views of it, head back over the bridge you will have driven in on.

One final warning, although this was a few years ago mind, there might still be a cartel operating in town. Not quite as bad as those Mexican ones but everywhere charges the same for soup and a sandwich, it was thought to be £5.25...

The Hope and Anchor Hotel... £5.25!
The
Sun Inn... £5.25!
 Bistro 23 Tea Room... £5.25!
The
Red Lion Inn... £5.25!
The
Schooner Hotel... £5.25!
The Alnmouth
Golf Clubhouse Bar...?

Dunno? They won't let you in... members only!

  Bistro 23 (Northumberland Street)

It used to be £5.25, it's thought, for soup and a sandwich just not in the evening when it reopens as a restaurant.