Before Scotland came into being, Northumberland, or more precisely the Kingdom of Northumbria, stretched as far as the Firth of Forth. If I lived in those times, I would have been considered an Anglian rather than the slightly geographically confused Scot I am today. Northumberland is an independent sort of place, keenly fought over through the centuries, defiantly Northumbrian despite being part of England. Berwick has been besieged more times than anywhere except Jerusalem and while it has been English since 1482, its football team plays in Scotland, Berwickshire stretches miles into Scotland and the local shops stock both English and Scottish newspapers.
Northumberland is one of the most beautiful places in these islands, with many fine beaches and historic places between Berwick and Newcastle. Plus Barter Books in Alnwick, easily one of the finest bookshops in the land. I have spent many fine days in Northumberland, most recently last Sunday, walking along the beach between Low Newton and Dunstanburgh Castle. Walking along a beach in any weather tends to have the right effect on me but the combination of a beautiful place, not so many people, winter sunshine and not so much wind just made it absolutely great. Rather than gushing any more, here are some photographs from the walk, including from going around Dunstanburgh Castle:
Some blog business before we finish. Our next post will be next Wednesday and will be a resume of 2016. For those reading, have a very lovely Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.