Sunday, August 20, 2023

Back into England - Northumberland and North Yorkshire

Well we are back in England.    Time is moving forward at breakneck speed and soon we will be wrapping up this years trip.    But before I put a fork in this adventure - let me bring you up to date.

We left you last in Peebles, Scotland.   A small market town about 30 miles south of Edinburgh..
We stayed in a real nice converted Bothy (sheepherders hut) on the expansive grounds of Neidpath Castle.

We were only there for 3 days, and one day was spent driving up to Dalkeith to pick up Lucys ashes. 
We sort of took it a bit easy, and simply enjoyed our surroundings, but did take a quick trip into Peebles.

The High Street in Peebles

Dog friendly everywhere

On Weds August 9 we packed up and made the 3.5 hr drive south to our next destination which was Warkworth, England.    Since we had time to kill before we could check in - our usual M.O. is to find a side trip or two.     This time we took some smaller roads heading south.

Southern Scotland on the way to Warkworth

Entering England we crossed some moors where the heather was starting to turn purple and coloring the hillsides.

Purple heather on the Moors

Along the way we also made a stop at the National Trust Property Cragside.  Built in the mid to late 1800's by William Armstrong, an early industrialist, the property is both beautiful and innovative.

Among many other things, it could be said that Mr Armstong was the world's first international arms dealers.   He invented many types of innovative weapons, and sold them not only to the British Government, but to many other nations around the world.

Heads of state from all over the world would be wined and dined at Cragside while Mr Armstrong sold them weapons, ships, or whatever.

Among many features, it boasts the world's first hydroelectric plant to power the place.   It also used water power and hydraulics to operate many of the modern conveniences found in the spectacular home.

Set on an estate of over 15,000 acres, the gardens surrounding the house are beautiful.   Today you can drive on the loop road, a 5 mile circuit that was created to allow the owner and guest to take a carriage ride around the expansive grounds and gardens.    It was a delightful ride that passes numerous lakes and picnic areas.

Inside, the kitchen boasts one of the world's first dishwashers and hydraulically controlled spits to cook large roast over the fire, keeping them turning without manual labor.

The kitchen

The dishwasher

One of the gardens and the "Iron Bridge"

Moving on, it was getting late enough that we could now check into our next place.   A really nice ground level studio apartment in the center of the town of Warkworth.     It had a beautiful back yard ("Garden") in British speak".   It was super private and quiet, away from the hustle and bustle of the village just outside of the gates.

The owners had a pair of minature male poodles.   They provided Annie with a nice diversion, and the enclosed garden allowed her to really get in some good running around time.

Annie looks for her boyfriends.

About a mile or so walk from the house brought us to Warkworth beach.  It was a great sandy stretch of beach and I finally got to dip my toes into some cool salt water.

Annie also got her first trip to the beach.    At first the waves breaking and running up onto the beach kept pushing her away from the water, but by the end of our visit she was getting into the spirit and ran thru some of the water.

The Village of Warkworth is quite pretty.   Surrounded on 3 sides by a bend in the River Coquet there is an ancient bridge over the river at one end of the village, and the imposing Warkworth Castle at the other end.

St Lawrence Anglican Church

The old bridge in the distance

A couple of miles south of Warkworth is the Village of Amble.    A pretty coastal town with a vibrant marina.      We headed down one afternoon, walked about, and had lunch at one of the many outside cafes.

Looking out over the North Sea from Amble

Fishing boat returns to Amble Harbor

One morning we walked up to the end of town and visited Warkworth Castle.  It is considered a ruin, but I've found it in pretty good shape compared to many of the other ruined castles.   Being English Heritage and National Trust Members, our entry to most of the places we've gone to have been free.

Warkworth Castle
A view of the east side of the castle and the moat.

Inside the castle outer walls.

Looking down into the inner yard from inside the bailey

The castle kitchen.  Note the huge ovens.   They could roast several oxen at once.

The castle kitchen

Looking out from the castle towards the village.  Our house is just about dead center in the photo.

The village square.   We ate several times at the Mason Arms including Sunday Roast.   Like almost everywhere we go - no problem bringing the dog along.

Annie gets a good run in the garden playing fetch.

Later - a tired dog = a happy owner.

On one day we took a 40 minute drive to visit Bamburgh Castle.   There has been some form of fortification on this site since at least 400ad and the current castle dates to the 11th century.

The castle looms over the village of Bamburgh

Driving up to the castle

Outer gun walls

Inner courtyard

Inner courtyard view from inner raised gun walls

Inside the castle is quite impressive.   The castle is owned and occupied by the Armstrong family.   If that name sounds familiar, it is because it is the same people who build Craigside which we visited earlier in this post.

Grand Hall

Sitting room


View over Bamburgh Village

Again, we took some skinny scenic roads back home.   Below you can see the North Sea off in the distance.

Another week flew by and soon we were off to our next port of call - Pickering in North Yorkshire.  
Again, having some time to kill before checking in, we made a detour to the scenic, and historic seaside town of Whitby.

We had planned on staying here last year, so I already had researched the place pretty well, and had a decent lay of the land.    So we parked the car and headed to the old section of town.

Whitby Old Town Streets

Famous for its fish and chips, we stopped for lunch and then about 3:30 or so headed down across the Moors to Pickering.     The Heather seems to be getting prettier by the minute.

Purple Heather in North Yorkshire Moors National Park

Our next place is a very nice 2br row house right in town.   Set back off the main road in a courtyard, we have private parking and it is nice and quiet.


TV Lounge

England has a lot of preserved old rail lines.   Many of them steam.    The North Yorkshire Moors Railroad runs from Pickering to Whitby and we planned to take it for a spin, so we visited the  station to see one of the steam units pull in.

This station starred in many films, most recently as Kings Cross Station in the Downton Abbey Movie.

A couple of days later we are onboard headed to Whitby.

Being fairly inclement, and also having been to Whitby, we simply took the train round trip rather than getting off.

One of the stops along the way is Goathland.   This quaint station stars in many films, most notably the Harry Potter films.

Back at the house, we were giving Annie jumping practice.    Again - a tired dog = ........

Saturday, our friends Craig & Vickie came up for the night.   We met them and Vickies sister and Husband at a local pub for dinner.    

Sunday - today - while most of England was glued to their TV's watching the women's footballers complete (and sadly lose) in the world cup final, we headed back up to Whitby to visit Whitby Abbey.

Dating back to the 7th century, this imposing structure was the inspiration and setting for some of Bram Stokers book "Dracula"

We were fortunate in that during August they are running the play Dracula for free on the grounds of the Abbey on Sundays.     3 Actors (2 men and 1 woman) play all the characters in the novel.

Annie takes in the show with us

Each new scene finds you moving to a different part of the grounds.

The show ran for 90 minutes and was quite captivating and entertaining.    

While moving from one location to another, one of the actors spotted Annie, and while staying in character he exclaimed "that's right - bring the hounds, bring the hounds.   They will be useful for sniffing out the vampires"

Heading back to Pickering, I again took a detour and ran a smaller road right down the center of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.   It was a beautiful drive and the heather seemed even more vibrant than the day before.

All the heather on the Moors makes me think of Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights.

Well that brings you up to date as of today - Sunday August 20.

We are here in Pickering for a few more days and on Weds we move down to our last home of the trip in Winchcombe.   Those of you who have followed us for a while might remember our last visit to Winchcombe where we rented the castle gatehouse.   Winchcombe and the Cotswolds are one of our favorite areas in the UK and we will spend 3 weeks there.

Once done with Winchcombe, we are then on the road to Paris and Barcelona because I have to see a man about a dog.....

See you down the road.


  1. Thanks for the great tour.

    1. You are quite welcome, thanks for riding along.

  2. Enjoyed the trip through Scotland/UK with you. Beautiful pictures, as always. I would have really enjoyed the play at the castle! Your timing was perfect. Cheryl C

    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Maybe sometime you and Jeff can join us.

  3. Kristi & Jim say "what man, what dog"?????

  4. You must have missed our last post. That news was stuck in at the very end of the post

  5. Julie, Terry and RoscoeAugust 30, 2023 at 10:49 PM

    Hi guys! We’re finally catching up on your blog. Wow, now Phoebe too!!! Roscoe can’t wait to meet his new four legged neighbors. Enjoy the rest of your trip and especially enjoy the cool weather. It’s still crazy hot here. Take care xx

    1. This trip is going so fast that before you know it, it will be December and we'll be there.


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