Every other year we spend Christmas week with Mr Stoatie’s family, it’s known at ours, as The Big Family Christmas. As we’re spread across the country we rent a house somewhere in the middle, usually in Ayrshire or Dumfries and Galloway. Each couple takes a turn to find and hire the accommodation, this time it was up to us and we decided escape the tartan and go somewhere different. We came across Sefton House in Northumbria and fell in love at once. Usually we end up in a huge country house in the middle of nowhere but this is a large Victorian terrace in Alnmouth village. Which meant a few shops, pubs and restaurants within walking distance, for those last minute purchases or as an excuse to escape the in laws!
The village is close to Alnwick, and is surrounded by beautiful countryside and more castles than you can shake a stick at. The best thing about the house though is that it’s just 30 seconds from a huge sandy beach. We had a week of cold but dry weather so we were able to get out and about. There were a couple of crystal clear evenings when you could pick out the Milky Way, even from the centre of the village, and we spent as long as we could stand watching shooting stars.
These are a couple of shots of the beach at Alnmouth. We went out at least twice a day!
On Christmas Eve we had a walk from Craster to Dunstanburgh Castle. We took the path from the carpark outside the village and walked on the west side of a large rocky hill which meant we didn’t get to see the castle until we eventually walked over the ridge. It was a real wow moment!
The Gatehouse, unfortunately it was closed and so we had to content ourselves with peering through the barbed wire fence. It was freezing cold and blowing a gale, despite the sunshine.
It used to have it’s own little harbour.
Rocky beach looking North.
Looking back at the Castle from the Coastal Path
The following are a few shots from the beach at Alnmouth on Christmas Eve. Eldest daughter and I and the dogs. When we finally got them all back on their leads we turned round and spotted what we thought was a dog swimming along the river estuary. It was a huge seal!
The following are the Christmas day shots.
Mr Stoatie and I had been to Lindisfarne about thirty years ago with a group of my friends from Uni, we hired a yellow minibus and set off on a mini tour of the North. Those were the days! So we had every intention of visiting again on this trip. In the end it turned into a huge family Boxing Day excursion, although we did manage to shake them off by ignoring the Castle (above) and instead visiting the garden designed for Lutyens by Gertrude Jekyll. There wasn’t really that much to see in the middle of Winter. I was surprised how small it was, but I loved the fact it had walls all round it. It’s so bleak there that they provide a welcome bit of shelter as well as keeping the sheep out.
When we got back into the village I was pleased to find the Winery open and even more delighted to partake of a sample of the mead, I was frozen. I brought a bottle back with me of course!