Friday, 1 May 2009

C&C day-3

My third day on Coast & Castles started with Holy Island, and ended in Coldstream.

I had a slightly late start, waiting for the tide to clear the causeway, then crossed to the island and mooched around the village and part of the harbour. I had been warned that the island had lost some of its magic as the number of visitors had built up. It's hard for me to judge. My memories of childhood holidays on the island now seem like something out of Swallows & Amazons or the Famous Five. I'm hardly going to recapture that kind of magic in my fifties, no matter whether the place itself has changed or not.

The next stage of my journey hugged the coast up to Berwick. It's not a route I'm familiar with, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are stretches along the dykes and salt flats, and others along (minor) cliffs. All very varied, and the sun gradually came out as I approached Berwick.

Berwick itself was much better than I remembered. On my last visit I thought it was a bit disappointing, but this time it seemed a really nice town. Perhaps the weather helped, perhaps I am getting less pernickety. Whatever - I liked it.

On the route from Berwick to Coldstream the sun came out properly, and I had a lovely afternoon's ride.

It struck me that cycling is the best way to see this part of the country. I can see advantages in walking rather than cycling the Northumberland coast. Some of the best places are easier to reach on foot than on a bike, and the highlights are closer together. But for the border country it's difficult to imagine a better way than cycling.

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