Despite the ferocious easterly wind up here, the sun has tried to shine the last couple of days so we went bird watching yesterday along the coastal path. First we walked across the causeway to St. Mary’s Island only to find out that the tide would cover our exit route in ten minutes! We hastily walked around the lighthouse (which has been inactive since the early 1980s) and headed back to the other side.
We then spent the next couple of hours walking along the coast bird watching. Eider ducks, purple sandpipers, teals, sanderlings, tufted ducks, curlews, turnstones and the ever present heron were all there. A guy we got talking to was giving us the low down on what else we could expect to see along the coast at this time of year. We also got to see a puffin, but sadly it was a dead one. Since then we’ve heard on the news that the weather has had an adverse effect on the puffins, with a lot of them being blown off course and dying because of it.
The chap also told us we were too early to see the puffins really, we knew we were pushing it as they usually start returning in April but we thought we might be lucky – sadly the weather has been against us. Everywhere has been affected by the easterly winds, but just imagine how strong they are right on the east coast before any built up areas slow them down!
As we headed back to the site we decided to call in at The Delaval Arms just outside the site. It doesn’t look much from the outside and it always looks empty but that is because the restaurant area is at the front of the pub. If you go in and go round the back, the bar area is really cosy and the staff and regulars were really friendly.
The next day we walked in the opposite direction towards Seaton Sluice along the coast path. Seaton Sluice was once famous for making glass bottles. Again, the sun was shining and the wind had died down a bit so we didn’t need quite so many layers. Dean was like a little kid exploring the rock pools on the beach while I took a seat and watched him. Having fallen on my backside the other day climbing over the rocks I was reluctant to join in!
The village of Seaton Sluice is very pretty, with a harbour, sluice (of course) and a beautiful beach further on. There are a number of good pubs in the area but the one we went to for lunch was The Kings Arms. It is an 18th Century building (www.thekingsarms-ne.co.uk) and excellent food. We had scampi/cod and chips for around £9 each and it was worth every penny. The owners have been there since 2010 and have invested a lot of money and effort into the business, and at the front of the menu they give you an update on what’s been happening over the last year which was a nice touch.
It turned out to be a lovely end to our few days on the east coast and we will be back when the weather is better. While relaxing in the evening we had the binoculars out looking out to sea and saw a tanker in trouble. First we thought it had been grounded and watched it for ages being pulled along by three tug boats, only to find out later on the news that it was the boat that had run aground further up the coast near Linidsfarne a few days before, called Danio.
We think they were towing her to the port in Blyth to check her over for damage. It seemed to take forever!