Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Annual trip to Northumberland 2023

Our first stop was at South Park Darlington. We entered the Victorian park to borders of brightly coloured Dahlias, past the bowling green with its trellis of roses to the cafe, where we sat out in the scorching sunshine.

Border of Dahlias

We walked around the lake and saw exotic birds in the aviary as we left. An information board gives the history green of the park which was to act as a “green lung” for the residents of Darlington.

Next stop Seaham on the Durham coast where we ate our lunch

Our base was the dog friendly Amble Inn on the outskirts of Amble. The special offer included free dog accommodation breakfast and unlimited treats, evening meal for us on the first night and a pack with maps of local walks.

Even doggy beer!

Amble's working harbour

,mile off the coast at Amble is Coquet Island wildlife sanctuary where the public are not allowed to visit.  Coquet Island

It is home to 40,000 breeding seabirds and is the only UK breeding site for roseate terns (rosy) and an important breeding site for puffins.

From the pack of local walks, we chose the Alnmouth to Boulmer walk along English Coastal Path.

This took us between the golf courses of Alnmouth and Foxton, with the path actually going through the clubhouse garden. Following the path, we came across off-grid customised caravans and lodges.


We arrived at Boulmer village in time for lunch at the Fishing Boat Inn overlooking sea before walking back to Alnmouth along the beach.

Seahouses Harbour
We then drove on to Seahouses and Bamburgh which were heaving with tourists and on to see the wildlife at Budle Bay.

On our return journey we stopped at Saltburn, Staithes, Whitby and Ulrome where we were spending a couple of days.

Saltburn showing pier and cliff railway

The Zetland Hotel (now apartments) where we stayed c1970

Picturesque Staithes, home of Captain James Cook

A steep climb down to Staithes harbour and an even more arduous ascent.  No cars are allowed.

Beach huts at Whitby

A sea fret drove us inland to Driffield

Bridlington Stones Artwork on North Beach

No sea fret today

When accompanied by our dog, we are greeted by loads of people, dog and non-dog owners, who always seem to have a treat in their pockets! If they are local, that’s a bonus for us as we learn more about the area.  

One week after our return, I remembered that I hadn’t paid the toll , which is online only and the £2.20 became £32.20 but it didn’t detract from the enjoyment of our holiday.

For additional pictures, history etc of the places mentioned, click on Northumberland on the labels in the sidebar.


Friday, 28 July 2023

Family holiday in Fuerteventura

The whole family embarked on this all-inclusive holiday. I thought we grandparents would be sitting in the shade reading our books, but how wrong I was.

Fuerteventura is one of the Canary Islands.  The name means strong winds and it was the first island to emerge. It was breezy but that kept the temperature manageable. The nearest small town was Caleta de Fuste which translates to Bay of Fishing Boats and is easily reached by a promenade along the shore or e-scooter which could be picked up outside the hotel. Here you can find bars, restaurants, shops and the harbour with its tower originally built to deter pirates but is now a private residence.

There are camels rather than donkeys on the beach

The hotel itself is situated quite near the airport. It has a lovely pool which we used often as well as the table tennis. We didn’t take advantage of the in-house entertainment as we were too busy exploring the area and drinking cocktails.

A side gate in the hotel gives access to the Atlanticó shopping centre with its bars, shops and amusements just across the path and to the promenade. Immediately you see an old fortthe history of which can be seen here: The fort at Caleta de Fuste

Next to this is an outcrop with rock pools hosting all manner of marine life. Following the promenade this way brings you to a small village with a Museum of Salt.


A few metres to the left of the fort is a lovely, long, sandy beach, unusual for the Canaries where the beaches have black sand from volcanic rock.

Our indoor plants grow outside here with giant cacti. Public areas are planted up and tended but there is a lot of barren land where the earth is lava.

One day we took Bus No.3 outside the hotel to the largest town in the area, Puerto del Rosario. The low cost fare was a bonus and allowed us to have a good look at the area. The town has a large harbour, some interesting sculptures and a huge, indoor shopping centre with well-known shops including C&A which no longer exists in UK!

This sculpture pays homage to the Majoreros (people from Fuerteventura) who emigrated to distant shores  during hard times 

This was the centre of trading and fishing. They didn’t wear any clothes when they brought goods from the merchant ships ashore.  Well, it is a hot climate!

We took a day trip to the Oasis Wildlife ParkThe journey allowed us to see more of the island. We all loved the whole experience of seeing and feeding the animals and I enjoyed the garden area.


In the quiet gardens we came across this peahen and its chick

All too soon it was time to leave and return home where we landed in the pouring rain. This is the third Canary Island I have visited and for me the best.

Annual trip to Northumberland 2023

Our first stop was at South Park Darlington. We entered the Victorian park to borders of brightly coloured Dahlias, past the bowling green ...