Saturday, 15 October 2011

Craster – Cul-de-Sac-Deluxe


Craster Harbour
As you drive into Craster you are greeted with a cul-de-sac sign. The only way out is back the way you came or via the sea. I tell a lie, you can walk along the coastal path to the magnificent ruin of Dunstanburgh castle or head due south and eventually land up in Blyth or Whitley Bay!!





This is no bad thing though, it means no through traffic and therefore it’s very quiet and peaceful.
Apparently sixty per cent of the housing here is holiday cottages. Unsure if this is a good or bad thing, if they are used the year round, it will obviously boost the local economy, which is a good thing. Problems occur when people buy holiday cottages that lie empty for most of the year.
Having said that the Shoreline Café was open and occupied at 5pm on Sunday, which implies that the trade is there for them.

Kipper Smokers
L Robson the local fish smokers provide kippers country wide and are sensible enough to maintain a web presence and the superbly appointed http://www.kipper.co.uk/ .

As well as this there’s an art gallery, run by local seascape artist Mick Oxley which was opened by David Miliband MP (the one who didn’t become Labour Leader). His paintings are well worth seeing and his web site is http://www.mickoxley.co.uk/ .

Craster is amazing. One phone box, a kipper smoking factory (well shed) , with adjacent shop and restaurant that opens for three and a half hours a day , is closed Sundays and doesn’t take cards. Opposite this you have The Jolly Sailor a wonderful pub with free internet access, and a sign board featuring a jolly sailor straight out of HP Lovecraft!!

There’s no mobile phone signal, no analogue TV, and digital TV is almost non-existent barring BBC1 and BBC2. The nearest attraction is Dunstanburgh Castle, a sprawling ruin maintained by English Heritage that you have to walk through 1.25 miles of livestock occupied cliff top pasture to get to.
Craster is essentially a cul-de-sac, but this is no bad thing if you want to get away from things but still have some semblance of comfort such as a decent local restaurant, food store and pub.
Dunstanburgh Castle

The walk to Dunstanburgh is visually stunning, and, amazingly, at points gives you mobile phone reception!

Today is the last day in Craster, will definitely come back.  Last night there were two lights, possibly torches on the breakwater just outside the harbour until about three in the morning. Though it was stormy they definitely were not distress signals, so I assume researchers or mad divers, although it would have been a great start to a Lovecraftian horror movie in keeping with the pub sign at The Jolly Sailor!.

This morning I went down to the rocks outside the harbour, even though they were chained off. Got some interesting views of the rocks beyond the harbour, no sign of any corpses rising from the depths or mermen!

One thing this week has done is allow me to put down a couple of words for the blog. Two thousand of those were for yesterday’s novel experiment, but that is still quite a few words for y diaristic observations. All this is maybe forty minutes from Newcastle, which is an absolute find.

Sunrise in Craster
Another thought is that in a week’s holiday on the North East coast of England there has been virtually no rain at all. The weather has been superb, allowing walks along the coast and inland without the need for big coats and umbrellas!

Anyway I’ll wrap this up now, until my next visit.

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