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the real north coast

Spent the weekend walking in Northumberland with Lishman. Couldn’t get a room in Alnmouth so booked up at the Lord Crewe in Bamburgh, then we drove up to Alnmouth, parked the car and set off walking north.

21.4 miles and nine hours later we’d made it through the humid, slightly overcast day, trudged miles of beaches and coastal paths, past pillboxes, quarries, caravan parks, ruined castles and hundreds of anti-tank blocks that track the edge of the endless beaches. I showed Lishman the fictional site of Murton Beach, and the dunes where St. Clair had his caravan and where he first met Kaska.

The real coastline is different from the imagined: north of Craster there’s a golf course and a lot of tourists walk the coastal path; the ruined abbey is really a ruined castle and there is no Murton Tip, the fictional pit village that lies a couple of miles inland of St. Claire’s mobile home; there are lots of old mines in the area, and they’re opening a couple of open-casts in the region soon, but none of them near here. There is no planation forest or travelling fair.

I like both, the fictional and the real.

The ruined walls of Dunstanburgh Castle – a mile north of Craster.

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