Peter and I have come to the southern part of the Northumberland coast. We have based ourselves in the small town of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. The scenery holds less drama than up north and the local towns and villages show obvious signs of physical and financial decay when compared to the famed and tourist rich Northumbrian honeypots.
We started on Tuesday by re-visiting the area close to Amble and a more sedate viewing of Coquet Island than on race day a couple of days earlier. The air was almost still and the sea unusually flat as we made our way to the 'Fishing Boat Inn' at Boulmer. Boulmer has a reef of flat rock that protects this natural harbour and fishing is still done from here using traditional boats known as 'Cobles'.
On the way back we had a quick look at the estuary and the pretty village of Alnmouth before passing Amble and finishing for the day.
Wednesday started in similar fashion with calm seas and blue skies. We ran the gauntlet of the Tyne Tunnel, roadworks and unfamiliar streets to reach South Shields beach with the aim of paddling to Roker beach near Sunderland.
Shortly after passing Souter Lighthouse we spotted red flags on the cliff. I made enquiries but the range would be active for the rest of the day and we could make no further progress. We settled for a visit to the lighthouse before ending our curtailed trip back at South Shields.
On Thursday we headed for Seaton Sluice to paddle past St Mary's Island and Whitley Bay. The sea was a little more choppy and the swell increased as we stopped at Longsands beach for a snack at 'Robinson Crusoe's' beach cafe. Our return to Seaton Sluice was through some messy surf.