Image from Northumberland National Park

Were ever you are in the UK you will no doubt be within reach of one of our fifteen National Parks. From the Brecon Beacons to Yorkshire Dales there is certainly something for everyone.

For our National Parks Week experience we visited Northumberland and more specifically Walltown. We’ve never visited this section of Northumberland National Park and were pleasantly surprised as to what was offer. For two days during NPW the site is transformed into a playground filled with adventure aiding imagination and encouraging all to try something different.

Duncan Wise, Visitor Development and Marketing Manager of Northumberland NP joined us in Newcastle and gave us a running commentary along the route to the site (watch out for 2017 when a huge development is occurring because of Lottery funding).

We sampled archery, a zip line, climbing wall, animals and pizza-making. I always knew I had a girly girl yet dare-devil daughter. It was truly apparent in her determined climbing of the wall in slippy trainers and her three go’s on the high zip wire (you weren’t getting me up there). I was even more super proud of Emily at her third go on the zip wire. There was a boy behind her (aged 10) who kept telling his mum just how nervous he was and she calmly turned around waited for him to finish talking to his mummy and said;

My mummy helps people stay safe and she has let me go on here and I’m her most precious poppet so it must be really safe (looks around for my confirmation). That’s right isn’t it mummy?

Heart melts!

After the activities we headed for pizza making. This was a little too popular and it would have been great if more people had been on hand to help. The pizzas were however very tasty!

I was very gutted when Emily decided she was too old for storytelling which I found very strange as we have two stories every single evening but I peaked in the tent and saw that there was a heavy infant contingency if there had been an older group I’m sure she would have actively listened.

On a usual day there is woodland, meadows, wildlife lakes, car parking, toilets, café and firm paths (although access to these in places was quite wet). There are several pleasant circular walks with access for all inclusive of  wheelchair and buggy users (I opted to leave my one year at home and would definitely pop him in a carrier).

Nearby you have Carvoran Roman Army Museum and Hadrian’s Cycleway. Getting to Walltown is easy via the Hadrian’s Wall Bus and there is also an onsite car park (£4 / vehicle all day, with tickets transferable to other National Park car parks along the route of the wall). If you come on your bike there are lockups.

Walltown is a designated Dark Sky Discovery Site perfect for viewing the dark skies over the Northumberland National Park. We are heading back in September to do a guided walk we’ll let you know how we get on.

#Top tip: Wear appropriate footwear in the form of wellies or walking boots. When the site is affected by rain (we are talking the north of England here) is can get rather squidgy underfoot in parts.

Love from

Suz and Emily x

 

#Try20

The month of May sees the start of National Walking month and this year Nicola and I are going to try and walk  as an absolute minimum 20 minutes every single day. Of course there is a hashtag for this (#try20) but it’s not one we have created.

Living Streets is the UK charity that champions everyday walking. Their aim is to create a walking nation, free from congested roads and pollution, reducing the risk of preventable illness and social isolation and making walking the natural choice.

For over 85 years Living Streets has been a beacon for walking. In the early days their campaigning led to the UK’s first zebra crossing and the introduction of speed limits.

Their ambition is to get people of all generations to enjoy the benefits that this simple act brings. Progress starts here: one street, one school, one step at a time.

Twenty minutes is doable and I’m aiming on getting a minimum of a fifth of the recommended daily steps (10,000) fitted into this time.

Day 1: May 1 – Metro Centre Visit

Yes whilst Nicola was down in London celebrating her nephew’s naming day and lots of bloggers were in Manchester for Blog On I was subjected to the Metro Centre.

I didn’t count the time or the steps as I stupidly left my tracker at home (which is currently my mobile) but if I walked past each shop front, I would have walked 3.5 miles and believe me it certainly felt like that especially with a reluctant six year old and pushing a nine month old in his pram.

Purchased: 1 x man’s suit from M&S, baseball boots from Clark Shoes, Scalp products by Aveda at House of Fraser and concealer by collection 2000.

Day 2: May 2 – Trip to Wynyard hall then on to Seaham 

Bank holiday Monday and we headed to Wynyard Hall to see, ‘The Very Best of British’ Spring Fair. Not much walking got done as I bumped into Judith and Nicky of Pure Candles who I haven’t seen in years. After a rather uneventful event (another story) we decided to head to the beach. The rain clouds were in the sky and there was a nip in the air but I was driving so I was in charge so off to the coast we go.

We parked up and I donned our Baby Bjorn One carrier and it was off for a walk with 17lb (7.7kg) strapped to my front. It’s a short walk along the high street past Tommy and then done some steps then a ramp and then some more steps. I needed help going down as I couldn’t see past Luke to see the drop of the steps.

Then we were onto the beach. This is not a sandy beach but one with pebbles and sea glass. We spent time forging for lovely glass and then Emily and H2B headed out to look at the rock pools. We walked to the edge of the beach and then the sky went dark so it was about turn and a quick march. This took us about ten minutes from the edge of the beach to the top of the steps as it was almost two steps forward two steps back on the shingle.

The time spent walking was part of our day and didn’t feel like exercise at all. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and this #try20 is so manageable.

I did both of these walks in a pair of heeled boots, not the type of footwear necessarily associated with walking but nether the less a walk is a walk no matter what’s on our feet from bare toes to stilettos. Get walking and #try20 !

We’ll keep you updated with how we are going.

Love Suz x

 

Sunset over the River Tyne Sept 2015The most often repeated phrase in my family this month has been “the nights are starting to get lighter”. Which of course they are by about 15 minutes a week depending on where you live.

This one fact cheers everyone in my family up. The chatter is focussed on getting back to our caravan when the site opens again. Walking up hills. Springtime. Things to look forward to.

But surely there has to be something good about January ?!

To try and stop living waiting for it to be April, I’ve been writing down everything that gives me pleasure right now.

  • Positive resolutions
  • Flowers in the kitchen
  • Doing crosswords each night
  • Fresh sheets on the bed
  • Making time to eat tea together
  • A really nice coffee on a morning
  • The view of the river Tyne at work
  • A tidy office
  • Getting excited about going to London to see family

And of course, the days getting longer!

Nic x

 

Who wouldn't want to go walking here?It’s January. Everyone hates January. The darkness. The wet. The short days. I could go on. I think we have to search for things to enjoy in January, so I’m sharing a favourite beach of ours.

This picture, full of winter sunshine, was taken at Druridge Bay, Northumberland in late December 2015 and it couldn’t have been more glorious. Cold, bright and beautiful.

For all of us living in the North East, we’re definitely spoilt for choice when it comes to beaches, walks and getting out into the fresh air. And mostly, they’re not overcrowded.

Druridge Bay is simply stunning. And at seven miles, is long enough to really get out and stretch your legs. We parked the car at the Country Park and set off for lunch at Amble. On this particular walk, we passed cyclists, surfers, a couple of horse riders (and the horses) and a few people surfing the sands which looked like awesome fun.

You’ll come across sections of the beach that are black; in the 19th century coal was mined nearby and some of it is still there on the sand. You’ll see anti-tank blocks and pill boxes too, on the coast to help ward off a German invasion during World War II.

 

Coal on the beach, Druridge Bay, Northumberland

From the Druridge Bay Country Park to Amble it’s 3.5 miles and should take about 70 minutes, depending on how many times you stop to take pictures, collect shells and mess about!

The Old Store House, Amble

After about 3.5 miles, you reach the little town of Amble. You’ll see the caravan park on your left so be sure to come off the beach there. The sign is wonderful; Amble, The Friendliest Port!

A couple more minutes along the road, you hit The Old Store House. We’d never been in so we decided to give it a go.

Perfect for walkers, the floor is stone… no worry about the mess. The pub is light and friendly (as are the staff) and the food was perfect for us hungry pair.

Mike chose the Northumbrian cheese platter, which for £8.75 was about the best value, largest platter we reckon we’ve had. And for me, some sweet potato wedges, £3.75 and creamy garlic mushrooms on lovely toasted rustic bread £5.75, enough carbs to power us back along the beach.

We’d definitely recommend The Old Store House and you can see what you’d fancy on their menu.

If the sun does come out in the dreary old month of January, the blue sky on this beach gives a different meaning to January Blues.

Nic x

 

LoveNorthEast