Coast ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE
THE GREAT DIVIDE The notion of the North-South divide is no secret in England, spliting the country through politics, culture and stereotypes. But forget any animosity, I am going to take you on a three part journey from the South East coast to the North East coast, and show you some gems I found on the way. Starting in the South with three other friends, we travel by car, train, and foot, taking in the charming country around us, ending our four hundred mile adventure up North. Bon voyage!
Camber Sands, East Sussex
A road trip should always start in the early morning. The day ahead is whatever you make it. Scenic routes and summer tunes punctuated with roadside cafés, map confusion and spontanious stop offs - the road is your oyster. The sun peeking over the trees, bathing the horizon in a warm orange glow tells me that it’s time to start the journey. With the picnic basket packed and four friends packed in the car, we head for Camber Sands on the South East coast to climb the dunes, walk the beach and paddle in the sea until the sun fades to dusk and it’s time to huddle around the campfire. It doesn’t get much better than this. As morning breaks, a little further North of Camber we find our way to Leeds Castle, where we sneak in to marvel at the stunning grounds and the impressive castle. It’s beautiful here. Despite our reluctancy to leave, the journey must continue. Maidstone is calling.
THE SUN SLOWLY SINKS BEHIND THE DUNES. SILHOUETTED GRASSES AND THE APPROACHING DARKNESS FRAME THE DUSKY SKY. THE DAY ENDS PERFECTLY.
LEEDS CASTLE A view across the lake,
the castle cloaked by the trees and the looming clouds
Left: Shoes in a Tree, Maidstone, Kent Above: Plants at Leeds Castle, Kent
Waiting on the platform at Maidstone East train station, I can’t wait for the journey North to begin. One hour to London Victoria, underground to King’s Cross, three hours to Newcastle Central Station, and then we can drive up the Northumberland coast to conclude our journey at Seahouses. The sun is shining and it’s a good day. This is the restricted section of the journey, but as the train meanders up the country, passing towns and countryside, stations and farms, tunnels and trees, at least it isn’t dull. Approaching Newcastle, I can’t wait to leave the train and enjoy being home again. So much to do, and an adventure to continue.
Maidstone East Train Station, waiting for the train
York Train Statio, passing through
The Tyne River, from the train into Newcastle Central Station
Back on the road, up to Northumberland
Taking the turn to Seahouses and the Northumberland Coast
Bamburgh as seen from Seahouses, Northumberland
The third stage of the journey across the great divide brings us to the North. Having arrived in Newcastle, the best thing to do is relax and unwind. Tomorrow, the voyage continues. The next morning it’s time to jump in the car and head for the coast. We can’t resist making a slight detour and decide to head to the ever alluring National Trust grounds of Wallington Hall on the way North. When we get back on track, we take the A1, but soon enough we are on the small, country roads winding our way towards the sea, and the promise of a sun soaked Seahouses, and ice cream at Bamburgh. The glorious sunshine highlights exactly why we made this journey as it plays on the water and casts impressive shadows of the rocks. Horses gallop along the beach towards Bamburgh Castle in the distance, and it’s hard not to fall in love with the place. I suppose it’s always the simple pleasures that make us happiest.
Left: High Level Bridge, Newcastle, crossing the Tyne Above: Wallington Hall, Northumberland, walking through the woods
WALLINGTON HALL Looking into the sky,
surrounded by trees as the sun beams down
SEAHOUSES & BAMBURGH
THE DISTANT WAVES CRASH AROUND FAR AWAY ROCKS. SUNSHINE AND
SHADOW SHOW OFF THE DRAMATIC ROCK FORMATIONS. OUR JOURNEY ENDS IN THE WARM SUN OF HOME. PERFECT.
ALL CONTENT BY ROISIN CARR COAST: ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE MAY 2011