We left Prestonpans at 10:15 under a glowering sky with a strong wind buffetted Bertie. The plan to day is to visit various border castles with a stopover at a cafe near Lindisfarne in Northumbria. First stop was at Hailes Castle beside the River Tyne (not The Tyne as in Newcastle but another, Scottish River Tyne!). We had seen the sign for this castle several times as we drove along the A1 over the years. This time we wanted to stop and see it. Despite the weather (cold, wet, windy) I am glad we did although access was along a narrow single track road with minimal parking. Actually had it been a nice day and more people around we would have struggled to park here! There is no charge to visit the ruins but they are dramatically sited right beside the rushing river. I would like to go back here in the summer sometime and enjoy it properly. As it was we zipped round shivering!

Hailes Castle

From Hailes we drove across the border in to England hoping to visit several Northumbrian Castles we have not seen in 18 years (June 2000 to be precise!) and the first one was meant to be Norham Castle. This was closed but we did not realise that until we had parked up in the car park – and got stuck!! I was sure I was still on the hard surface and not the soft and indeed we were but there was so much detritus built up on top of the hard standing that Bertie’s wheels were spinning. It took me 30 minutes with a spade and traction mats (in the rain!) to get him moving again.

Etal Castle was open and had a proper hard car park. Still cold, wet and windy but we were determined to go and see it once again. We were pleased to see they had a smart new exhibition about the battle of Flodden Field (1513) when the nasty English slaughtered yet more Scots and even killed their king James IV who was the last king to be killed in a battle in the UK. We had lunch here before braving the falling snow (yes really!) to drive on south to our stopover at Lindisfarne Eat Sleep.

Etal Castle in the gloom
Snow on the road in Northumbria. Bertie does not like snow and his demisters struggle keep the screen clear.

We were pleased to arrive at Lindisfarne Eat Sleep at 4pm with plenty of time before they closed. We needed to check in with them and find out where to park etc. They offer free, secure parking in return for your business in the cafe. Having not long had a late lunch we decided to treat ourselves to cooked breakfast in the morning. A good fry up is not something we ever have at home and so a cafe breakfast was quite inviting.

Lindisfarne Cafe Stopover on A1. We had the car park to ourselves and although the A1 was not far away the noise was not an issue. If you look carefully on the horizon you can just see why this is called Lindisfarne Eat Sleep!
Snow in the Cheviots