A Spinone on the Northumberland Coast (#1)

What a great few days!

The journey up to Northumberland went well. Ozzie had a good walk just before we left, and after a brief clean up he was keen to leap into the back of the car, knowing full-well that we were off on a trip. He has a fair bit of boot space to himself in the back, and usually settles down once we reach any speed. We don’t use a crate – although we did when he was a puppy.

Ozzie the Italian Spinone on Beadnell beach, Northumberland, October 2010

On Beadnell beach, Northumberland

Although we have a sizeable estate car we couldn’t find a crate that had the right dimensions for us once he was fully grown. Instead, there is a luggage net that separates his space from the main passenger compartment. This is important for our safety as much as anything else, as in a collision things (including dog) might be thrown about everywhere. It means Ozzie has quite a lot of room, although it is important not to underestimate how much room an Italian Spinone can take up!

We had a couple of decent stops at services on the journey. Ozzie always enjoys these, as there are a host of new niffs to explore, particularly all the prime sites that have been visited by a host of other dogs on comfort breaks. Apart from a slow section at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, we made good progress, arriving just before tea-time.

The family we are holidaying with had arrived a little before us, but the children (and Ozzie) still had a good time exploring the rooms and finding all the hidden treasures. We are sharing a large, newly-built holiday let on a brand-new estate, a few hundred meters from the sea at Beadnell, which is just south of Seahouses.  The house itself is very well appointed, and as this is a ‘dog friendly’ residence we have even found mats, dog bowls and even poo bags provided!  As is usual with these places, the floors are mostly wood veneer, which is Ozzie’s pet hate (he slips about too much on them) but there is a big and fluffy rug in the front room which he is very taken with.

Beadnell itself is an odd mixture: there is an older village center, surrounded by modern estates which seem (to us at least) impersonal and a little depressing.  There is still plenty of work going on building new houses, but it isn’t clear to us who is going to want all these identikit 4,5,and 6 bedroom houses plonked on scrub land between the old village and the sea. It seems to us that many of them were holiday lets, like ours. We guess that most of these houses must be priced beyond the reach of local youngsters hoping to own a home of their own. Ozzie wasn’t convinced either – on the main estate drive giving access to 70+ houses, he only spotted one tree – and that was a slender young thing we weren’t too keen to let him spoil.
But the beach! If you have visited this part of the world, you will know what we mean. Literally miles of sand, with miles more exposed at low water, and each headland punctuated with a castle. The weather is clear but with a biting cold wind, reminding us that we are soft southerners, no doubt. Seahouses on Sunday was viciously cold, and another slightly peculiar place, with caravan parks abounding and a very high fish-and-chip-shop-to-resident ratio.  But again, that beach! Plus, a harbour with a mole and waves breaking over it. We explored and got some camera exercise.

Vandalised harbour sign at Seahouses o no climb pie walls

A very clear sign at Seahouses harbour

Obviously the locals have a sense of humour, as this sign demonstrates. We enjoyed the sea air as long as we could stand it, before heading back for a Sunday-evening roast and holiday celebration.

On Monday we visited Bamburgh, with it’s imposing castle dominating the landscape. Unfortunately, the castle was ‘no dogs’ so I decided to walk Ozzie on the beach whilst the families did the tour. What started out as a pleasant stroll along the water’s edge turned into a longer walk, and then longer, until I rounded a small buff and found I was practically at Seahouses. Ozzie was having a great time meeting lots of human beans and dogs, so I decided to walk on and get lunch at Seahouses. Unfortunately, right at the end I discovered much too late that my ‘phone had no signal down on the beach, so I couldn’t warn the family and had to turn around and march back. The weather was beautiful, the beach and sky magnificent, and it turned into a very memorable walk for both of us. We even met another Italian Spinone, a white-and-orange like Ozzie but with a coat very much softer. The dogs played like puppies on the beach, tearing around – even though Ozzie and I had already clocked up a good few miles. Meanwhile I exchanged Spinone lore and laughs with the other owner. Turns out the family had also seen this Spinone from the castle battlements, at first thinking it was us.

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, from the water's edge

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, from the water's edge at low tide. The sky really was this colour!

Eventually Ozzie and I caught up with the others and we had a very pleasant late lunch at a pub in Bamburgh.  We sat in the sun in the garden, and I was relieved to hear that the others had enjoyed an equally good time exploring the castle, particularly our youngest, who is very keen on history. After lunch we went back on to the beach, but as the tide was (relatively) close in now I kept Ozzie on the lead, as there were a lot of families with small children enjoying the incoming tide. A very memorable day, and Ozzie certainly slept well that night – but needless to say, he was raring to go on Beadnell beach this morning!

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