Of Beaches and Castles

Bamburgh castleNicola here and today I’m talking about beaches – and history. You may already have noticed that the Wenches love a good trip to the sea, whether it’s a Caribbean island or the Antarctic or the Northern shores of Scotland. There’s something about the water and a stretch of golden sand that is refreshing and inspiring, even if you’re wearing several layers of thermals to appreciate it, as I was last week!

My beach odyssey started in Bamburgh in Northumberland, on the North East coast of England. It’s a favourite spot of mine and the setting for a story I’ll be writing a little way down the line. The whole area is chock full of history from pre-Roman times through the centuries, plus it has castles by the score and at Bamburgh there is the big mama of them all.

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A Land of Alpha Castles!

IMG_4294Nicola here and today I'm talking about alphas but in a slightly different way. I’ve recently come back from a trip to Northumberland, in the far north of England. Northumberland is a history-lover’s paradise. It has more castles than any other county in England. It’s past has been shaped by violence and conflict: Viking raids, Scottish incursions, battles and rebellion. I was staying in the village of Bamburgh, in the shadow of the iconic Bamburgh castle, once the seat of the Anglo Saxon Kings of Northumbria.

I think of Northumberland as the land of ""alpha castles," big, strong and built to show power and IMG_4343military might. Sometimes you will come across fortified houses that have been given the title "castle" but when you look at them up against the big ones their pretty little crenellations look as though they will fall over at the first sight of a trebuchet. It was important that Northumberland's castles could withstand serious attack, at least until the 17th century when the threat from Scotland diminished.

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