Monday 14 October 2013--Back to all-day gray and drizzle. Happy to leave my B&B...it wasn't that bad, after all, but I won't be back. I
regret that I didn't do much while I was here, but it goes that way sometimes. The weather, my heels, and my mood were all factors. Anyway, I've
seen a good deal of this country, and I guess I don't really need to visit again. If I do, I'll probably stay in Hexham.
I do my best to get lost leaving town, at one point driving along a narrow country lane with a grass Mohawk, wondering if it leads anywhere at all. Eventually roll into Morpeth, a sizable Northumbrian town I haven't seen before. Park in the large lot back of town and spend three hours poking around. Planners have done a good job of preserving the life of the town center, while making reasonable concessions to car culture--a modern shopping arcade links the car park to the high street. There's lots to see around, including a Telford bridge, Carlisle Park, Morpeth Castle, and the Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum.
I drive east to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, where I walk along the beachfront. The town was once an important port, and later a popular resort. On a dreary day, its charm eludes me. The 13th-century parish church at the north end of town is interesting, but locked up. A peculiar monument titled "Couple" stands out in the bay, a man and a woman staring blankly out to sea, their backs to the town.
Drive on up to Alnwick, where I will stay three nights. My B&B is a ten-minute walk from the center of town, in a nondescript neighborhood. It lacks the architectural charm of my Corbridge lodgings, but is much more comfortable for me. Dinner is at the Oaks, halfway up the road toward town, followed by pints at the Tanners Arms and the Fleece. I'll see the town tomorrow.