15 November 2010

Berwick to Blyth

The photo shows the lovely view of Berwick Harbour entrance from the caravan site. I need to point out that this was taken on Sunday, the rest day. For a reason that puzzled me when I came to look, and failed to find a suitable photo for the Berwick to Blyth stage. I then realised that the reason was that the weather was so bad and taking out the camera on the trip to Blyth would have soaked it! The rain is incessant and the wind again, depressingly from the south.
Ideas of detouring via Holy Island, Bamburgh and the Northumberland Heritage Coast were easily cast aside. The exposure of the coast and additional miles were enough to make the dismal choice of using the A1, the only option. Wet, wind and fast passing traffic are constant and unfriendly companions. It is at these time when Terry seems to have an uncanny understanding that there might be a need for support, and he frequently stops in laybys just to make sure that all is well.
The signs for Seahouses and Craster remind me that there is some wonderful scenery close by, but the attrocious weather kills any incentive to take a look. A consolation though when I ride through Warkworth and its beautiful castle again tells me that this is a part of the country to which we will most deffinitely be returning.

The closest caravan site that Terry and Andrea are able to source is located at Ashington which is about seven miles to the NW of Blyth. Although this is a commercial site, it is very well maintained and the kind owner declines to accept payment once he learns what we are up to. I find these acts of generosity very touching.

The tea/cakes and hot shower - in that order - never fail to do their magic and in dry clothes, we are off to Blyth to make a special 7 O'Clock mass at Our Lady and St Wilred's. We are just in time and Paul Atkinson, OAS lay Port Chaplain for Blyth meets us at the entrance relieved to see us turn up. It is a wretched evening with the rain stil pouring and winds howling. He says look inside and we are amazed to see at least 50 parishioners who have left their homes to turn out to greet us. In addition to PP Fr Phillip Quinn, the Mass is concelebrated by Monsr. Ronnie Brown, who I know well as a fellow AOS Trustee. A lovely church and congregation who, as in the case of St Cuthberts in Berwick neen no introduction to the work of AOS. They are intrepiud supporters of the holy Island Pilgimage for AOS each year and literally send coach-loads of parishioners to support this event. Some great personal stories are exchanged after the mass and from a town where seafaring and coal mining were once the predominent industries, I felt for the first time the kindred bond of hard dangerous lives of miners and seafarers. One lady remarked that she had two brothers one of whom chose to go to sea on a famous collier, small coasters that once ran coal to the Thames power stations. She said that he had signed on in Blyth, but was so disenchanted by the time his ship reached London, he quit and came home by bus. Evidently taking up a mining career was, at least for this lad, an easier option than going to sea!
Fr Phillip treats Paul, Terry and I to an excellent Italian meal and it attests to the size of the portions that even with my carb-hungry stomach, it isnt possible to finish!

No comments: