Hiking Northumberland's coast



Strolling down the coast of Northumberland we came along castles. Standing facing the sea. Huge and impressive to us, small and arrogant to the elements. For they are both shelters and shields. They would appear in the distance as part of the coast line. Maybe slightly darker, but a prominence like a rock at the edge of the cliff. As you approach, details would appear in layers. More colours would be added to detach the tower from the mass of the ridge.

Impassable giants. By the power of their sheer size reigning on us all but the cows and sheep who graze undisturbed by the pilgrim of men.

I would raise my head to gaze at the flock of rooks circling the towers. And I would think: why the urge to elevate, shaped rock after shaped rock, such a tower? If not for terror?



Dunstanburgh castle, defeated by time, spread out its bare bones in the meadow.

The remains of our obstinate and desperate attempts at shaping the surface of earth for protection against ourselves and the elements. Erecting our watch to probe the horizon across lands and water anxious and fearful. Yes. Castle’s ruins are the blueprints of ancient fears. Walls and towers like the backbones of our angst, as tangible as the rock they are made of. Upright still like a hypertrophic scar on the grassland. Timeless anxiety hardened in mineral and relentlessly sculpted by the whims of the wind, of the sea, of the sky.

I would stand in it against its rugged surface and I would think. “I feel a stranger”. I would try to invoke the generations of lost men, lords, soldiers whose life were bounds to these stones. “A stranger amongst my kind”. A stranger to them before, to them now admiring the ruins and proud of what they once created.




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