Saturday Snapshot: Bamburgh Castle

Last Monday we visited Bamburgh Castle on the coast in Northumberland overlooking the North Sea. It’s a dramatic sight, a huge castle extending over ¼ of a mile, built on a volcanic outcrop, 45 metres above sea level. (Click on the photos to enlarge.)

Bamburgh Castle from the carpark

Bamburgh Castle was bought by Lord Armstrong (who built Cragside) and renovated by him at the end of the 19th century. The castle still belongs to the Armstrong family, and is open to the public. It also hosts weddings and corporate events and has been used as a film location since the 1920s, featuring in films such as Ivanhoe (1952), El Cid (1961), Mary, Queen of Scots (1972), and Elizabeth (1998).

The entrance is through two gatehouse towers, which still have some of the original stonework. They were altered and added to in the 19th century.

Gatehouse Towers

From there you walk along the Battery Terrace, with its cannons facing the sea, placed there ready to defend the castle when Napoleon threatened to invade Britain.

Battery Terrace

From the Battery Terrace you can see Lindisfarne to the north and the Farne Islands to the south. Lindisfarne is just a dot on the horizon above the first cannon in the photo.

Inner Farne on the horizon

The photo below is of the Keep, which was originally built in the 12th century. It sits on a massive plinth to prevent attackers digging beneath it and setting fires to collapse it.

The Keep

And finally a view of Bamburgh Castle taken from the road from Seahouses to Bamburgh:

Bamburgh Castle taken from Seahouses

See Alyce’s blog At Home With Books for more Saturday Snapshots.

Saturday Snapshots – Castles

Bamburgh Castle seen from Lindisfarne

This is Bamburgh Castle, off the coast of Northumberland south of the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and on Monday when we went to  the Island, it was clearly visible on the horizon. The sea was shimmering in the sunshine.

I posted a photo of Lindisfarne Castle when we visited the island in March. Early on Monday morning it was raining but it soon stopped and the sun came out, even though it remained extremely windy.

The Castle was originally an Elizabethan fort protecting the harbour. It was built between 1570 and 1572 and was garrisoned for over 300 years – guns and soldiers were removed in 1893. Now it is owned by the National Trust.

The photo below is of Lindisfarne Castle taken from the walled garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll north of the Castle. The site of the garden was where the soldiers of the fort had formerly grown vegetables.

Lindisfarne Castle

Inside the Castle it’s an Edwardian house, designed by the architect Edwin Lutyens for his friend Edward Hudson, who was the founder of Country Life magazine. By 1902 the castle was derelict and Lutyens turned it into a holiday home for Hudson. It’s both homely and dramatic. There are columns and rounded arches; the rooms are all small  – you can imagine yourself living there. The dining room in the old Tudor fortress has a vaulted ceiling with a wide arched chimney-piece. It had once been a bakery and there is an old bread oven next to the fireplace.

Lindisfarne Castle Dining Room

These days you can get married in the Ship Room, so called because of the wooden model ship that hangs from the ceiling, flanked by two Dutch 17th century chandeliers:

Lindisfarne Castle Ship Room

For more Saturday Snapshots see Alyce’s blog At Home with Books.

Finding Books whilst Searching for a House

The search for a house is still on! House hunting has been top of our priorities this last week, so much so that I’ve been neglecting this blog. If only it was as easy to find a house as it is to find books, but as we were looking around the area where Barter Books is, it would have been impossible not to come away without buying any.

Barter Books is a beautiful secondhand bookshop, one of the largest in the country. It’s in what used to be a Victorian railway station on the main road into Alnwick in Northumberland and I’d love to live nearby (there are houses for sale, one is very near!) . There are shelves and shelves of books to browse. I restricted myself both in time spent there, otherwise I would have been there all day, and in the number of books I bought – just two hardbacks of the Collected Works of Agatha Christie comprising Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, The ABC Murders, Death on the Nile and They Do It With Mirrors and a paperback copy of Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride.

Then one day whilst in Wooler having lunch in Breeze, which is a lovely giftshop, art gallery and coffee shop I just happened to notice that they were also selling secondhand books and I bought an excellent hardback copy of Dracula by Bram Stoker.  Wooler is a small market town at the edge of the Cheviots set in the most beautiful countryside and we would like to live there. The Wooler Community website describes it as the “natural gateway to Glendale and Northumberland National Park”. Bamburgh with its impressive castle is not far away.

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle

I really shouldn’t be buying any more books at all as we don’t have any more space to keep them in the house we live in now and one of the requirements for a new house is that there has to be space for all our books – a separate room would be ideal but failing that enough wallspace to take all the bookcases. Even with that in mind I still bought two more books in one of the motorway service stations on the way north. I keep reading about how good Steig Larsson’s books are so when I saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire in the “Buy 1 Get 1 Half Price” books I bought them.