Saturday, 2 August 2008

Bamburgh

Today we went to Bamburgh Castle. I think it is one of the finest castles in England, perched on a basalt outcrop on the very edge of the North Sea. It is an ancient place, but the castle has been extensively restored, first by Lord Crewe in the 1750's and again in 1893 when the first Lord Armstrong, who made Cragside such a marvellous place, bought it. I'm afraid it is very much a Victorian's idea of a castle, though the central keep is very much as it was. Lord Armstrong intended to turn it into a convalescent home, but died in 1900. The Armstrong family seem not to have had his talent for making money and sold off much of Cragside's treasures and gave the house to the National Trust in 1977, but kept Bamburgh as the family home. The picture above, taken from the website, shows the usual beach side view on a brilliant summer's day.

Today things were a little different.

We had moments of intense sunshine, and many more minutes of furious downpours. My photo is taken from the landward side, and boy, does it look different. They say long ago the sea came up around the basalt crag, and that a harbour existed underneath the clock tower.

The storm blew itself out to sea, but more dark clouds followed.
I had dragged dh an hour and a half north on the tedious A1 because Regia Anglorum were to be in Bamburgh. The group recreate the days of Anglo Saxons and Vikings and for two days they were setting up within the castle grounds. I took lots of photos and peered at tablet weaving, a loom, a Viking bed - very like an IKEA bed! I'm sure I could buy fake wolfskins and bearskins to drape over it if I tried, and if my tastes ran that way. The cookingpots were less to my tast, but I did like the way they had portable hearths. A lipped metal square, on legs, with the fire burning at knee height instead of at ground level. Much easier for cooking.
I took photos of the warriors training, and managed to get shouted at. "Would the lady in the white coat please keep behind the ropes!"
"There isn't one," I shouted back. (And there wasn't! I was in the entrance way, and they'd forgotten to fix the rope across. I had one half of one foot over the imaginary line)
"Imagine there's a white rope there!"
I retreated.
Health & Safety has invaded the warriors' training ground. Whatever next?

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