A couple of weeks ago we had a nice, sunny Sunday, almost an early spring day, so my friend decided to drive further down the coast with his dog than usual and I went along. We ended up crossing the border into England (nothing like a bit of foreign travel, eh?) and found ourselves at the gorgeous, historic Bamburgh Castle on a lovely stretch of the Northumbrian coast. I’ve known about the castle for many years but this was the first time I got to visit it.
There’s been a fortification of some sort or another since the 400 AD period on this basalt rock rising up next to the sea, the square keep is Norman (with walls from 9 to 11 feet thick), some of the rest of the castle looks almost like a Victorian idea of what a medieval castle should look like and that may be because industrial magnate Lord Armstrong bought it (as many newly rich industrialists did with castles and country houses to fit in with the upper classes in society) and restored it. Beautiful building though, on lovely part of the coast and we were lucky to arrive late afternoon as the sunlight was stretched out to a lovely, warm copper colour and was hitting the landward side of the castle, making the ancient red stonework glow.
and here’s a short video panorama of the Castle:
Cut into a niche lower down the base of the castle rock is the local war memorial, standing on a flat rock a few feet above the parkland in front of the castle; it is a rather lovely spot to have a memorial to the fallen. The Christ on the cross in the memorial seemed to me to have a very old style to it, perhaps so it better suited the looming medieval castle towering protectively above it.
Tense, oh so tense! Scotland just in the lead over ancient rivals England, who we have so rarely beaten. 20 minutes to go, still just in the lead, everything to play for: England determined, playing some bloody great rugby, the Scots mixing it up, unafraid, throwing in some bloody brilliant tackles. Ten minutes to go: England fighting to get a try and tip the scales, the boy from Caledonia mounting a fantastic defence… 2 minutes to go and we’re still just in the lead… Fingernails dug into the beer can at this stage, it could all go so wrong in second… And it’s all over with Scotland standing at 18 points, England at 12, Princess Anne giving the Calcutta Cup to the victorious captin of her faovurite team. I could hear the huge roar of “Scotland!” from the Murrayfield crowd in my flat as I was glued to the screen.
The Six Nations was great for Scottish fans in the 90s then we had years of being pathetic, so heartbreaking after the glories of the 90s. Now we’ve thrashed two of the teams who started the Six Nations as pretty much the two strongest teams in most pundit’s view (France being the other). Even this morning some papers, especially down south seemed to think all the English team had to do was bother to turn up. I look forward to reading what they say tomorrow. And even nicer the Scottish players clapped the English players, as they left the field because it was a fabulous, tight, tense game of fantastic, world-class rugby between two terrific teams and great to watch. Excuse my excitement but its been a while since we played so well and it was one of those terrific games where both sides are playing well and it is so close you’re on the edge of your seat. And victory over England is always sweet to Scots, even today in the 21st century – not that we have any big beef or dislike really, but its still fun to beat the Auld Enemy from time to time (especially since it doesn’t happen that often!).