We were warned Alfie could be a naughty horse. As soon as my daughter F had mounted him, he decided to turn around, walk back into his stable and continue his breakfast of hay….. and more hay! It was F’s first ride, and she didn’t know quite what to do. A stable hand took his reigns, told him off and informed him that he was taking F for a ride. How much he understood, I don’t know.
The Slate Hall Riding Centre was handily placed, close to our b and b in Seahouses. The riding lesson was something F had been looking forward to all holiday. Her group were taken for a ride down a country lane to get used to their horses before returning to the field behind the riding centre. There, they were taught the techniques of horse riding. By the end of the lesson, F had even tackled some small jumps. She was full of it afterwards as we walked into town to find some lunch.
Seahouses seemed to have all the trappings of a British seaside resort, with fish and chip shops, amusement arcades and souvenir shops. It was surrounded by campsites and a fair was in town while we were there. It has a quaint little harbour, full of fishing boats, but the highlight must be the 3 mile long sandy beach that stretches north from the town towards Bamburgh Castle, dramatically set on a clifftop overlooking the sea. It looked at its best as the sun went down, forming a picturesque silhouette on the horizon.
After a round of crazy golf, we spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach. The Farne Islands were noticeable, perched just off shore. St Cuthbert resided on Inner Farne in the 7th century, staying for the peace and solitude. He passed laws protecting the seabirds nesting on the island, thought to be the earliest bird protection legislation in England. Today the islands are a wildlife sanctuary under the management of the National Trust and boat trips to them are available from the harbour.
We walked along the beach trying to find a suitable spot to fly the kite that my cousin had given to F. As we walked, we saw some of the more experienced horse riders trotting and galloping on the sand.
On reaching a point where we had plenty of space and were also exposed to the wind (to be fair, most of the beach was bracing despite the blue skies and summer sunshine), we removed the kite from its box and proceeded to launch it skywards. It came straight back down again. We tried and tried for much of the afternoon, but I don’t think we got it more than 5 metres into the air. Obviously a dud kite – it couldn’t be our lack of flying skills! Nevertheless, we had lots of fun and loads of laughs as we launched it again and again, watching repeatedly as it dived to earth.
Eventually giving up on the kite, we set off to have a paddle in the sea. Compared to the south west coast that we are more used to, the water was cold and we didn’t have the nerve to submerge for a full scale swim. It was good fun splashing about though.
The afternoon passed and it was time to head back along a footpath to our b and b. We headed out in the evening and dined in a curry house. The curry was good and F told me they served the best chicken nuggets and chips she had tasted! Every bit as tasty as Alfie’s hay, I suspect.
Seahouses is in Northumberland, England, UK, 49 miles north of Newcastle
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