This is going to be a totally niche post and the first time I've posted something this year filled with photographs from a day out.
If you're not completely fascinated by the gateway to an empty cemetery look away now. Or read on anyway. Come to think of it that would be a decent writing prompt wouldn't it? The Gateway to an Empty Cemetery. Source of a thousand stories.
A couple of days ago, in a total fit of determination to not be ill anymore I went out walking, one of my little adventures to somewhere I've never been before. I'd had a very miserable weekend and on Sunday night decided. "Enough is enough. I'm going somewhere. Can't have another day of feeling like this." So I got out the local OS maps. Looked up to Alnwick. And there, just to the west I saw a name. Hulne Park. Obviously a private estate. No public footpaths marked anywhere on the copyright 2002 Landranger Map number 81. No public footpaths at all. But it was so close to Alnwick that it appealed as an easy enough place to get to. So I looked the place up online. Wonder of wonders! Joy of joys! There's public access to certain routes in the estate.
The park is part of the Northumberland Estates of the Dukes of Northumberland and is open most days from 11am. The estates offer a single page PDF map that shows the permitted walks. Without looking for a single picture of the estate I decided. I was going. I would walk the longest of the three routes and add on a bit so I could go and see this thing on the map called a tower.
I hadn't really got a clue what I'd see and I very nearly didn't see any of it. While my bus was approaching Alnwick I formulated an alternative plan. I was very close to using it. Plan B was to catch a bus to Alnmouth and walk up the coast to Craster - about 8 miles. I'm sure I'd have had a wonderful day by the sea. I've seen a small part of that route before. The paths pass through Howick where I was once taken by a friend. The very first photos taken on my old phone on a trip out were taken in Howick. That was a special day, the first day since moving here that I truly realised that I was blissfully at home in the middle of nowhere. I lay on a rock by the sea while my friend went off and did her thing - something related to being a witch - and I felt more peace than I'd felt in a very long time.
How quick I am to forget that I belong in some way under the open sky or in the woodland surrounded only by the nature sounds and the life of the earth.
How quick? Judge for yourself. This was the first day I've gone out somewhere new this year and walked in peacefulness.
The coast walk can wait until another day. Hulne Park awaited. I'll share more general photos soon of views, discuss the walk and share lots of pictures of Hulne Abbey which is the oldest Carmelite settlement in Britain dating to the 13th Century.
Today though I'm showing you pictures of a gate. In 2007 the Duchy of Northumberland established a new cemetery on their estate in the prettiest of spots. The Percy Family Memorial Garden. I'm told it's still empty which can only be good news for the family. I have to say that if I had any desire for my corpse to end up in an attractive place then I might choose such a spot, high on a hill and looking across open land to Cheviot and, I guess, a little bit of Scotland might be visible too. I'll show you the view next time. For now though, the gate:
Aren't they great? They were made by a blacksmith named Stephen Lunn although, as someone I talked to on Monday said, he's much more than a blacksmith. The gates were unveiled in 2008 and the cemetery beyond is planned to serve the family for the next 450 years.
The metal tree in the centre of the memorial garden, rooted to the rock.