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East Coast Story – the blog

My latest novel East Coast Road, which is published by Bluemoose Books on 26 November 2020, involves the story of St Etheldreda, the daughter of King Anna of Anglia in the seventh century. Determined to be a nun, she managed to keep her virginity intact through two marriages and go on to found Ely Cathedral. She travelled from Ely to Northumberland to marry a prince, then back again a few years later, pursued by her husband, the king.

The characters in my novel travel south with Etheldreda. I was absolutely delighted in 2015 when the Arts Council gave me a grant to travel with her too. It was five hundred miles and took five weeks in five stages. You can read about it here

Whittlesey to March Thumbnail

I was quite excited when I booked the Dog and the Doublet. I wanted to stay in the middle of nowhere in fens. Last night I was too tired to take it in, but this is the view looking east from the front of the pub. If you look in the other direction you can [...]

Stamford to Whittlesey Thumbnail

The BBC had been threatening us with rain yesterday, but today they’d decided to relent a bit, and turned it off around 8am, just as we were having breakfast. Judy, our landlady, saw us off from Stamford with a gift of homemade flapjack, and we headed into Stamford.   Stamford is a pretty town, but it’s also [...]

Oakham to Stamford Thumbnail

We’d walked the first four miles out of Oakham before, last month at the end of the Viking Way. That day we were hot and tired and wanted to catch the bus. Today it was the beginning of the Hereward Way rather than the end of the Viking Way, the morning was cool and we were fresh from breakfast. [...]

Beal to Berwick Thumbnail

I had to decide. Should I walk the last stretch or should I not. We drove to Berwick yesterday, so I’ve covered the distance, just not on foot. And although I’m following in Etheldreda’s footsteps I have no doubt she’d have accepted a lift in a car from a friend if there’s been one going. We could just [...]

Seahouses to Beal via Bamburgh Thumbnail

The guide book says this about today’s walk – If you enjoy wallowing around in slippery mud, making your way through crops, crossing a high-speed railway line on trestles and risking the A1 then you will find the official route exciting and rewarding … If this does not grab you, try the Bamburgh to Budle route of clifftops and [...]

Dunstan to Seahouses Thumbnail

The BBC had threatened us with rain today, but although there was some before breakfast, by the time we set off it was over. It was a bit blowy, but set for another day of sunshine. Dunstanborough Castle was up ahead. A romantic ruin painted by Turner, decorated by cows, sound by seagulls, now photographed by more Turners. [...]

Warkworth to Dunstan Thumbnail

The guide book said today’s stretch was 8 miles. Over breakfast our host told us it was thirteen. I measured it on my phone and came up with eleven, if we took the shortest route at Almouth. We started by walking from Warkworth back to the sea. Here’s the first glimpse. After that it was a day of [...]

Middle Stobswood to Warkworth Thumbnail

Today we walked along an eight mile deserted beach to a pretty town. It was the most enjoyable day’s walking so far, the day after the worst. Our lovely host from Middle Stobswood drove us to the coast at Cresswell, saving us an hour or two’s walking on roads and field edges. We got out of the car, walked [...]

Whitley Bay to Middle Stobswood Thumbnail

This stretch was always going to be a problem. We were meant to be walking to Newbiggin by the Sea, but they don’t allow dogs there. Despite the fact that the only person I’ve met that lives in Newbiggin has a dog. There was not a single B&B or pub that would take dogs and they’re not allowed [...]

Newcastle to Whitley Bay Thumbnail

Leaving our car to fend for itself in Berwick upon Tweed for a week, we caught a crowded noisy train to Newcastle, then the Metro out to the coast. The Northumberland Coast Path begins with a walk out of Newcastle along the river, and I wouldn’t have minded that, but Johnny wasn’t keen, and I was quite excited to [...]