Northumberland-based crime write Val McDermid has nominated one of the county’s most spectacular stretches of coastline as her favourite National Trust walk.
Now the section of beach at Low Newton on Embleton Bay in north Northumberland could be in line to take the title of the nation’s best loved route.
As part of the Trust’s Festival of Walking taking place this week across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, eight celebrities were asked to nominate and lobby for their favourite rambles.
And Val decided to choose the Northumberland coastline that so captivated her during the filming of her Wire in the Blood novels starring North East actor Robson Green, that she moved there.
In a video specially filmed for the National Trust at Low Newton aimed at opening the public’s eyes to the beaches merits, she said: “There are miles and miles and miles of sandy beach, generally mostly empty. Astonishing vistas, great views of castles, of dunes, it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.
“This beach here at Low Newton is a particular favourite of ours because you have such extraordinary views. You walk down towards Dunstanburgh Castle, which I think is one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen anywhere, the ruins of the castle stick up like skeleton fingers coming out of a grave, and on a day like today you see it against the blue sky and it’s glamorous, but in the middle of winter when you see it creeping out at you from out of a foggy day it’s really spooky, and that is the thing about seascapes; every day they are different.”
She added: “I find walking by water is somehow helpful to the creative flow. Maybe it’s something to do with the movement of water but I always find that when I’m stuck when I’m writing, walking by the sea really helps.”
Val’s walk starts at the public car park above Low Newton and heads down the hill to the village square, with views of the ruins of 14th Century Dunstanburgh Castle ahead. It also takes in Newton Pool and its two wildlife hides.
Other celebrities who have nominated their favoruite National Trust walks are comedian Omid Djalili and Time Team archaeologist Francis Pryor.
Hoping to inspire everyone whatever their age or ability to get out and explore the amazing outdoor places cared for by the National Trust, the celebrities’ walks cover more than 30 miles and range from an invigorating hike along the Devonshire coastline through to lesser known strolls in the gardens and parks cared for by the conservation charity.
Avid explorer and presenter Paul Rose who chose Lake Windermere in Cumbria, said: “Walking is just so amazingly simple. You need no special equipment, no special training, no special clothes, you just close your front door and go for a walk. It’s very easy, just go out and explore.”
In contrast to the dramatic hills and lakes of Windermere, the actress and singer Toyah Willcox chose Northumberland-born Capability Brown’s sweeping parkland at Croome Park in Worcestershire.
The nominated walks are:
Croome Park, Worcestershire – Toyah Wilcox, singer, songwriter and actress
Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire – Francis Pryor, archaeologist
Noss Mayo, Devon – Adam Hart-Davis, broadcaster
Mount Stewart, Northern Ireland – Zoe Salmon, TV presenter
Low Newton, Northumberland – Val McDermid, crime writer
Lake Windermere, Cumbria – Paul Rose, Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society
Ham House and Gardens – Omid Djalili, Comedian
Powis Castle, Wales – Sian Lloyd, weather presenter.
As well as videos of the stars lobbying for their chosen walk the National Trust is encouraging people to submit their own favourites. You can join the debate online at www.nationaltrust.org.uk./walkingfestival. Everyone who nominates their own favourite will be entered into a prize draw to win National Trust walking boots.