Northumberland Coastal Challenge Walk
42km Bamburgh Northumberland

Northumberland Coastal Challenge Walk

Bamburgh, Northumberland

A 42km (26 mile) marathon walk starting at Budle Bay and ending in Alnmouth, ran by Shepherds Walks.

Distance - 42km (26 miles)

Ascent - 370m

Duration - Approx 10 hours

Terrain - A mixture of grassy, sandy and tarmac tracks.

Parking - For this challenge with the Shepherds Walks, you park in Alnmouth and are then bussed up to Budle Bay. If you want to do this on your own, then the starting part is the Outchester Ducket. View Parking Map

View Route On OS Map

If you like a long wander, the coast and giving yourself a challenge, then here is a walk that ticks all those boxes. The Coastal Challenge Walk is a 42km (26 mile) mega marathon walk hosted by the Shepherds Walks.

I'd spied this walk advertised for the past few years, but it always clashed with another adventure, but this was the year. I parked my car at Alnmouth FC, registered and then was bussed up to the starting point at the Outchester Ducket near Budle Bay.

Upon registration you are provided with a map of the route along with information on the four checkpoints. I was number 346 and my name was near the end so maybe around 350 people mad enough to take on the challenge today.

Weather conditions were perfect as we set off with glorious sunshine and a slight breeze.

First spot was a lime kiln and did you know there were over 400 lime kilns in Northumberland? Then following the permissive path as I head north east towards the coast.

First sight of the coast at Budle Bay. From here it's pretty much all south!

Now firmly on the England Coastal Path which I will follow for most of the route. Past a little pillbox on the way which was part of the coastal defence.

Then just as I approach Bamburgh I pass the permanently startled-faced Bamburgh Lighthouse.

From the lighthouse I get my first glimpse of the jewel in the crown of Northumberland, Bamburgh Castle. This absolute monster of a castle dominating the small village is probably my favourite place in the north east and I never tire of seeing it as I approach Bamburgh.

From here the path leaves the road and heads inland through fields on the way to the first checkpoint at Seahouses. The map provided is easy to follow and if there is a little bit that looks tricky, then there is usually a little sign or a bit of tape to look out for to keep you back on track.

Then it's our first checkpoint in Seahouses at 13km.

To keep yourself motivated on a walk this huge, you need to split it up into manageable chunks and the checkpoints are perfectly positioned to aim for. The volunteers here are super welcoming and encouraging as you trudge your way in to get your map punched.

From here not only you can replenish your water bottle, but there were also jelly babies to recharge your mojo!

Time to say goodbye to Seahouses and return to the coastal path which took me past the Gunpowder House on the rocks and towards Beadnell.

Another 10km down along the lovely coastline, past Beadnell, over Tughall Links and I'm already at the second checkpoint at Low Newton-by-the-sea. Map punched again and am treated to cup of cold orange squash and an apple to keep the energy up. Next stop is Embleton Bay and then onto Craster.

The walk is getting spaced out a bit now as people settle into their natural pace. I can only spot a few walkers in front. Then as the coast curves around I get my first glimpse of Dunstanburgh Castle way in the distance across Embleton Bay.

The path continues to hug the coastline and then around the outskirts of the golf course.

Getting closer now and passing under the Lilburn Tower.

Then it's around the front and I follow the main path down to Craster. Seems like a good time to stop and have my traditional snack of Fruity Malt!

Then it's around a 1km walk along the beautiful grassy track leading me into Craster. More cows again, but these didn't seem interested in chasing us this time.

Arrived at checkpoint 3 at 30km in Craster to be greeted by cheers from the lovely volunteers and also someone blowing bubbles! A quick top up of water and a sherbet lollipop and it's time to continue on towards Boulmer.

Always nice to see the Howick Bathing House.

And some fabulous rocky formations near Rumbling Kern.

Then it's on to Low Stead Links and across the little bridge over the estuary.

A stroll past Sugar Sands and I'm on my way into Boulmer.

This is the final checkpoint at 36km and there are some lovely treats here provided by Hospice Care North Northumberland. Replenishing the energy stores with a little cake and a Dr Pepper while discussing the delights of Irn Bru with the smashing volunteers, it was just a final 8km to the finish line.

It was at this point I thought I had a stone in my shoe, but realised it was a blister forming! More coastal path and then heading into Alnmouth past the fountain near the golf course.

Then it was just a quick wander up the path inland back to the starting point where there was a throng of volunteers avidly waiting to great and applaud our efforts.

My map was punched one final time and I was further rewarded with a goody bag and a couple more jelly babies!

42km done with over 50,000 steps!

Thanks for following the story of the Coastal Challenge Walk and good luck if you fancy doing it yourself next time.

I also just wanted to say that this walk was incredibly well organised by Shepherds Walks. Parking and registration was slick and then within 10 minutes I was on the bus up to Budle Bay. The route was very well marked out and for any tricky bits there was always a bit of tape or sign to look out for.

The best bits were definitely the lovely volunteers at the checkpoints and finish line who would clap, cheer and encourage you on while also plying you with jelly babies! Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the checkpoints. Maybe next time, if my feet have recovered by then!

If you fancy it, keep an eye out on the Shepherds Walks website.

Where to Park For Northumberland Coastal Challenge Walk

Lat / Long

55.594774, 55.594774

Show Parking On Google Maps

Where To Park For Northumberland Coastal Challenge Walk?

What three words


For this challenge with the Shepherds Walks, you park in Alnmouth and are then bussed up to Budle Bay. If you want to do this on your own, then the starting part is the Outchester Ducket.

Fabulous Places On This Walk

Discover what fabulous places you will find on this walk - Northumberland Coastal Challenge Walk.

Dunstanburgh Castle
Dunstanburgh Castle
Castle Alnwick Northumberland

A 14th-century fortification on the coast of Northumberland between the villages of Craster and Embleton. Built by Earl Thomas of Lancaster between 1313 and 1322.

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle
Castle Bamburgh Northumberland

The seat of the ancient kings of Northumbria and a mighty stronghold on the coast of Northumberland.

Outchester Ducket
Outchester Ducket
Building Belford Northumberland

Maybe a windmill, maybe used for sea-navigation, maybe just a pretty building. Now a holiday home.

Bamburgh Lighthouse
Bamburgh Lighthouse
Lighthouse Bamburgh Northumberland

The original 1910 building with the new lantern on its roof.

Contributed by Simon Hawkins

Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue pele tower up a remote hill, a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.

More Walks from Simon
Simon Hawkins

More Places In Bamburgh

Find more fabulous places in Bamburgh, Northumberland and if you know of a place we haven't listed, then let us know.

Grace Darling Monument
Grace Darling Monument
Statue Bamburgh Northumberland

The monument for the Northumberland heroine Grace Darling who helped in the rescue of survivors from the shipwrecked Forfarshire in 1838.

Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle
Castle Bamburgh Northumberland

The seat of the ancient kings of Northumbria and a mighty stronghold on the coast of Northumberland.

St Aidan's Church
St Aidan's Church
Religious Place Bamburgh Northumberland

A 12th century church standing on the site of the original wooden church built by St Aidan in the 7th century.

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