Bamburgh has been voted one of the North East’s best surf spots for a number of years. In winter deep low pressure systems, spinning to the north of Scotland, can send large pulses of swell in Northumberland’s direction – Bamburgh is one of the beaches on the receiving end. During these times Bamburgh is the sole domain of experienced paddlers who love sliding along a watery walls.
Summer months see Mother Nature going quiet with this part of the UK flattening off to leave a vast area of open sea to explore. Hidden reefs lie scattered along the seabed and have been a mariner’s fear for centuries. Countless stories of wrecked ships have been told while these rocky outcrops are natural formations waiting just below the surface and begging to be investigated by paddlers.
Bamburgh is where you’ll find the site of England’s first lifeboat launch – a vital maritime service pioneered by Dr John Sharp. The original lifeboat house still stands proud looking out to the Farne Islands and Holy Island – although now it’s a holiday cottage.
Paddlers can venture left and right along the coast or if a suitable forecast pops up make the sojourn across to the seal and sea bird inhabited Farne Islands – just make sure not to disturb the wildlife.
Weather in this neck of the woods can change quickly so it’s always worth getting an up to date forecast and knowing before you go. It would be unfortunate to get caught out, especially in such a notorious stretch of water.
It’s also worth keeping in mind the temperature of the North Sea is pretty cold compared to the Atlantic. Even during warm spells you’ll most likely need a decent level of protection against the water’s chill.
Bamburgh is usually very quiet apart from the nosey seal population who may pop up to inspect you. If you’re out for a jaunt on your own then chances are you’ll come into contact.
How to get there:
Head along the A1 having made teh trek to Northumberland. Bamburgh Castle and Beach is sign posted and is an easy navigate to the main car park.
Toilets are in the main car park and there are shops and amenities back in the village.
There’s a large rip that runs next to a sand bar if you head south. This doesn’t disperse until you hit the Farne Isles which is a few miles offshore. If the waves are pumping then it’s worth keeping a watch out for this. Rips can occur elsewhere on Bamburgh beach.
In places there are rocks and submerged reefs to negotiate and you’ll need to watch out for seals who will want to play.
Ins and Outs:
Leave transport in the main car park behind the dunes and then drag your boat to the water’s edge. It can be a mission at low tide…
Large expanse of sand with rocky outcrops and offshore reefs to take note of. Exposed to the wind and picks up most of the swell in the area. Good for kayak surfing and touring when it’s flat.
If you have enough of paddling at Bamburgh then a whole array of secluded and quiet beaches are on offer to explore. Or take a boat trip out to the Farne Islands to see the seals and seabirds.
If there’s one word that sum up the experience of visiting Bamburgh it’s dramatic. The crumbling ramparts of the village’s iconic castle looming ominously above the sand dunes makes for a mesmerising experience.
Bamburgh’s wide expanse of sand is a big draw to kitesurfers, windsurfers, surfers, stand up paddlers and kayakers. The North Sea boasts a plethora of changeable conditions that suit all levels – flat water to waves, storm action and blissful summer esque scenes, it’s all on offer depending on the time of year.