Easygoing - that's the word that sums up this walk.
Without any ascents (I didn't walk the section that did have ups and downs though) this Inn Way follows well-used, way-marked paths. All the right ingredients were there: scenery, weather, etc, and especially the friendly, cheerful locals - all of which when combined made it the relaxed, enjoyable walk that I'd hoped for.
Rather than risk the description "friendly, cheerful locals" sounding glib, let me emphasise that aspect because the general demeanour of almost everyone that I encountered was noticeably relaxed and friendly - friendliness with a smile, and a local accent that served to compliment it.
A great corner of England this.
It's surprising just how many castles, beautiful beaches and pubs that there are in such a small area. And any one place might have the lot. I will have to return because for me there was never enough time to spend at each castle I passed directly or that was nearby. The beach provides a better alternative route in some places, and you're spoilt for choice when it comes to pubs - I mean, a small place like Wooler for example, has six pubs, plus a holiday camp style pub/venue.
My preference was to spend each night at a B&B but with no accommodation booked except for the first and last nights, I carried camping gear as a back-up. I chose to camp in Wooler though; the lady at the campsite (a five minute walk from the town centre) said that I could choose where to set up, and that only three other pitches (out of 75) were taken that night.
I blogged using my mobile phone, a Nokia 5800, on Virgin Media, as usual. Coverage is not good in the area. Virgin Media utilises T-Mobile's network so I'm hoping that their recent link-up with Orange will be of benefit to Virgin Media users in the future. Orange and Vodaphone seem to rule. The phone has a 3.2 megapixel camera which I used to take all the photos and which were published un-edited.
A fair indicator of any good walk must surely be that it is one that you would walk again. There's no doubt in my mind that I will walk this route again, and at the same pace but with an extra day, or possibly two, to include the portion over the Cheviots that I missed out this time around.
Danny asked me which was the best pub and best beer. There was no one particular favourite among the many good pubs. The Northumberland Arms, West Thirston stood out because of the good crack (craic) - an 84 year old gent at the bar with a bottle of red wine, the perfect barmaid and a most affable landlord. The Sun Inn, Alnmouth on the day was a most pleasant change - good, home-cooked food from a non-standard pub menu - BBQ Kebab on rice with sweet chilli sauce and fresh salad. I liked The Anchor, Wooler - small but comfortable with an arrangement condusive to good chatting, a very genial host, and a lovely lamb hotpot (£8.45). The Black Sheep Bitter was my preferred drink and it was consistently good along the way. As was the walk.