Saturday, 16 May 2015

For pooch or not for pooch - that is the question

I am often asked just how friendly we are - not in the "have a nice day" kind of friendly - no, far more important than that. 

Just exactly how dog friendly are we here in Northumberland?

Well, let me give you a little flavour of what is on offer and then you can decide for yourself.


Beaches - renowned for them we are - lots and lots of them, all gorgeous, mainly lovely sand, usually deserted. 

Miles and Miles to Play

More than 30 miles of beautiful, Beagle friendly beaches and breathtaking scenery including an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and areas of Special Scientific Interest, Nature Reserves, wild bird breeding grounds and migration haunts.

Ross Beach

Psst. keep it to yourself but Ross is our favourite. 

Miles of sand where the seals come ashore to bask in the sun.  

Ross to Lindisfarne
We especially love setting up a BBQ in the dunes for breakfast and then run with the dogs while we watch the sun come up over Holy Island and Bamburgh
Budle Bay to Lindisfarne
Of course the water is award winningly clean. So splashing Springers can splurge and splidge until their Springer has sprunger.  
St. Aidan's Beach to Bamburgh

St. Aidan's is a lovely stretch from majestic Bamburgh to the little fishing village of  Seahouses. Lovely views to The Farne Islands - a really nice chase from one end to the other - and back!

Image courtesy of the National Trust
Farne Puffins

If you fancy getting up close and personal with the seals, whales, dolphins, shags and puffins (and the many other wonderful birds that breed on the Farnes), then a canny canine catamaran cruise might be right up your street. 
Seal - Photo Courtesy of
Serenity Boats

Many boat companies allow pooches onto their trips, including Golden Gate, Serenity and Glad Tidings

With a different beach for every day of your stay, the sand and space is second to none - allowing for hours and hours of ball catching, frisby fetching frolicking for your Flat Coat Retrievers  - all year round. From Berwick to Amble, each little cove or huge stretch of beach has its own distinctive charm, some with amenities, some just with the weather. Maybe your Affenpinscher will ask to go to Alnmouth,  your Cavalier clambers for Cocklawburn, your Newfoundland needs Newton by the Sea, or you simply  want to wear out your Waimaraner in Warkworth. Northumberland will have a beach that is sure to be just right for you - whatever the weather, whatever your fancy.

And if your Vizslas enjoy a vista - well how about this? 
Bamburgh Beach September
Majestic Bamburgh castle

NT 1112 (8) Dunstanburgh Castle and Low Newton

Or This?  

OK -  think you get my driftwood - there are more castles in Northumberland than anywhere else in the UK.  

Image courtesy of the National Trust
Breathtaking Clifftop Walk from
Craster to Dunstanburgh

Many of the county's countless castles are visible from the beach walks, and some allow dogs in the grounds but not always inside. 

Warkworth and Dunstanburgh both allows dogs on leads for example.  

And when you have had enough of the beach and castles, why not head inland to wander the National Park?   

Whether you want to challenge yourselves on the Cheviots, have a Game Of Thrones moment while hiking Hadrian's Wall, or even getting your head around the history and invention of Cragside, there are lots of interesting walks and diverse places to explore with pooch. 

English Heritage staff at Hadrian's Wall in their cloaksImage courtesy of Visit Northumberland

Some places do not allow pooch inside but all of the places listed welcome dogs in the grounds.
Image courtesy of Northumberland Tourism
Dog friendly Barter Books

And if you fancy resting weary legs, there are many other places that welcome dogs in Northumberland, including the world famous Barter Books.

When hunger hounds your Hovawart, there are many friendly bodacious bites to be wolfed down in pooch friendly eateries - all washed down with a big slurp of water from one of the many water bowls left out.  More and more bars and restaurants welcome our four legged family members, meaning they don't miss out on wall the fun.  The list ever grows, and this is current as of blogtime, but some of the most popular include The Bothy, at the Barn at Beal; The Crown and Anchor on Holy Island; The Joiners Arms, Newton by the Sea; Craster's The Jolly Fisherman; The Victoria Hotel in Bamburgh; The Black Swan, Seahouses; The Hope and Anchor, Alnmouth; Warkworth House Hotel, Warkworth; The Black Bull, Wooler; The Bamburgh Castle Inn, Seahouses; The Dunstanburgh Castle Hotel in Embleton; Berwick's 1 Sallyport; Beal's The Lindisfarne InnThe Schooner in Alnmouth; The Ship Inn at Low Newton; The Apple Inn, Lucker; The Sun Inn, Alnmouth; The Lord Crewe, Bamburgh; The Ship Inn at Holy Island; The Shoreline Cafe, Craster; The Schooner Inn, Seahouses; Cafe Crema, Berwick; The LInks Hotel, Seahouses; The Dandelion Cafe, in Alnmouth; The Mason's Arms, Warkworth; The Anchor Inn, Wooler; The Craster Arms in Beadnell; The Pack Horse Inn, Ellingham; The Ocean Club, Seahouses; Tankerville Arms, Wooler; The Barrels Alehouse, Berwick; The Blink Bonny, Christon Bank;  The White Swan, Warenford; The Red Lion in Alnmouth; The Cottage Inn Hotel, Dunstan. Paws for thought though - please contact them before turning up to check they are still as woof welcoming, and that they have availability. Over and above this great choice, nearly every other eatery that has outdoor space also welcome pooches, and most offer water.  And if your little legs are too tired to walk there and back, Croft Cabs will even allow you to take pooch in the taxi with you if you pre-arrange it (07803496278).

If you want to visit somewhere that does not allow your Parsons or Poodles there are good doggie daycare facilities in Northumberland too - but you need your vaccination certificates. We use Tollfield Boarding Kennels in Belford (01668 213607), but there are others around the area - some charge by the day, some by the hour, so there is bound to be one that works best for your needs. 

And of course, you still need somewhere fabulous to stay.

Budle Bay Croft is Quality in Tourism awarded 5* and Pet Friendly (and Family, Walkers, Cyclists and Dark Sky Friendly for that matter too but we don't like to brag).  


What we do offer pooch are private enclosed gardens..., treats, towels, comfy bed and bowls.

There are acres of grounds to explore…


...and even a river to cool down in too. 

And importantly, no charge for dogs to holiday with us.  

So, please let us know your thoughts. Are we dog friendly

Fliss in the 

Budle Bay Croft Forest

Thanks to The English Springer Spaniel Club, The Kennel Club, Affenpinscher ClubBeagles UK, The Newfoundland Club, The Weimaraner Club of Great BritainThe Hovawart Club of Great Britain, the Hungarian Vizsla Society, Trip Advisor, The Evening ChronicleNational TrustNorthumberland BeachesVisit Northumberland, The Good Dog Guide, Rover Recommended, Doggie Pubs, Tollfield Boarding Kennels and to all of the Northumbrian bars, cafes, restaurants and attractions that welcome our dogs!

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Daffodils and Dark Skies

Has spring finally sprung?

The temperature is finally creeping up - it has been 12 degrees at Budle Bay Croft over the last few days. Nights are still cold (often frosty with FABULOUS skies - more on this later!), but with that day time temperature, we all start to get excited. This means that the annual cycle of birth and rejuvenation has started!

The daffodils have burst into golden loveliness, adding much welcomed colour, warmth and instant sunshine to the grounds.

Budle Bay Croft Bulbs Blooming!

The grass starts to grow (goodness do we need that - the sheep would have been nibbling each other if winter had gone on much longer!).

The ducks start a laying (and treading and nesting)...

Duck Eggs All In A Row

...and the hens become broody!

Healthy Broody hen

The biggest excitement in springtime however is lambing.

That sun is so bright!

Our girls are starting to "bag up" - yep - it means that you think it does and their udders are getting large.  They are going through more licks than we can get a hold of (high energy, multi vitamins and minerals essential to prevent Twin Lamb Disease). 

Ladies Scanned and Pregnant - Hurrahh! Thank Ewe Lee and Geoff!

Twin Lamb Disease is nasty for the ewes and can cause abortion of the lamb and death for the ewe. It is really easy to treat but hard to prevent. The lambs grow very fast during the first couple of trimesters, but they are small so the demand on mum is quite low. However, during the last 6 weeks or so, they start to get much bigger and place huge demands on mum's body nutritionally, and take up a lot of space limiting what mum can eat. However, she has to eat much more to feed them and often sacrifices her own fat supply to top up their needs. You might think that you just feed them more - which I did until last year when tragedy happened for us. Unfortunately though, if you over feed the ewe, she can struggle to deliver her lambs as they become too large. Now this is more common in singletons, not twins, but none the less is still heartbreaking when she is struggling to deliver a healthy lamb and eventually the lamb suffocates and dies. This happened to us last year and we were heartbroken. Sophie Snow White had gone into labour between my 2 hourly checks during the night and her beautiful boy had to be delivered by me but was already dead. I rely very heavily on the expertise of Lee, Geoff and Graeme to help me keep the flock healthy,  and crucially to rapidly treat any suspected ewes.

Lambs at play

Happily though, mostly we deliver healthy lambs from strong, fit mums.  The lamb images are last year's babies, to whet your appetite for impending news. Hot water and sheets at the ready (well, fresh straw and pens made up as nurseries in the stables!)

Bottle Feeding the Orphans

Oi! What Ewe Looking At?

Before I sign off for now, wanted to share some great news. We have been awarded Dark Sky Friendly at Budle Bay Croft!

This is not really surprising when clever photographers can get shots of the incredible Northern Lights and Milky Way like these!

Amazing Image of the Northern Lights in The Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty close by Budle Bay Croft, expertly taken by I Glendinning and kindly shared by Visit Northumberland
Majestic Shot of The Milky Way over Lindisfarne
 It deservedly stole the Visit Northumberland's judges hearts in the Winter Dark Skies Competition!

And while we cannot promise you will always see skies like these, the Northumbrian clear frosty spring nights offer a great opportunity to increase your chances!  Feeling inspired? Then why not book a stay with us, set the alarm and try to get some images to enter into Visit Northumberland's Spring Dark Sky competition Best of Northumbrian!