If you like riding, there is a good chance that you have dreamed about riding on a beach —and if you want to experience beach riding at its best, you really need to head to Northumberland. This stretch of coastline delivers on so many levels: miles and miles of wild, sandy beaches, castles, grey seals, plenty of birds and, crucially, very few people beyond the odd solitary dog walker.
“It is a very special place and I feel very privileged to be able to ride here”
Dickie Jeffreys, who runs Kimmerston Riding Centre, with his wife Jane, is to North Northumberland what Crocodile Dundee was to the Australian Outback.
He has been taking riders to Holy Island (also known as Lindisfarne), a tidal island just south of Berwick-on-Tweed, for 30 years and there is very little that he doesn’t know about it.
“It is a very special place,” he says, “and I feel very privileged to be able to ride here.”
Like all true enthusiasts, Jeffreys never tires of sharing the experience with others — and there is so much to share. Bird lovers can look forward to watch the gannets, terns, oyster catchers and dunlins that congregate on the shoreline. You can spot seals all year round either out to sea or on the rocks at the far end of the island — and twice Jeffreys has been joined by a school of dolphins.
“We were galloping along the shoreline and fifty yards out to sea there were twenty or so powering along beside us,” he recalls.
“The second time I saw them was on the exact same day twelve years later.”
However, riding on Lindisfarne is not for beginners: the Jeffreys asks that you can canter confidently because the ride involves plenty of cantering (sometimes faster) in seriously wide open spaces. You can ride out into the water, too, and if you fancy going one step further, Jeffreys will take you and your horse out for a bracing bare-back swim.
The riding school has a huge array of horses to suit all ages, sizes and levels of experience and they are experts at matching horse to rider. So ditch your fluoro tabard, grab your cossie and you are good to go.
For more details, contact the Kimmerston Riding Centre on 01668 216283 or visit www.kimmerston.com.
Images: dawn on Lindisfarne by Tony Smith / Flickr, CC-BY 2.0; Lindisfarne beach by Peter King via Flickr, CC-BY 2.0; Lindisfarne castle view by Chris Combe via Flickr, CC-BY 2.0;grey seal, courtesy of Pixabay