Alnmouth HF Holidays Christmas 2022

DRAFT Created; January 2023, changed; 20/01/2023 - 21/01/2023 

I went on many excellent HF holidays between 1988 and 1997.  The last two the food was very poor, members said complaints were not being addressed, when previously the company had been very good at reacting to feedback.  So I went on this holiday expecting nothing, but found that this holiday was excellent.  The hospitality, entertainment, leading and food were all excellent.  Unlike until 1995, a vegetarian option always been on the menu, is now not a feature of HF it is provided by all organizations, alcohol is sold, and a religious services had stopped being offered by the end of the 1980s.  The cost of the coach rides to and from the walks has also been included in the holiday price since sometime in the 1990s. 

I visited Malhamdale in about 1995 when HF Holidays and the same house was also featured in a double page centre fold article in one of the Sunday national broadsheet newspapers for being the best walking holiday company.  I went home on a detour via the Leeds-Settle-Carlisle Railway, crossing the Ribble Valley Viaduct.  The camera was a Nikon, with a Tamron zoom lens, Fuji slide film gives lovely rich colour, and Kodak Gold print film also gives richer colour was what I probably used? 

The older but almost the same CHA company have now been long gone, they had not started too modernized in time, having only modernized Whitby and were working on Their Peak District house that when I visited in the 1990s were still offering army like food service with the vegetarian option, and two overtly alcoholic leaders who lead from the back, insisted on providing the evening entertainment, and refused offers from guests, so people just went to bed early.  They had previously offered a Christian church like service on a Sunday morning.  That house was closed and modernized, Whitby was the first house to be modernized the year before.   I believe the Ramblers owned that name, which became owned by Stage Coach, I do not think the CHA name is used now? 

HF has a membership of former holidaymakers who purchase shares.  There used to be HF and CHA walking clubs all over the country and both companies looked after footpaths and provided some holidays to people who could not afford them.  Holiday Fellowship and Co-op (or country wide) Holidays Association

Robin Hoods bay, Whitby, North Yorkshire.  CHA centre was the first to be modernized, the building was constructed from stone previously used in the monastery.

Alnmouth HF Holidays Christmas, 23rd - 30th December 2022

Camera; Cannon IXUS 60

Panoramic tool, used to joining many pictures; Hugin for Linux.  This tool is very flexible, strange to use and matches the light levels well.  Some pictures, you will see ghosts of people where they have moved, If you use too many overlapping pictures.

By train, which included cancellation, standing and very long delays both directions and were exceptionally bad.

Nether Grange, Alnmouth, Northumberland, England, near the boarder with Scotland.  The most northly place I have stayed at in England. 


24 December - Short coach trip out to Warkworth for the short 6-mile walk.  Longer walkers stayed on the bus and started their walks further south.  We all walked back to the house.  We had a lovely lunch stop on the beach.

25 December - All walks were from the house and went inland to Bilton.  Short walk was 7.5 miles, with an option to reduce it to 5 miles.  Our lunch stop was sitting on a fallen tree, this part of the walk had been difficult, and I expect will be modified for future light walkers?  

26 December - I chose to have a day off walking and just stayed around Alnmouth.  My torn ligament in my knee turned out to be no trouble, but my feet got tired and sore.  My boots are a bit small, I had thought they were okay.

Alnmouth had been an 18th Century grain port and most of the buildings had been grain stores.   The water flow changed, and a ship sank, making the port not viable.  Now the village has few residents so all the staff lived in and working away from their homes or travelled, consequently the house was understaffed.   If anything needed doing in our rooms, we were asked to ask for it to be done consequently.

There is a BBC TV programme on this Alnmouth.

27 December - Bus trip to Alnwick, no walk today.  The recently refurbished Playhouse is lovely, the council has had a good job done.   The Castle is massive, but was not open, and the gardens featured a seasonal theme.  I did not visit Barter Books, but that would have been an interesting train shed, railway museum and book exchange.

28 December - Short coach ride to Craster and walk back in the rain later, and I got wet but kept warm.   

Caster used to mine a very hard stone for all types of building, including exported for road building.  This had been very profitable, a bay formed a natural harbour.  Kippers from locally fished herring were still made there.

There is a BBC TV programme on Craster.

29 December - my coat was still very wet, so I did not do much this day.  The view south sitting on the public seats from Alnmouth.

My Sunday Lunch when I returned home included roast potatoes, stuffing and gravy.  First of those since before my Holiday.  HF Holidays now run set menu all over the country, apparently.  The food is light, a bit oily, well suited to walking and good health, but is not a health food diet either.

The pack lunch provided is fairly healthy, suited to walking or not walking.  

Unfortunate, I suffered bugs or fleas in my bed, which I was not sure was the case until rashes above my ankles cleared up rapidly when I came home but did not clear on the days that I did not walk.  Now that I am sure of this, I would have reduced my star rating of this holiday, but the option to edit or delete and remake that comment is not provided by HF holidays. I am told that the bed had a new mattress.

Many of the Holiday's I went on between 1998 and 2019 were run by VegiVentures.  These holidays still contained a considerable amount of gust participation, in which I have been entertained and learnt many things that other wanted to share.   Those holidays included some led walks, yoga, dormitory to single room options and the best vegan, special diet and vegetarian options food that could be had.   I probably had 30 holidays with VegiVentures each one supper and never any bed-bugs or poor food.