St. Cuthbert Centre is part of the local Presbyterian church, though outwardly it looks like a church (in fact, it was in the past), inside it looks anything BUT reminiscent of a church. It seems more like a meeting room-cafeteria-nursery than anything else. It's an interesting mix of things. It seems that in this center are carried out some initiatives together with local authorities for social events, integration, education and charity. Actually, the most interesting thing about the building, at least to me it seems, is the appearance of something you might find in your own home, and its location in the center of town, next to the liquor factory and other attractions.
Leaving Newcastle, go up the A1 motorway, just past the historic town of Berwick-upon-Tweed (currently in England but previously part of Scotland) and you'll arrive at the Borders viewpoint (Northeastern coast of the United Kingdom). This viewpoint is a symbolic representation of the historical border between England and Scotland. Beautiful North Sea views, which has witnessed hundreds of battles between the two countries, separated by Hadrian's Wall at one time (follow the A69 route between Newcastle and Carlisle, about 107 Km). Today's first scenic stop after entering Scotland via the East coast, where the field merges with the sea. If you drive from England, this is the first recommended stop.
We found this castle by chance, taking a detour from our expected route and passing through the village of Norham. The visit is free, the grounds are still in good condition, and it is right in the center of the village. Today it is in ruins but historically the castle was hugely important to the city of Durham, one of the most important cities in the north of England during the Middle Ages. The bishop of Durham built it on the banks of the River Tweed, a natural border with Scotland. The castle was besieged 9 times by Scottish soldiers and was conquered in 4 of the sieges. In the sixteenth century, the castle was finally taken by the English who modernized it, but after the Act of Union in the seventeenth century it was gradually abandoned because there was no need of a defensive fortress in the area. There's plenty to see, with beautiful views of the river and the town itself. Obviously it could be better preserved but considering that almost no one visits, we can understand why the government hasn't made its upkeep a priority. It's in ruins, yes, but what could we expect after almost six centuries of wars?
During our last trip to England, we chose to go along smaller roads, hoping to find some interesting surprises. Well, that happened in the first 5 kilometers. Just outside the historic town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, we found a beach, signposted but not on any map. It was a very English day, not too cloudy but not sunny either, with not enough wind to really cause a problem, so we stopped the car and went for a walk. The first thing we noticed was that there was nobody else around enjoying the firm white sand. We also spotted a large number of dead jellyfish on the shore, possibly due to the previous week's storm. The water was cold but not intolerable, and very clear. A great place to stop and rest after several hours behind the wheel. Later I read that the historical path between Berwick and the Holy Island of Lindisfarne passes along this beach. I really enjoyed it, and would love to return on a sunny day.