Last weekend to Bamburgh Castle to visit my friend O., croquet queen. They take croquet seriously up there. Loaded with wet-weather gear (thanks BBC weather forecast) I arrived in a heatwave. Bliss. From the Castle south through woodland and enormous poppyfied sand-dunes, then 3 miles south along a sandy beach to Seahouses, where I jumped on Billy Shiel’s Glad Tidings, and sailed round the Farne Isles, treacherous rocky outcrops sprinkled with guillemots, puffins, razorbills, arctic terns – visitors are advised to wear hats as these are expert dive-bombers – and Atlantic seals, fat grey sausages soaking up the sunshine. There’s also a chapel commemorating 7c St Cuthbert, and Longstone Lighthouse (which I could see twinkling at night from my Castle bedroom) where Victorian heroine and celebrity Grace Darling lived. Her rescue of shipwrecked survivors during a horrific storm is celebrated in the excellent RNLI museum in Bamburgh village.