|Creepy, muddy lane and the Scooby Doo gate|
This might just look like a long, muddy road, but it leads to one of the most haunted castles in Europe. Chillingham Castle was a must-do on our first trip as a group across the pond.
The plan was to take the train from London to Alnmouth and then take a cab from Alnmouth to Chillingham. We noticed that one of the stops along the way was in Newcastle, and Hall was a die-hard Newcastle United fan, so the two of us decided to get off at Newcastle so we could go see St. James' Park.
We hopped off at the stop, planning to catch the next one through and meet up with everyone else at the castle. However, we did so without checking the train schedule. Turns out that the train only stopped at Newcastle during commuter hours, so we were stuck in Newcastle until the end of the work day. This was back before cell phones were readily available and had decent international service, so we had no way of telling the rest of the group that we would be hours behind them, not just one hour. We walked around St. James' Park and enjoyed the day in Newcastle before hopping the first afternoon train to Alnmouth.
I don't recall how we managed to arrange for a cab in Alnmouth, because my memory of the station is just a stop in the middle of nowhere. I do remember that the cab from Alnmouth to Chillingham was not an actual nightmare, but neither of us could understand a single word the cab driver said and he apparently could barely understand us. We did understand when he pointed out Alnwick Castle, where they filmed Harry Potter. Those were about the only words we understood, "American Filmn Harry Potter". No, that's not a typo, he said filmn.
The gate at the end of the long, muddy lane in the picture is what we came to call the "Scooby Doo gate", full of creaks and groans just like the cartoon.
|Shamelessly stolen picture of the creepy bridge on the grounds|
While Brian and I were cooling our heels in Newcastle, the rest of the group took a tour of the castle grounds. I loved the picture of the creepy bridge so much that I stole a copy of it from someone (either Squid or Robs).
Being the off-season for tourists, the castle wasn't exactly bustling with activity and there was no food to be found, so the caretakers sent Hall and I into the next village to find some food. The rest of the group had given up waiting on us and had already gone on ahead.
The mile and a half into the village was the longest mile and a half I'd ever walked. It was like we'd been transported into American Werewolf in London, and I'm not exaggerating. It was dark, drizzly, and there were a bunch of noises we didn't recognize.
Unbelievably, we found the rest of the group in a restaurant in the village, just getting their dinner. We happened to look through a window of a restaurant and there they were! I was never so happy to see familiar faces in my life.