I’ve been stuck on the Dunstanburgh chapter of my book for some time. I love the castle, the bleakness, the scale of the ruins, the view out to sea, the harsh chill of the wind, the sense of a haunting presence. The closer something is to your heart, the harder it becomes to write it into a story and tell its tale through another’s eyes.
Then, this week, the Geological Society announced their 100 Geosites of the UK. Split into ten categories, the public voted for what they see as the most beautiful or diverse example of geology. It included a category for outcrops and one formation being the coast at Craster, which is where Dunstanburgh castle sits on what is known as the Great Whin Sill.
The Whin Sill or Great Whin Sill is a tabular layer of the igneous rock dolerite in County Durham and Northumberland in the northeast of England. It lies partly in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and partly in Northumberland National Park and stretches from Teesdale northwards towards Berwick.
It is one of the key natural features of the North Pennines. A major outcrop is at the High Force waterfall in Teesdale. Bamburgh Castle, Dunstanburgh Castle, Lindisfarne Castle and stretches of Hadrian’s Wall all strategically take advantage of high, rocky cliff lines formed by the sill.
As a writer inspiration comes in many forms, this one is well timed. My fingers are itching to pick up the story again and revisit the sights and sounds of a remote location.