Janet Christie’s My Week - Nature doesn’t need a filter to put on a show-stopping display

I missed the Northern Lights but I did see a Bar-tailed Godwit
Janet Christie's My Week. A rainbow rises out of the North Sea. Pic J ChristieJanet Christie's My Week. A rainbow rises out of the North Sea. Pic J Christie
Janet Christie's My Week. A rainbow rises out of the North Sea. Pic J Christie

Did you catch last week’s Northern Lights extravaganza? I missed out by being asleep after an 11-mile walk but had I been outside gazing skyward, nothing I saw would compare to the amazing images captured on camera, the magentas and neons that light up the sky and make their way into our newsfeeds. To be honest, if you did see that with the naked eye, you’d assume your drink had been spiked.

No matter, I prefer the unfiltered, real life version of the Northern Lights anyway, a dancing glow in the sky that prompts a puzzled “so is that them then?” from fellow revellers/skygazers, their official presence only confirmed when you see the psychedelic version behind Carol Kirkwood’s weather report next morning.

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Nature still pulled out all the non-photoshopped stops on my wander along the Northumbrian coast - always the best beaches for me, as long as you’re not hung up on heat.

Some might consider them desolate on a ‘mixed’ March morning - we shared the endless miles of sand with just a handful of hardy humans walking their deliriously happy hounds - but walking from near the Holy Island/Lindisfarne causeway along the coast and cliffs to Berwick-upon-Tweed we were blown away by the beauty of the seascape.

As well as views stretching back along the sandy strand to Holy Island and Bamburgh castles, there’s no end of birdlife. Hundreds of Brent geese rose from the fields behind the dunes and honked over our heads and my friend Country Girl identified skylarks, stonechats, oystercatchers, redshank, sanderlings, lapwings, shelduck and interrupted Old School friend’s story about Taggart’s Mark McManus being the step-brother of Brian Connolly of Sweet fame, with “look, a bar-tailed godwit”.

“Now I would have said that was a seagull,” I said, looking through her binoculars.

“That’s because it is,” she said, dinting my arm to the next bird along. “Godwit. Male. Rare.”

Just when it looked like the most colourful, and possibly equally rare, sighting of the day was to be Old School Friend’s psychedelic purple potato sandwich - “farmers’ market, kids wouldn’t touch them” - the vast grey clouds that had stalked us caught up to deliver rain that segued into hail then finally, as we reached our journey’s end, split to send a shaft of sunlight out over the gunmetal grey North Sea and skies to conjure up a show-stopping rainbow. Cosmic.

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