Friday, 31st July 2015
Having spent a comfortable night under my homemade tarp tent, I was awake in time to see the sunrise, briefly before the clouds scudded across the sky. I didn’t have any firm plans in mind but knew I wanted to cycle all day and get as far south as possible, so I got packed and on the road before 7.00am.
I had decided to use the B1340 which climbs gently up to Swinhoe before it turns at a right angle and then undulates across to Embleton. From there I again used the B road to Longhoughton instead of the NCN1 route but by this time, it was getting busy with traffic so I turned down to Boulmer. I started to feel a few raindrops so stopped to change from my sandals to shoes but as it was the rain stayed away all day. I then retraced my route of yesterday and again stopped in Amble only to find the little bakery with this sign up.
For those who need a translation, the last line says ” I am very tired and so have decided to return to my home.” hehe!
Instead I found a little creperie – a place making pancakes and bought a nutella and banana one to have with hot chocolate from another small business. It was interesting talking to the man working there as he has retired from a similar business in Cambridge and moved up here to be near his wife’s elderly mother. He doesn’t like being retired so his helping out part time.
From Amble I rode along and picked up NCN1 at Hauxley and met a chap who warned me that the top surface has been scraped off ready for resurfacing. I was a little concerned but needn’t have been as the trailer behaved brilliantly, although a did walk in a couple of places. Druridge bay is beautiful in any weather, and just as well because the cloud cover was quite low at this point in the day.
I am pleased to report that the little ice-cream shop in Cresswell is still open and so I had to stop and support the business, didn’t I ? She makes her own ice-cream. An elderly customer warned me about using the spine road (A189) but it is well supplied with off road cycleway and was happy to cycle through Lynemouth, Woodhorn , Sleekburn and on to Bedlington Station. By this time I was ready for a sandwich but the little shop has changed hands and is starting the sandwich bar in a few weeks time. Never mind, I was off to Blyth, where I did find a nice shop and got a sandwich and a cake for less than £3.
The new route goes along the river and passed the docks and is well surfaced so was no problem. I was amazed by the number of people who wanted to talk about my “rig” and said they wouldn’t have thought about trying it on a bus. Also I decided to phone my brother and ask if they would put me up for the night. No problem, I just had to get there.
So off again, along the lovely off road path through the dunes to Seaton Sluice. My old map shows the route from here along on off road path and so as I saw other cyclists were using it followed suit. Big NO NO. A very irate dog walking lady, told me in no uncertain terms that this was not the route and she is SICK OF CYCLISTS!!! I was very polite back though and told her I will report the problem to Sustrans. There is a no cycling sign but it does need another NCN1 sign at that point. St Mary’s light house is just off the coast and I understand can now be hired for weddings.
Along the prom through Whitley Bay and Tynemouth, I was accosted ( stopped to talk to) youngsters recruiting for the Royal Lifesaving society. Fifty years ago I was one of those volunteer lifeguards. But like many others they want money for the charity which is now paying for, what I did for the love of it. There were plenty of surfers out but it was sad to see the old outdoor swimming pool, a total wreck.
It made my heart sing as I saw the Groyne at the entrance to the river Tyne and the upper and lower lights that were used by ships to sight in and avoid shipwrecks on the Black Middens. I crossed the river on the Shields ferry from north to south and then rode along to Jarrow to enjoy a lovely evening with my brother and his wife.
I was so impressed with the bike /trailer combo having cycled 100 miles in the 2 days.