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June so far in the Forces-of-Nature Diaries
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Owner: squiz

Member#: 6644
Registered: 27-05-2007
Diary Entries: 1511

29th June 2017
Mt. Biking: Wylam to Newcastle
Wind Direction:
Wind Stength:
Surf / Sea State:
Air Temperature:
Sea Temperature:
Weather: cloudy with drizzle and cool:(
Max Speed: 15.08 (knots - unless stated otherwise)
Distance Covered: 26.23 mile (Nautical Miles - unless stated otherwise)

Thursday 29th June – Bike **** Wylam to Newcastle – cloudy with drizzle and cool:(

26.23 miles, out 5 hours, 15.08 kt. max speed.

Nice night in the quiet carpark in Wylam but it had rained all night and was still raining with the forecast saying it would stop by the afternoon. We just don’t get rain like this in Felixstowe very often and being stuck in the van drives you a bit stir crazy! Read, played cards and checked Facebook on Mags phone then at last the rain turned to fine drizzle then shock, horror it actually stopped:) So while Mag made a salad (she says we are not eating enough vegetables!) and some mini pork pies, don’t want too much healthy stuff, I got the bikes off.
We left the van at 1.53 and it was a short way to Hadrian’s Cycle Way (National cycle route 72) with Newcastle only 10 miles away. The first section was very straight as we followed the wall path towards Newcastle but sadly there was no sign of the actual wall as all the stone along this stretch had been taken long ago:( After half a mile we came to George Stevenson’s birth place, a beautiful small white cottage surrounded by lovely countryside. He was born here on the 9th June, 1781. We followed the River Tyne closely to our right past a posh golf course with lush green grass, hardly surprising with all this rain! The wide path was mainly tarmac with only a few puddles to avoid! At the first bridge, we saw a sign across the river to another path, The Keelman, which we noticed yesterday as it comes out in Wylam Station on the other side of the Tyne. So we can hopefully return on a different route:)
Next point of interest was where The Battle of Newburn Ford took place in 1610, the Scots defeated the English. As we neared Newcastle the Tyne widened becoming tidal and with the tide out there was loads of mud! Industry and housing etc was all about now and the large Warburtons bakery was particularly smelly! We had to follow the Route 72 signs along busy roads for a while before making it a large prom that lead past what were once busy docks and shipbuilders yards, long gone now, just flats and offices. With the weather being so glum we had it nearly to ourselves as the many bridges on Newcastle came into view! They were mostly very high as Newcastle and Gateshead have been built at the top of the valley. The main bridges are a huge concrete motorway bridge, followed by an impressive covered in cast bridge, then the famous arched road bridge, a big swing bridge and the Gateshead Millennium footbridge - in the end, we cycled over all of them :)
We had no idea what Newcastle city is famous for so just biked under the big bridges, past loads on Kittiwakes nesting on ledges on some great old building with nests full of fluffy young and they were pooing everywhere and it smelt worse than Flamborough cliffs!!! We passed a café called the Cats Paws or something similar which boasted free entry for cats:), a large sandy area with deckchairs called Tyneside Seaside :) – we have never seen a city centre beach before but no one was making use of it – that crap British summer weather for you. Getting hungry now we found the perfect spot right in the middle of the Millennium Footbridge, even if we had to dry the seat off before we could sit down.
There didn’t seem much to see on the Gateshead side apart from the huge glass Sage building so we returned and headed for the castle. It was a roundabout route to get there including crossing the two main bridges but we got there in the end. Having seen that St James Park was close to the city centre we biked up the hill towards the football ground. The city centre is impressive full of imposing building, great for shopping if you like that sort of thing. You had to dice with death as the buses and taxi’s whizzed past but we made it to the ground with its huge stands. As with Portman Road in Ipswich there is also a statue of Bobby Robson here so stopped to take some pics. Then we got a little lost heading back to the Tyne but made it to the swing bridge and quickly found Route 14, The Keelman Way back to Wylam. It followed the river to start with but then it was a little all over the place on the outskirts of Newcastle as we passed through housing estates and retail parks past some busy roads but we got there in the end as we found the open countryside again. The mud had disappeared with the tide now in and several were out rowing as there are several clubs along this section. It was a good path but more puddles this side with the railway line to our left and the river to the right. It took an hour to get back to Wylam station and you could hear the roar of the river. After a night of rain, the river had turned into a brown torrent and the seat we sat at last night was nearly in the river with so much more water in the crazy river!
Back at the van, not too damp but tired after being out 5 hours covering 26 miles and we were pleased we had made the most of a bad weather day. After tying the well dirty bikes on, washing the mud from our legs and clothes, Mag quickly made the delicious campervan special Shepherd’s pie again. followed later with cake and a cuppa.
Tomorrow is looking poor weather wise but hopefully improving over the weekend!

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Toys Used:
Cannondale Trail 5 29er



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