It had been a frustrating 4 weeks since I last did any coastal walking due to a host of circumstances namely; lack of 2 day weather windows (particularly in Scotland), a death in the family (my wife’s sisters husband), a poorly dog (now thankfully ok), football and a Christmas Fayre where myself and my wife had a craft stall, selling things we had made – Woodturning and crochet items. Unfortunately, Scotland was about to take the full force of Storm Caroline, So I opted for my back-up walking location – The North East coast.
My wake-up alarm did not go off as I had set the clock time out by 12 hours! So I set off in a bit of a mad rush to catch my planned transport links. Only one major diversion on the A38 – M1 which was something like 10 miles or so. I was very lucky with the next diversion as they were just pulling the cones in. I set off up the A19 which is dualled all the way to the Tyne Tunnel. I located a free car park in Whitley Bay and walked into the town centre to catch the #57 bus to Ashington, where I picked up the #X21 to Newbiggin. The combined fare was £8.30 which was rather expensive, but not too bad as the journeys took almost 2 hours. From the bus stop in Newbiggin, I walked the short distance to the promenade.
The weather was a mixture of a stiff breeze with sunny spells amongst dull overcast grey skies. I followed the promenade out of Newbiggin getting a good view of “The Couple” statue sitting some 300m offshore on a metal frame. The statue by Sean Henry was erected in 2007 and was quite controversial at the time with the locals having mixed feelings about its siting. As I continued to walk south the sun made an appearance and it became difficult walking into a low strong sun. I reached a caravan site and headed inland slightly along the River Wansbeck. The path passed under the busy A189 and up to a weir with a footbridge on the top. There was a sign on a low locked gate which prohibited public access, I could see the sign lettering had been partly had been scrubbed out, also a number of footprints headed across the bridge and I decided to follow them. I headed back down the river and arrived back at the coast. I emerged on a minor road which passed through the old mining community of Cambois.
After 1.5 miles I headed inland again, this time to cross over the Sleekburn, then the A189. I briefly enter the outskirts of Bedlington, before emerging onto the A189 as I cross over the River Blyth. I descend onto a cycle track which followed the River Blyth into Blyth itself. Even though I had checked my route I encountered a couple of dead-ends which required me to retrace my steps. I met a chap out walking who was having his camper van worked on and needed to kill a few hours, he kept me company as we walked into Blyth. Blyth passed by in a bit of a blur as we were engaged in conversation. My new-found walking companion soon disappeared into a local cafe, while I continued south.
As I left Blyth I joined a path that headed towards the dunes and continuesd onto Seaton Sluice. Further on I pass through the small village of Hartley. I continued along the cliff-top path as I pass St Marys Island with its lighthouse and buildings linked to the mainland by a tidal causeway. It is only 14:00 as I approach Whitley Bay but the sun had disappeared and it was getting quite dark already. However, I could still make out the brilliant white building of the Spanish City Dome. I headed for the car park to change and then onto my nearby B&B. I noticed I had passed out of Northumberland and into North Tyneside.
Distance today = 18 miles
Total distance = 3,373 miles