Day 18, 4th June 2011, Tynemouth to Haltwhistle

I was not looking forward to the ride to the west of Newcastle.  I imagined another frustrating ride through back lanes and trashed industrial areas, but it turned out to be unexpectedly easy and pleasant.  We rode back to North Shields from Tynemouth.  North Shields is where the Hadrian’s Wall path, National Bicycle Route 72, actually starts. 

It is very carefully signposted, is being rapidly upgraded and runs on dedicated bicycle and pedestrian paths for 60km and well to the west of Newcastle.  We actually didn’t see anything of Newcastle city proper as the path runs along the Tyne and doesn’t go into the city.  As we left the north-east of England we had the overwhelming impression that this part of the country, including the people had seen much better days.

The path follows the Tyne River for perhaps 70km and the scenery just keeps on getting better.  The country in Northumbria is very attractive.

We rode 98km today, with a tailwind for most of the day.  The weather had changed overnight and it was cold and overcast. There are some hills towards the end of the days ride, including some steep pitches, but nothing too difficult.

For the first 80km there is bugger all evidence from our bike route of Hadrian ever having been here, or building a wall.  We stopped at the first major site on the bike route, Vindolanda, an extensive site of a major Roman encampment. It was alright. 

Our problem is that it is all about the ride, and after so many years of doing this we have got a bit spoiled, lost our perspective.  It is not Pompei, but that is entirely our problem.  It is beautiful country to ride through.

We checked into an ordinary little hotel in the town of Haltwhistle, which is getting free WiFi soon, but not yet.  Unlike the Travelodge chain, which apparently has no such plan.  So this post will be a day late.

I love European showers with the shower rose on a flexible hose.  It is wonderful to have a hot shower at the end of a day in the saddle, and then enjoy the soothing sensation of a jet of warm water up the arse.

I forgot to turn on the datalogger at the beginning of the day, so the first 7km of the track is missing.

View 4 6 2011, Tynemouth to Haltwhistle in a larger map


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