Thursday 24 November 2016

Castle, Colliery and Newcastle

Wednesday 23rd November Light NW

Mild and sunny

Thanking Zoe at The Sun Hotel with a present bought for her on ebay, a Batman rubber duck. Zoe has given me a fabulous welcome back to the hotel, a hotel I stayed in at the beginning of July this year and as she has a collection of over 500 different rubber ducks what better way to say thank you than to buy her one she doesn't have? A great hotel and after a day of rest, wonderful breakfasts and friendly staff, I need to be back on the road today.

Outside the hotel the view of Warkworth Castle is superb.
The cycling this morning is beautifully easy. The road is mostly flat and there is almost no wind. The first twelve miles goes quickly enough and I spot a cycle path off to the right. Along it I meet a lady out with her son and two dogs for a walk. She has just been out to Peru and describes her experience of going to Machu Picchu as I walk along with them.

The path comes out next to a car park and a fenced off colliery sort of place. I head out towards the main road and am stopped by Mandy. Mandy is one of these wonderful sunshine people whom I love to meet and she explains that this was a working colliery and is now a museum. As red squirrels and titmice come to a peanut feeder nearby, I decide that I can spare an hour to explore.

Glad that I do for after storing the bike away in a site office, I go into an art gallery The Pitman Painters. A Primary school class of children are on the floor doing an art lesson on perspective using one of the paintings. The walls are covered in a wide variety of paintings from this incredible group of artists.

The Woodthorn website :

I look around the old colliery buildings and then, with the hour up, I leave to continue my way towards Newcastle. The way from Ashington becomes complex and many times I get lost and things aren't helped by the position locator on the maps app on my mobile being half a mile out!
The first twelve miles took me around an hour. The next twenty takes three.
Through Newcastle centre, a man crossing the road in front of me stops me and asks what I am doing. Daniel works at Newcastle hospital and he deposits a donation into one of my collection boxes. Thank you Daniel.
Pushing the bike down the main shopping High Street, a young boy shouts “wow” at the lads and lasses on my bike. His laughing face is a delight.

Over the Tyne and uphill into Gateshead, I find my daughter, Rebecca's and her partner, Les' apartment. A couple of days to catch up ahead.

33.18 miles                         1155 feet elevation up            1111 down

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