Lisa Davis decided to cycle the Northumbrian Coast on no sleep and even less cycling preparation.
Ready for the off!!
We’ve wanted to do this little gem for some time, but trying to get the same three days off as my friend Sarah, who works similarly crazy shifts as myself (we are both airline crew) was difficult. So, when I got the text on Sunday that we were on for the following weekend, I got mighty excited. I called the Skedaddle office first thing on Monday …they were cheery even though it was only just the stroke after nine and we wanted to tweak the itinerary. But once they’d checked their preferred accommodation was available and that our luggage could be transferred we were in!
Moments later Peter arrived and talked us through the route we were to follow, pointed out places of interest and most importantly the tougher parts of the route. Thankfully these were few and far between. He dutifully picked up our bags and with a ‘make sure you make it to Alnmouth before sunset’ he was gone. We scoffed our sarnies, knocked back the coffees and we were off. We edged our way up the coast past the seaside resort of Whitley Bay, St. Mary’s lighthouse and Blyth’s wind turbines, with a quick stop at the gorgeous Druridge Bay – the perfect lunchtime – ok mid- afternoon – pit-stop.
Space …and lots and lots of it!!
A few miles later and we were in Amble, where we did just that, before Warkworth pounced on us with its ridiculously impressive castle and hermitage and we ended our ride in the village of Alnmouth. Words can’t describe just how tired we were and even knocking on the door of the B&B was an effort. The rest of the day was a blur, though we do remember eating at some stage, being truly grateful our bags had arrived and were even in our room and that the bed was comfy beyond belief.
It’s amazing the effect that a sound sleep can have and after a heart-stopping breakfast we continued northwards. The stretch from Alnmouth to Bamburgh is an expansive stretch of vintage coastline, peppered with beautiful villages and the oh-so-traditional seaside resort of Seahouses, whose turnover of fish and chips and ice cream sales surely equates to the GDP of a small country.
Beautiful Bamburgh Castle
We pulled into Bamburgh far later than we probably should have – think stabilisers more than Tour de France the pace we ride at! My initial thought was that I must drop a note to Collins and tell them to alter their definition of castle and just put Bamburgh…and underline it! It’s not just that it looks great, but it also has this incredible stretch of beach in front of it, where we plonked ourselves down and drank in the sunset. If this is desolate I’ll take another slice please!
Drinking in the sunset!!
Our last day of cycling had appeared far too quickly, but what a day it was! From Bamburgh our route took us inland and snuck in the ‘cheeky climbs’ Peter had told us about. But what goes up ‘n all that…
We made it to Holy Island, learnt all about St Bede and made it back across the causeway before the water returned – make sure you check your notes for the tide times! By now our ‘never really seen a bike saddle’ backsides had become mighty sore and our progress was getting slower and slower. To help with this we both inflated the neck pillow we’d ‘borrowed’ from the airline amenity kit and proceeded to shove it down the back of our lycra, which seemed to do the trick, though was hardly flattering.
Tea will revive me!!
Our last stop was Berwick and a meet-up once more with Peter and our luggage at the train station. Even though we were a ‘tad’ late, he greeted us with a smile that was bigger and broader than the beach at Bamburgh, produced a chilled beer from the depths of his vehicle and listened intently to our tales of adventure from the last few days. I’d like to say we did the same on the journey back to Tynemouth, but I’d be lying, because we were both soon sound asleep.
Lisa Davis, Derby, UK