191. Newbiggin-by-the Sea to Whitley Bay

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.

Looking out towards The Couple at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea
Heading towards the weir and footbridge across the River Wansbeck

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.

Inland lighthouse in Blyth

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.

Heading south towards Seaton Sluice
Looking back at Blyth
The harbour at Seaton Sluice
St. Marys Island and lighthouse
Approaching Whitley Bay
The Spanish City Dome – Whitley Bay

Distance today = 18 miles
Total distance = 3,373 miles




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