My evening in Whitley Bay or as my hosts Chris and Nina called it – paradise – was truly inspiring.
I have used Warmshowers (a cycle touring room for the night service) twice and both times I have never felt so grateful and dare I say at home 😂😂😂 last night, you two really made a difference. Thanks so much guys (I’ll talk about you more in future blogs)
For me that says so much about the type of people that cycle tour, and the gratitude they have (as I do now) when cycling long distances so many miles away from home.
Touring is illuminating (where we go what we see); Invigorating (physically no doubt). I guess cleansing too in many ways, but being an adventure it’s also dammed scary and lonely at times. Today highlighted that for me too….
So I covered about 40 miles again today. Not that far admittedly but the conditions were the hardest I’ve faced. Forget the hills now as my legs are stronger, but the driving NW headwind and constant rain today tested me both physically and mentally.
There were long periods of…nothing. The wet is normally easy to deal with in suburbia, but there are no handy Dyson hand blowers on this route… (by the way the route I’m on is National cycle route 1 at the moment) The cold settles in through the sopping gloves (I used 3 pairs today) and you can easily loose track of why you are out there, head down and churning….
Then I arrived at a tiny little bay called newbiggin. No I’ve never heard of it either.I met Dawn. Dawn suffers from bipolar and anxiety NOT that I or anyone would have any idea. She told me even going out for a walk today was a struggle but I’m so glad she did otherwise I wouldn’t have met this wonderful person.
Dawn told me about the bay and the surrounding town and I was astounded. This little bay is steeped in history.
There is a rock on the beach, it’s a pretty big rock called the hunkleton stone. It was dragged and laid in the middle of the beach today by a glacier from the ice age…
There is a sculpture on the sea… WHAT….called ‘couple’ by Sean Henry. I’ll let you read about this belowj
There was an RNLI museum where the local school children had designed murals. The one below ‘hear the waves, touch the sand, smell the sea, enjoy your day’ said it all for me.
There was a story of a shipwreck at the turn of the last century… This was one little bay on the east coast. There is so much out there on our rich and beautiful coastline. I’m calling home now to cancel Magaluf……
There was an cafe (cafe Bertorelli) Dawn recommended it and it has been in the family (Italian) for 5 generations. I tried the Vanilla, Bubble Gum and Hubba Bubba flavoured ice cream that the staff recommended, hummmmmmmmm. If this cafe was in London their would be queues for miles but it isn’t. It’s in the middle of nowhere but still the staff were happy, incredibly attentive and they were passionate about the place they worked. That makes a change doesn’t it.
A dog-Walker ahead amused lifted my spirits when I rang my bell. “I’m amazed you heard that mate”, I said. “If it had been the wife, I wouldn’t have” he replied instinctively
Anyway back to reality
Tonight the area I was planning to camp in resembled a rugby pitch so I cycled another 10 miles to amble by the sea to a pub, well worth a visit called the Wellwood Arms. A hot shower, a clean room, great food, a cheeky glass of Rioja and a great natter about life with the staff and I’m done.
Jusqu a demain….