28 February 2014

F2B3: Durham to Ashington

A delightful day of windless sunshine up the flattish north-east coast. After the headwinds and hills of the previous two days, my bike felt like an electric-assist model.

I struck north from Durham this morning to Chester-le-Street, where I joined the Coast to Coast route east to Sunderland. On the rare bit of scenic path on that stretch, running alongside the Wear, was this Sustrans sculpture. As you know, they often commission artworks that reflect things local to the area that you see a lot of en route, such as this one, of a dog turd.

At Sunderland I passed by the endpoint of one of that Coast to Coast route, marked by this rather splendid monument.

The route from there north along the coast to Newcastle is glorious - perhaps it's the surprising abundance of light, air, greenery and space that makes it such a pleasure. On a sunny day like today, with friendly locals stopping to chat, it was an utter delight.

Greggs, the bakery chain, comes from Newcastle, and in its home town, every other shop is a Greggs - as you can see from this snap of King St, in South Shields.

The Shields Ferry took me over the Tyne for more lovely coastal riding, with big fresh skies and wide spaces, up to Blyth. Beach huts - yes indeed, they do have them.

I finished in country park just outside of Ashington, in a prebooked Premier Inn. I can promise you, the pleasure of reclining in a steamy hot bath listening to Radio 3 with a bottle of wine, bag of crisps and Co-op cheese sandwich after a full day's cycling never seems to lose its novelty.

Miles today: 52
Total miles so far: 156
Total miles since Flamborough: 146 F

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