A little about me....

My photo
Hello, let me introduce myself a bit...I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a retired labor and delivery room nurse of 38 years. Since retiring, my days have become mostly calm and unstructured. My Fluid Days blog is part of that life, though not updated at this time. My Hadrian's Wall Blog is the journal of our 100 mile walk across England in 2009 and again in 2010. My Dales Way Journal is about another long-distance hike we did in September of 2014. Russ, my husband and best friend for 46 years is my walking companion. He keeps me laughing and makes every day a joy.
Come with Russ and me as we walk 84 miles coast-to-coast across northern England, following the remains of Emperor Hadrian's amazing fortress....Judy


Sunday, May 17 -- Day 2

Newcastle to Newburn -- 8 miles

This marks the formal beginning of our 10-day hike, though we actually cheated and did the first few miles yesterday afternoon. (See Saturday’s entry)

After a large, English breakfast, I talked Andrew--Oaktree Lodge Hotel's proprietor and cook--into letting me take his picture before we left. We won't forget his lovely little hotel and warm welcome.

Outside, before we headed up the hill to the Whitley Bay Metro Station, I took one last picture of the North Sea. We had several more beautiful views from the Metro on our way to Walls End. Funny that the wall technically ended here. The town should have been called Walls Start!

After a short ride back on the metro, we resumed our walk where we stopped the evening before, at the Tyne Bridge in the city of Newcastle. (Catherine Cookson fame) As we will for the next 10 days, we continued walking almost due west.

This morning, the route followed along the beautiful Tyne River. The weather was great--cool and breezy with a few hazy clouds. One after the other, we passed under seven bridges: the Millennium, then the massive Tyne, the red Swing Bridge built in 1876, the High Level Bridge, built in 1849, the Queen Elizabeth I Metro Bridge, the King Edward mainline railway bridge, and the New Redheugh Bridge.
All these within a very short distance of one another, too.

As we walked along the Tyne, our guide book gave lots of interesting history. It was like a guided tour and was very helpful the whole way. Russ became the tour director and kept me well informed for the rest of the walk!

Periodically, piers jutted out in the river and gave even longer views.

Frequent informational signs told about a particular part of the Tyne or a certain historical era. Some were interesting; some not!

There were a lot of new buildings, hotels, and one vast business park that was very modern, with beautifully kept grounds. And for some strange reason, there were UK flags everywhere, but nary a one with the familiar stars and stripes from the USA!

OK, so there were also benches along the path. Who could pass up a sunny day, pretty scenery, warm bottled tea, and a little rest! Not me . . .

Well, guess what we saw across the river? We didn't expect to see Costco in Great Britain. Russ was ready to swim over just to get a berry sundae!

We finally came to the end of the River Walk, and here the path went inland for awhile. We would return to it a little later, however.

Looking back as the trail went up the hill to a new section.

Here I am, plodding along ahead of Russ. It was getting warm, and the path climbed a bit here.

We saw some strange sign posts along the way.

One reason the trail detoured up and around was because we needed to get across the A1 Motorway (British Interstate highways).

After a long stretch of woodland, we came to the Tyne Riverside Country Park. Our B & B was very close--for which I was rather pleased! We had snacked on fruit and power bars for lunch so even though it was the middle of the afternoon, we were ready for dinner.

Our B & B was here at the Keelman's Lodge: http://www.keelmanslodge.co.uk/
The restaurant is part of the Big Lamp Brewery and was doing a booming business on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The food was good and prices reasonable. There was a really nice patio, but the breeze made it just a little cool to eat outside.

Our first full day, and it was a success! Feet a bit tired, but what a great day!


Saturday, May 16 -- Day 1

Wallsend to Newcastle -- 7.7 miles


After three days of recovering from jet lag, we left London and headed north to the beginning of our hike. We were up early, packed, ate breakfast and picked up a couple of sandwiches to take with us for lunch. As usual we took the "Tube" to King's Cross Station.

It's sometimes hard to haul 2 large suitcases with you, but people are very good about moving over to make room for you. We had to take the Hammersmith line because Circle line was shut down for the day. Yesterday the Bakerloo line was closed. Seems like they have more problems than they used to. We were there early so had plenty of time before our train left.

It was a nice trip. We ran in and out of stormy weather with black clouds and then sunshine. There were fields and fields of something growing that had beautiful yellow blossoms. I found out later it was rape. Raised for their seeds to make oil, I think. I took a few pictures from the train. It's difficult not to get blurry scenes when you're moving very fast. This was a high-speed train.

The scenery was mostly pastoral--either flat or rolling hills. Newborn lambs nearly every couple of miles. Those pictures were a blur!

The yellow fields were everywhere.

These places always look ominous to me!

In Newcastle we transferred to the Metro line right at the train station and took a short ride to Whitley Bay to find our B & B. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon by then and just a short walk down the hill to the Oaktree Lodge.
Andrew and his wife Sonja gave us a warm welcome, and we unloaded our luggage and packs. What a relief to get rid of those large suitcases. It was a typical small British B & B hotel--old, but very neat, clean and comfortable. http://www.oaktree-lodge.co.uk/

Whitley Bay had a definite ocean feel to it--possibly because it was right on the North Sea! In fact, the ocean was about half a block down the street from our hotel, so we walked down to get a better view.

The clouds made it difficult to tell where the sky ended and the water began. It was starting to look pretty stormy, and the surf was beautiful.

This picture was taken from in front of our hotel looking toward the North Sea.

Since we arrived in Whitley Bay so early in the day, we decided to get a head-start on our hike and begin it this afternoon, rather than tomorrow morning as planned.

The trail begins at Walls End, a little town a short distance from Whitley Bay. It starts at the Hadrian's Wall Segedunum Museum and is rather inauspicious, considering it is a British National Trail. Just a few signs to point you on your way. We had our "Hadrian's Wall Passports" stamped at the desk, got directions to the path, and started out.

So here I am standing under the beginning of the first of many signs we'll see for the next 10 days.

And of course I had to take Russ's picture too.

So guess who took the lead! The first steps of MANY!

A little ways down the path was this first marker that told about the trail, Emperor Hadrian, etc. If you click on the picture, the inscription is easier to read.

This is the first we would see of the wall. Actually, this was rebuilt using original Roman stones. We won't be seeing the "real" wall for a couple of days yet.

OK, this looks pretty official now, doesn't it?

The official seal of the walk.

This little white acorn will lead us clear across England. We'll be seeing many more of them on the days to come.

For about the first 10 miles the trail goes through different parts of rural paths and city trails. We walked all afternoon by the River Tyne. We passed a huge variety of buildings, scenery, boatyards, and walking paths. All of it very interesting. This is looking towards Newcastle from Walls End

This is looking back.The large white building is an old flour mill. In 1931 it was the largest producing flour mill in the world. The sky was so pretty and made great reflections in the river.

Along about here, those nasty dark clouds that had been blowing in and out, decided to open up and give us our first rain shower. Fortunately, we were near a very dense thicket of trees, and we got under them for about 5 minutes until the squall passed. We brought  water-resistant, light-weight jackets for the trip, and it looks like they are going to be well used in the next 10 days. We hardly got damp.

I love this picture. We are approaching downtown Newcastle. The rain had stopped and the sky was so pretty. Be sure and click on the picture.  
Shortly after this, Russell's stomach started growling and we started looking for a place to eat. We were almost to the huge Tyne Bridge where we would leave the path until tomorrow morning.
Since we love Indian food, we were happy to see this restaurant only a couple of blocks from the river. The food was great. (If you like Vindaloo and Korma!) Umm, good!

Well, it had been a long day, so we hiked up the hill to the train station where we had arrived earlier in the day. Took the Metro back to Whitley Bay and will return here first thing in the morning to pick up the Hadrian's Wall Path where we left it.
The great adventure has begun! (At least 7 miles of it has!)