Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Day 7 Wylam to Wallsend

We were not looking foreward to this leg of the walk  with expectations of following the River Tyne, walking past dirt , grime and general decay. We were pleasantly surprised to see the whole area had been renovated with well maintained walkways, promenades, and parks. People were out walking with their families, fishing, or enjoying the easter fetivities by the quayside. This was a complete contrast of how the river must have looked 50 to 100 years ago when it was the centre of the industrial revolution in the North East. There would have been several hundred thousand people working in the shipyards or transporting coal and other stuff to all corners of the world.

Geordie Boy had to limp the last 7 miles to Wallsend suffering from a blistered foot. The ending was rather tame. Instead of being heralded by trumpeters, we finished in the road leading to Swan Hunters shipyard. My sister, her husband and Jen, met us and wisked us back to South Shields where we threw our pebbles into the harbour, then went out to celebrate with a curry in Ocean road on black eye friday (as good friday is known in South Shields)

Well thats it! This was probably not a walk for the purist walkers. The 30 to 40 miles in the middle were great. Much of the time on either side was spent walking on or beside roads. But as a challenge it was great fun. Meeting many interesting people along the way and over indulging in the hostilileries made it a special time.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Day 6 Marfern to Wylam

Today was not an awe aspiring journey, walked along a B road for about 8 miles. Weather was great, finally found the river Tyne and walked to Wylam. Our topic of debate for today has been our walker’s diet. Although walking must burn calories I think we have been successful in exceeding our clarific burn off rates. Daily diet consists of full English breakfast, morning break consisting of coffee biscuits and cake, lunch a couple of pints and bar meal, often a cake in the afternoon, evening meal several pints, or more plus pub meal.

Last day tomorrow, looking forward to sophisticated evening down Ocean Road South Shield tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Day 5 Wall to Matfern

Today is Geordie Boy’s 60th birthday. We opened all his card at breakfast, but then he had a couple of presents to open. Late start as we did not have too far to go, or so we thought.

Another day of wall to wall sunshine, but the walk was fairly boring and monotonous. Walking in fields alongside a main road.

Think we would have struggled if it had been a long day with lots of hills. The last couple of days have taken a fair bit out of our legs. Time for leisurely pint and bar snack.

Should have been only 6 miles but was nearer 9. Arrived at Matfern High House to find it decked out in bunting, flags and balloons for Geordie Boys Birthday. The owners Struan and Jennie kindly arranged a great welcome and big chocolate cake, which we have over indulged on.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Day 4 Haltwhistle to Wall

The organisation on this trip has been poor. The task was delegated to Geordie Boy and he has fallen well short of expectations. The first two days through relatively boring countryside totalled 24 miles. The last three days which include the charming and picturesque parts of Newcastle, such as Byker, Walker and Wallsend. Also the inspiring mile after mile of derelict dockland and quayside. We are averaging 6 miles a day for these!!

However the central section with its magnificent countryside, magnificent wall with the wonders of Vindolanda and Housesteads were squeezed into 2 days. The first day 18 miles and the second 17!!!!

The day started at Haltwhistle. This was a couple of miles from the trail and Peter the owner kindly gave us a lift to the start – if not the day would have been nearly 20 miles.

It is 6 miles along the wall from Haltwhistle to Housesteads, and it is magnificent and tough. It is a series of severe undulations. Enjoyable and tiring, walking and climbing. Because the section is just up and down you are not covering much ground. It took us 4 tough hours to cover the 5 miles to Housesteads.

Lots of people on the walk, three school kids were doing the trip for charity in 84 hours, one mile per hour. A tough target but they were doing well. Without a moments hesitation I had given them a tenner. A gesture which is so alien to me and a cause of great concern. I feel better now that Peter has agreed to share the generosity. Also met a bubbly Australian lady, the blonde.

When we got to Housesteads – the visitor centre and cafĂ© is half a mile away. That is all you need when you have had a tough morning and still have about 12 miles to go. Did give the opportunity for Geordie Boy to play at being a Roman Soldier.

After another long climb out of Housesteads, the walking gets easier. The wall starts to disappear again, the land is lower and a return to farmers fields and sheep.

The end of day destination being The Hadrian’s Wall pub in Wall. It offers everything a weary walker needs, bath, beer, food and wi-fi.

All day we had been passing and being passed by 4 medical students from Newcastle University, and they turned up at the pub. Good luck to you all.

Day 3 Golden Fleece to Haltwhistle

Hello our loyal followers. As I tell all our publishing clients nobody buys if they don’t know its exists. Same with our blog, we have not told anybody we have resurrected it so I suspect our followers are few. We have our loyal followers so we will have quality rather than quantity.

Did not have much enthusiasm to post. The walking landscape was pretty boring and uninspiring. However getting better and so enthusiasm is increasing. So am catching up with the postings and photographs.

The Golden Fleece is 4 miles form the Wall trail. Keith the landlord kindly give us a lift to the point where we left the walk. Thanks for the lift Keith and I wish you every success with whatever you and June do in the future.

Hadrian’s wall walk contravenes the trade descriptions act. Two and half days in and we had not even seen a brick or a stone! All we have seen is farmers fields and sheep. But all of sudden we came upon the wall, impressive but after you have seen one bit of wall you soon get pretty bored with it. Its only a bloody wall.

Did 18.5 miles, a long day and ended up in Haltwhistle, with mine host Peter at The Mount, bed and breakfast.

Where's that pig

So its my knob

The map says there is a gate near here

What no beer

Monday, 18 April 2011

Day 2 Carlisle to Golden Fleece Ithrington

Soon after check out from the hotel Dunc and Geordie Boy had an auspicious gentleman’s moment. Fortunately, the facilities close to Carlisle Castle came to their rescue. The trip out of Carlisle was very pleasant following the river Eden, but this could have been Chester or York. Jen, Geordie Boy’s daughter kept them suitable entertained. The terrain was pleasant but not a wow factor. We still have not seen a brick of the wall never mind a lost Roman  legionnaire.  Geordie Boy’s sister Moira and brother in law Alan, collected them at a suitable point on the route to take them to their hotel which was 4 miles away.

We bid farewell to Geordie Boy’s family and over indulged in some very fizzy beer. After some afternoon rest the over indulgence continued. The pub was going through hard times and there was only one other customer. The worst thing happened, Dunc told a joke and the landlord and guest laughed. So Dunc was the entertainment officer for the next 3 hours.

Geordie Boy had seen it all before as well as many of the bloggers. Off to bed full of chips and beers.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Day 1 Bowness to Carlisle

As the likely lads from Huddersfield Polly finally dried out – bother figuratively and literally – after last year’s coast to coast and after a healthy period of separation, thoughts swiftly developed into the next challenge. Geordie boy turning reaching 60 seemed good reason enough to embark on a second coast to coast voyage from Bowness-on Solway to Wallsend, 85 miles of what is also known as Hadrian’s wall.
These experienced walkers, with learnings of bogs and dales plan to complete this one in six days but Duncan can only start on the second. So dutiful daughter has chauffeured Geordie boy to the start of his voyage and will accompany him on the first two days of walking. We started well with only one text to Duncan with an order of painkillers missing from the kit. Less success in finding the B&B with three trips down the 30 meter stretch of road through the village but we did manage to pick up a pebble for the likely lads to throw into the North Sea. Dad was tempted to present Duncan with a small bolder if it didn’t mean he would have to carry it around for 15 miles first.

The B&B was a charming Old Rectory which had been rebuilt three times
over its life time, run by a warm and welcoming owner Lynn or Liz (we
never quite sorted that out) and her equally friendly animals. We met
fellow guest Dean who had arrived from Sidney to work in London and
has 4 days to fill before his return flight home. It turns out Dean
has a taste for the black stuff and joins us for dinner and more
pre-match training/drinking. After sufficient carb-loading, bitter
sampling, shared tales of bucket lists, walks and a fascinating
insight into the world of merchant sea farers unions – it was time to
return back to the Old Rectory to turn in. Not before Dad had a full
record of Hadrian’s wall personal best times from the locals. Great
start and we’ve not even started.

Day 1

After a good night sleep and a delicious breakfast we left the fantastic Old Rectory to embark on our 15 mile journey. The paths were helpfully marked out which averted any potential father/daugther map reading discrepancies. The first section along the sea was lovely once we had climbed onto the breakers to avoid the road. The route took us
across fields and along the river offering lovely views, helped by glorious sunshine. Plenty of Hadrian wall explorers walking the other way were greeted by my dad's words of encouragement 'not long now! Dad was particularly enjoying his 'spot it' Hardrian's Wall water birds leaflet - I am now au fait with the Oystercatcher
(Haematopus ostralegus) and his many airborne friends. 

Eventually we reached Carlilse Castle where dad had an emergency 'gentelmen's moment' fortunately make it to the car park facilities (just). A bit of a struggle to find the B&B but eventually we found our way through Carlisle center where I was greeted with the words 'oi smify'. After a period of denial I soon realised that this was in fact my old work colleague from years gone by! B&B was clean and pleasant enough - we found the local boozer to sample a bit of local nightlife. Realising that was surmounted to Bon Jovi on the juke box we found a little Italian to relish something other than gamon and chips. 

Early to bed for Jen and Geordi boy had to wait up for Yarkshire lad to arrive from his eye-opening experience on the train from York (via Newcastle)!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Dunc and Geordie Boy in the footsteps of Romans


Geordie Boy and Dunc are ready for the first outing of 2011. Compared to our epic Coast to Coast journey last October, we are starting with no more than a gentle stroll. We are walking the length or is it the width of Hadrian’s Wall, a mere 90+ miles from the west coast near Carlisle to Newcastle.

We would love it if you would join us, even better if you would send comments. The more humorous and offensive the better. I hope we can have some fun together – at our expense.

We have both wintered well, our fitness levels have not deteriorated. We have bodies of men half our age. During the winter months we have had long periods of abstinence from beer. Often for several days. Although there have been times where we have been tempted off the path of temperance and have drunk to excess. We have exercised regularly and have followed a regime of celibacy, unfortunately, the latter has been involuntary.

Why Hadrian’s Wall and why now I hear you ask. The Wall is at the heart of Geordie Land, the spiritual home of Geordie Boy. You will find it hard to believe from the photos we are posting that Geordie Boy is still in his 50s, well until Wednesday when he reaches 60.

On Good Friday, all being well the son of Geordieland will be marching into Newcastle. All we need is a donkey. All over the week end Geordie Boy will be lavishing his friends and family with food, drink and accommodation. His generosity and pockets are of unlimited depth. 

The walk actually started today, Saturday. Geordie Boy and his gorgeous daughter Jen helped the old man on the first stretch from the Coast to Carlisle. Will post details of this stretch later.

Dunc who is still a captain of industry has been delivering the ‘key note’ speech to the assembled masses at the Scarborough Literary festival. As soon as this was finished and the applause subsided I was whisked away by helicopter aged Ford Fiesta to the railway station to catch a train to Carlisle. This is now been drafted on the train.

Tomorrow we walk in the footsteps of Romans and stick two fingers up to the ginger haired Scots on the other side.