Friday, 3 February 2017

Walking along the Wansbeck (Northumberland) February 3rd  (or a bridge too far?)
   The team is down to three this week for a variety of reasons, mostly to do with sunshine holidays. John H., Dave and I are off to walk from Stakeford along the river Wansbeck and up the coast to Newbiggin. A true gadgie day out, catching the X22 Newbiggin bus from Newcastle Haymarket bus station.

                  The gadgette says she will stop me going out on Fridays if I carry on doing daft things like this.
              Haymarket bus station from the X22. A change from Eldon Square or a car park.
The walk can easily be done without a map but for OS fans: OS Explorer 325, Morpeth and Blyth
We got off the bus at the big roundabout at Stakeford, near the Half Moon pub and walked east towards the Lord Barrington pub, spotted the sign for West Sleekburn, walked down the road until we found the gate leading past allotments to the south bank of the Wansbeck.
Watch out for this gate.
We headed west, John and I talking, Dave bird spotting. At the first bridge we came to, John and I crossed the river to the north bank and headed east. Realising Dave was not with us, and thinking a little, we realised we had crossed the river too early so walked back west through the country park that borders the river to the bridge at Sheepwash where we made use of a convenient bench and waited a few minutes for the ornithologist. We had a sandwich as we waited.
                      The bridge at Sheepwash, visible in a bright February sun.
Reunited we turned and headed east again on the path by the river, under a road bridge, a rail bridge and another road bridge  to the estuary of the Wansbeck.
Railway bridge. Used as a mineral line but there are plans to reopen the track for passengers
Art work on the road bridge. A reminder of the areas mining past
    We climbed up to the caravan site at Sandy Bay and walked the footpath close to the edge of the cliffs.
A coal seam exposed on the cliffs as we approached  Newbiggin.
Soon we were in Newbiggin which has a beautifully curved bay, fully sanded and a trail of art work.
We walked part way on the beach, part way on the promenade until we reached the Newbiggin centre in front of the church. We sat in the sun, warm for February and shared sandwiches, pork pies, apple and blackcurrant pies and snickers.
The couple at Newbiggin, looking out to sea.
A more life size version of the couple, she doesn't look to happy, cold probably

               Herbie Spotting outside the Newbiggin Centre which has a café and a small museum devoted to the town.
St. Bartholemews Church at Newbiggin. Tradition says it was founded by the monks of Lindisfarne.
There is evidence of 13th century building.
Late lunch over we caught the X21 back to Newcastle and took refreshment at the Three Bulls which served The Rev James from Brains Brewery and Deuchars before both ran out!
This is a very pleasant easy walk;  wooded paths along the river, sandy beaches  and an attractive small town at the end, with an art trail

The Matrix MMXVII        
                                                                    steps                             miles
NAK                                                          22314                             9.38
Dave's 3D                                                  19287                             9.37
  "" USB                                                     19034                             9.64
  "" NAK                                                    19876                             9.35
 Amazing. So close!