Coast to Coast 3 – Rookhope to Tynemouth
The final stretch and our priorities were to get to Tynemouth by 3:30 to give us time to return to Newcastle for the train, and most importantly to arrive before the boys.
We started with an off-road climb out of Rookhope. The road was too muddy and stony to ride so we pushed the bikes up. Once at the top we had a fabulous long stretch over the tops of the hills with the sun slowly beginning to show through the clouds. We felt very lucky to have it all to ourselves.
The riding was fun and made easy by a perfect tailwind that pushed us along the old railway line from Parkhead all the way to Consett and the first big town we had seen since Day 1.
By Consett we were in need of some hot food and finally stumbled across the strangest little bakery where we sat inside on the window ledge eating sausage rolls and pies. They served Sunday lunches in a plastic box, or you could bring your own plate and they would load it up, and were doing a roaring trade even at 11:30am. We also learnt from the local radio station that 1 in 14 people in the area have Chlamydia and that if you were going to Stanhope firework display you could get tested there. It was all just a little bizarre, but cheered us up significantly and we pushed on.
We had a great run along an old railway track lined with trees and stunning viaducts passing over autumnal tree canopies. It was all gently downhill into Newcastle and sheltered from the wind we made good time, cycling first along the River Derwent and then along the Tyne humming “Fog on the Tyne is all mine, all mine…”.
Our average speed for the day was reduced when we hit the market on the riverside in Newcastle and had to push the bikes through shoppers. We succumbed to the chip and fudge stalls, but didn’t hover for too long as we’d heard from the boys who were in Consett and now only an hour behind us. It was time to make that final push.
The last 10 or so miles to Tynemouth ran parallel with the River Tyne on minor roads or part of the Hadrian’s Walkway. It was surprisingly up and down and not as flat as we’d anticipated, not to Laura’s taste who had envisaged being able to coast down to the sea.
We made it through the tourists dodging the waves that crashed over the seafront and down to the jetty as close to the sea as we could get. Big hi-fives, hugs and photos, but we couldn’t hang around for too long as we were booked on the 5pm train from Newcastle. We had 10 minutes to see if we could find a taxi or we needed to turn around and cycle back again. To our massive relief we found a taxi driver who threw our bikes into the back and drove us there in 15 minutes.
The boys arrived about 45 minutes after us. We met them at Newcastle train station covered in mud and exhausted, but rightly feeling pretty proud. However, our reunion was short lived. They had failed to book their bikes on the train and we left them on the platform proclaiming that next time they wanted to go ‘Paddy tours’.
The whole trip was great. Although it was wet and cold at times we were lucky with the weather for October and our new Gortex were brilliant at keeping us dry. The route was challenging, but fun and absolutely stunning.
It also confirmed that this pedalling around stuff is for us. For as tough as it may be, cycling uphill into a headwind and hail is a hell of a lot more fun than being in the office.
- Distance covered: 44.5 miles
- Average speed: 12.6
- Highest point: Parkhead station 466m
- Paddy’s best moment: Watching Laura taking a C2C signpost too literally by cycling off the tarmac and up a grass bank – and then getting stuck there
- Paddy’s worst moment: when the glorious slight down Waskerley Way ended
- Laura’s best moment: Being blown uphill by a tailwind near Parkhead
- Laura’s worst moment: The last 10 miles that seemed to go on forever
- Food of the day: Pies and sausage rolls in the Consett bakery – food of the trip!