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Monday 17th September 2007
Whitley Bay to Warkworth

The forecast for today is cold and windy.  Some places in Scotland have had a frost overnight.  Unfortunately the wind is from the north and so we are going to be facing it for most of the day.  We don extra layers of clothing and wonder why we had not included gloves in our kit of parts!  The forecast also talks about rain later in the day.  Not what we want to hear.

We set off along the coast towards Seaton Sluice - not a very nice name, but nowhere near as bad as it sounds.  Cyclists seem to be well provided for along this part of the coast with a well defined track following the coast for a good proportion of the way.  Just north of Seaton we join a tarmac path running just behind the dunes which gives us some protection from the wind and this takes us into the town of Blyth.  Here we find a covered shopping precinct and enter (on foot) with the bike to take advantage of the extra warmth.  We are quickly reprimanded by a security guard - "No Bikes Allowed" - a notice which we had not seen.  He however gives us directions to the local Morrisons where we buy our lunch and from there we are given directions to a nice coffee shop where we warm ourselves even more.  Christine had spotted a Co-op department store in the town - so after our cuppa we pop in to enquire about gloves.  They only have the posh leather sort - not the riding bike sort - so we decide to put up with numb fingers.

The cycle path from Blyth northwards now comes inland to cross the rivers Blyth and Wansbeck.  Eventually we get to the town of Newbiggin where we sit on the sea front, sheltered by the sea wall, eating our lunch.  We are accompanied by the "Couple" standing 5m tall on the breakwater - a sculpture in bronze by Sean Henry erected just one month ago.  For more information see this link.

Lunch taken we join the coastal road again just north of Lynemouth and stop at Cresswell to admire the sweeping sandy beach which makes up Druridge Bay.  The bay must be about 5 miles long and the road-cum-cycle track will lead us into the town of Amble.  The weather on this photo looks calm enough but I can assure you that there is a very cold northerly blowing and furthermore as we approach Amble the storm clouds move in and we are forced to don our capes about 2 miles outside the town.  We make a beeline for the town centre and discover a cafe which we quickly retreat into.  The rain persists for nearly an hour before we feel safe enough to pop our heads out again.  Fortunately our B&B for the night at Warkworth is only another couple of miles up the road, so off we head.

We arrive at the castle in Warkworth just as it starts to rain again - it is only 4pm so plenty of time to look round the castle.  To anybody watching us that afternoon we must have looked a sight!  Equipped with Audio Guides we ran from building to building or room to room, seeking whatever cover we could find, and trying to evade the cold blasts of wind which were howling through every nook and cranny in the castle ruins. By the end of the hour we had had enough culture, so we quickly made our way to the B&B about 400m from the castle to be "warmly" welcomed by our hosts.  The bike was brought into the front room (on the carpet) before being unloaded, and the heating was turned on.  The cup of tea was very welcome.

Mileage today 32.9 miles  Total mileage so far 636.9 miles

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