Here in the north-east of the UK we seem to have made a rapid transition from a mellow autumn to a cold winter. The temperature on Monday morning was 0° Celsius but the sky was clear and wind speed was minimal. Dave and I had planned to head north, avoiding most of the slippery and muddy paths.
We met at the bottom of The Avenue and headed along the Dunes cycle path towards Blyth. The track along the river was icy in places but the sky was blue and the sun was shining.
We continued through Bedlington, East Sleekburn, West Sleekburn and Ashington before joining the Coast and Castles Route which runs alongside the A189 Spine Road eventually taking us to the Queen Elizabeth II Country Park on the outskirts of Ashington. After a quick circuit of the lake, we headed to Newbiggin, our scheduled coffee stop.
Bertorelli’s, adjacent to the promenade in Newbiggin, is fast becoming one of our favourite coffee stops. Located in an attractive art deco building, the service is excellent and it’s perfect for a half-way break.
By now it was a glorious winter’s day and Newbiggin was looking at its best.
We left Newbiggin via Sandy Bay Caravan Park and rejoined the Coast and Castles route for a mile or so before heading into Cambois.
After passing through Cambois, Dave suggested we continue into North Blyth, once famous for shipbuilding (the first HMS Ark Royal was built at Battleship Wharf) but now known for wind turbines and the aluminium ore silos.
The diversion meant we had to double back (the ferry across the River Blyth no longer runs) to retrace our route back to Blyth harbour side.
Our final stop was for a coffee at Ciccarelli’s before heading home through the dunes and back up The Avenue.