We travelled from London to Newscastle on the Saturday of a Bank Holiday. Bad idea. The trains were skewed, and we ended up not even starting the walk until nearly 4pm. This was partly the result of the delayed transport, but also because we needed to find a camping store to buy some tent poles as our had disappeared on the train. Along with Yvette's guidebook. Grrr.
Despite these annoying delays, we still got 10 miles under our belts on the first day - from the Newscastle Swing Bridge (which is 4miles after the start of the walk) to Heddon-on-the-Wall. It was to finish this last stretch that we returned to Newcastle on Day 7. While some parts of the first day wound through suburban Newcastle, the main part of the walk followed the Tyne closely until veering away from it, across the fairway of a golf course(!) and rising dramatically up a hill to Heddon. This was truly a shock, as much of the walk thus far had been on the flat.
We stayed that night at Houghton North Farm, a working farm that was in the process - as we discovered - of building a bunkhouse. To be fair to it, the majority of the building work had been completed. It was just minor things - walls being put in for instance - that still needed to be done! The farmer's wife, who ran the bunkhouse, was lovely though - and was keen to see that we were well looked after!
On our final day, Alice and I met with Simon - a close friend from PGCE - and walked the remaining 4miles from Wallsend back to where we started at the Swing Bridge. It was truly exhilirating seeing the bridge getting closer in the distance but was, it must be said, quite anti-climactic when we reached it - partly because of a set of roadworks! Still, at least we were able to visit Gregg's for a pie :)