TwoLegsTwoWheels

A record of my cycling trips in Britain and abroad

Jun
21

The North East coast: Broomhill to Cullercoats

Total distance: approx. 43 km each way

My parents have just moved to Broomhill, a small village in Northumberland. It’s about a mile inland, just south of Amble, where I’ve sailed to and from a fair few times with my dad, and 10 miles or so north of Morpeth. My parents moved at the end of May, and I spent a couple of weeks helping them move: lots of unpacking, and a lot more gardening (mostly clearing weeds, and digging out space for, and putting up, a garden shed).

hadston-cullerc.pngMy sister lives in a house just on the north side of Cullercoats bay, right next to the sea. It’s about 25 miles by road between the two houses, and Sustrans route number 1 runs between the two: it’s just asking to ridden! So of course I did. The weather had been warm and sunny all week, and as a fairly short ride I decided to leave after lunch. As it’s the middle of summer, it’s light until well after 9pm, which left plenty of time for both legs with a stop for tea inbetween. Of course, as I set off it started to drizzle. Fortunately, that was the heaviest the rain became, though the wind started picking up, and up, and shifting to the south - giving me a dead headwind for the outward leg.

To start with, I headed out to the coast through Druridge Bay Country Park (which is itself nice for riding in, though small - I might write up something about it later) along tarmac roads, which turned into a gravel track once i reached the coast and turned south. The path was ok: not ideal, as it’s fairly gravelly and covered in sand too, blown from the beach over the dunes. However, if you’re prepared to put up with getting sand and grit in your chain, the scenery compensates for the harshness of the ride. The same dunes that throw sand all over the path, part at times to show, on your left, views over the open sea, framed by dune grass, and on the right there is a nature reserve (formed on the top of an old opencast mine, which doesn’t show) which gives way to fields of cattle. The path soon turns into a surfaced farm road (which was covered, at the time I rode it, in the remains of a farmer’s pile of muck: annoying, but marginally preferable to traffic). The official path leaves the wide farm road after only a few hundred metres, turning back into a small gravelly and sandy beach path. There’s only one small sign to show this, which was half worn-away, so I missed the turning and carried on down the farm road till it met the ‘main’ road. I realised I’d gone wrong, but I came out on the road only a little way away from the coast, perhaps a mile or so, so I followed the road along back to the coast. The path joins the road where the road meets the coast, in any case. From here to Lynemouth the route was on-road, taking me though the village of Creswell, with the victorian folly poking out of a forest of the hill. At Lynemouth, the route splits onto a cyclepath alongside the road, but separated for most of the way by trees. It’s pretty decent for the most part, although the surface, once smoothly tarmacked, is breaking up and is very overgrown in places: work is needed soon to maintain it, otherwise it risks falling into disrepair, which will surely be more difficult and costly in the long term.

This path took me alongside the main spine road parallel to the coast all the way to the far side of the Wansbeck. It was generally a nice ride, the most annoying being the large detours it makes to cross over roads away from roundabouts; at one, there are two spurs, which together add on maybe half a mile to the journey compared to the direct route. I made a mental note to swing onto the road and go straight over the roundabout on the return leg.

Fontunately, the wind stayed more or less constant for the rest of the day, which meant I absolutely flew along the stretch from Cullercoats to Blyth. Combined with knowing the way, I was about 15 minutes faster on the return leg. I’m sure it would have been faster still if I hadn’t been tired!

Edit: Map is up now, along with the total distance. Sorry for the delay!