April 4, 2011 – Wallsend to Newburn – 12 miles
(This is a continuation from a post elsewhere.)
We awoke 12 hours later, very refreshed, and took a proper English breakfast in the dining room. Back to the room for showers and a complete re-packing, and we finally got to the trail’s start at 11:30am – later than we’d hoped, but not too shabby. The trailhead isn’t much to look at:
(There’s actually the excavated remains of a Roman Fort called Segedunum here, but the admission was steep, and it was said it paled next to some specimens we’d find later on.)
Soon we were strolling through eastern Newcastle, and some of the most historic waterfront industrial parks in the world. We learned later on that this is one of the least scenic parts of the walk, but we had fun anyways.
Dog owners take notice:
The signage was a bit confusing at first, but we would come to think of that acorn as an old friend; it’s the symbol for Britain’s National Trails.
This was a major center of the industrial revolution, and pollution from the nearby tar works apparently kept the keel of this old ship rather well preserved.
Once you get past the industrial zones and into Newcastle proper, it turns out this is a delightfully modern city. The atmosphere reminded me of Portland, actually.
We ate a cold, slightly rainy lunch in the downtown area. Stopping made us realize how cold it was, so we kept it short.
We caught sight of another old friend across the river:
Hit a bit of melancholy as we passed a church called St. Margaret’s. She would have loved this.
On the west side of Newcastle, after passing through Elswick, Benwell, Scotswood and Lemington, we found Newburn, and the Keelman’s Lodge. We arrived around 5:30, not too bad for having such a late start to the day, and after getting settled in our room we tromped over to the pub for supper: black pudding, a lamb burger, good local beer (room temperature, of course), and something called “chocolate lumpy-bumpy.” Nobody was able to define “lumpy bumpy” for us, but we accepted that, when smothered with chocolate, it would provide an acceptable dessert experience. We were not disappointed.