This will be the last ride of this trip & I’m going back to Newcastle ready for the train journey on Sunday. I’ll be taking a different route there to the one I took yesterday most of it on a dedicated cycle route.
Leaving Pity Me about 09:30hrs I followed the A167 road along the cycle path for 4 miles to Chester le Street then Birtley I made good time along the smooth surface. The weather was probably the worst I’ve had all week, there was no sun & it was foggy.
At Birtley I picked up the Tanfield Railway path & cycleway (NCN11) which is a 10 mile stretch along the disused railway line, although straight it has long gradual climbs which is surprising when you think trains used to travel these gradients. The Tanfield Railway does run steam trains on a heritage line starting at Tanfield finishing at Dunston, a railway line of about 6 miles. The old disused stretch of line was converted to a path & cycle way some years ago. The Tanfield Railway Company is reported to be the worlds oldest recorded railway dating back to 1725 (but it was a waggonway then) a century before the Stockton & Darlington Railway. The line was built to transport coal from collieries in the Tanfield area to the River Tyne. The stretch of line that is now open was rebuilt by volunteers & steam trains run on selected days.
At Dunston I picked up the Keelmans Way cycle route (NCN14) which is a 14 mile stretch of pathway & cycle route on the south bank of the River Tyne, a lot of it passes through urban areas. It was named after the keel men who rowed the boats up & down the River Tyne carrying coal from the pits downriver to the mouth of the Tyne, the route ends just below The Tyne Bridge from where I had to make my way through the city to my hotel at Jesmond a couple of miles north. The drawback with this was that the route has a couple of short steep hills right in the city centre & also there were 75,000 South Africans & drunk Scots rugby supporters running in & out of the roads getting fueled up for the World Cup Rugby tournament where they are playing at St James Park.
My hotel for the night was easy enough to find, the area of Jesmond is quite a quiet affluent area, however that will change tonight once the Boers & Scots run rampage after the game. The hotel owner tells me she is full & that out of 30 guests 24 of them are South African.
Today I covered 27 miles & once again I was at my finish point early. I attained a top speed of 26mph which was down a great downhill section in a wooded area outside Dunston.