4th September 2020 - Stage 12 Part 2 - Wallsend to Tynemouth

A Good Beginning Makes a Good Ending 

So here we have it...
The last leg... 
The final stage... 
The beginning of the end... 
The Grand Finale!

Today we met for the last time as Daft as a Brush trail walkers, to walk to the end of the River Tyne. A poignant moment for us all. And just to make it that little bit more special, we were privileged to be joined by Peter Donaghy, the author of the trail guide book. 
Peter and I have been in contact by email quite a few times throughout the walk and had often tried to meet up along the way but something always got in the way of that happening. It was great to eventually put a face to the name.

We all met at Wallsend metro station and wasted no time in setting off, chatting to Peter along the way about all the adventures we'd had on the walk.

Willington Viaduct

We had decent weather for most part of the day, apart from one heavy downpour just before lunch. We decided to stop of for our lunch break at Royal Quays mariner. After about 2 hours of walking, we were ready for a break.

Looking over to the south side

While we had our lunch, Peter used some of the time to ask us some questions regarding the walk, to help him with his next edition of the book. It was great to be able to give him some feedback and hopefully offer some helpful input for the next one. We all had so much to talk about and could have sat there all day if we hadn't anywhere else to be, but as the finish was calling we had to press on.

Once we left the mariner, it wasn't long before we arrived at the fish quay and we spotted these small fish plaques adorning the walls along the back of the quay buildings. These plaques are memorials to the fisherman and quay staff who are no longer with us. Something I'd never noticed before although I've walked past many times. A lovely tribute.

Nearly there

Chance and I at Fiddlers Green Memorial

We took a quick breather by the small beach at the end of the fish quay to take a few group photos and set off on the pleasant walk along the promenade towards Tynemouth, savouring the final moments of the walk.

As we left the promenade we were met by my parents and my 2 children, Lewis and Rosie, who wanted to see us cross the finish. They walked with us the short distance to the end. It was great to have someone gives us a round of applause!

Final few steps!

We had initially set ourselves a target of finishing the walk in a year and we would have achieved that had there not have been a pandemic stopping our progress, but we are still just as happy to have completed the trail.

We have had a fantastic time and made some amazing memories which I for one, will cherish dearly.

This final section took us 4.5 hours and we walked just over 6 miles.

Although the guide book states the walk is 135 miles, we somehow clocked up 149 miles and walked for a total of 69 hours.

Phil and Helen

Well done to Phil and Helen on finishing the walk and a huge thank you for offering to help me complete this challenge. I couldn't have done it without you both and I couldn't have asked for 2 better people to have with me every step of the way. We make a great team!

And of course, a huge well done to Chance, the team mascot, who completed the entire walk aswell. Possibly the first dog to do so.

We made it,

Where to next........?


21st August 2020 - Stage 12 Part 1 - Newcastle to Wallsend

Reunited At Last

This stage of the walk was originally due to be completed way back in March - pre Covid!
Who would have thought when we started this walk, that a pandemic would get in the way of our plans. 

Back on track

Eventually our patience paid off and 5 months later, after enduring the lock down and following all the guidelines, we were eventually allowed to get together again safely. It was certainly a fantastic feeling to get back on the walk and be around friends. Phil and I were pleased to see Helen again after she'd endured 12 weeks of shielding. Well done, Helen!

We decided before we started the day that we would split this final stage into 2 parts and end our day in Wallsend. None of us had walked very far for quite some time, Phil was nursing a back pain and I was still unsteady on my feet after a recent injury, which had also delayed our walks. So 6 miles sounded more than enough for us. 

Back on home turf

We all travelled by metro today, meeting at Central Station and finding our way down to the riverside to pick up from where we left off, way back in February. We were blessed with another mild day with just 1 brief shower.

Chance was also thrilled to be out and about on a long walk again too. He loves all the fussing and attention he gets on a trip into the city. 

We wasted no time setting off along the Quayside, a route we all no well as we all live in surrounding areas and have walked this path many times.

River Ouseburn 

After around an hour of easy walking we arrived at St Peters Basin. A lovely little spot where we stopped for a drink at a small mobile cafe. 

St Peter's Basin

Once we left the pleasant sights of the marina and continued along the riverside path we all agreed that this was the first time any of us had walked this far along the river on the north side.

At some point we must of took a wrong turn and ended up on the wrong side of the Segedunum, this didn't matter too much as we were headed to the metro station anyway.

Once back in Newcastle we stopped off for a quick celebratory pint and set a date for the grand finale!

Chance on the metro

Our walk today was just over 5 miles and we completed it in 3 hours.

15th/16th March 2020 - Stage 11. Wylam to Newcastle

A Day of Pavement Pounding!

A last minute change of plan saw this stage of the walk splitting us into two groups over two days. I was unable to meet up with Helen and Phil so they went without me on Sunday and I went the next day with a good friend of mine, Alan. Alan is a keen walker and a fellow dog owner so he was happy to tag along and keep me company.

Both groups used the trains again to travel to the start of our walks. We took the metro into Central then took the train to Wylam.
We all found this stage of the walk rather grueling as there was a lot of pavement walking. We'd obviously been spoilt with the previous stages.

(Waving us off at the start)
The walk started off on the old wagon way, passing the old birth place of George Stephenson. We all really enjoyed this area, the quiet, semi - rural path and the views along the riverside were pretty and welcoming.

(Newburn Riverside)


There was a lot of points of interest along this route as this section of the river boast a lot of history, which we all enjoyed spotting and reading about on nearby information boards.

(Local flood markers)


(Wreckage of the abandoned fishing boat, 'Brekaer')

 After working our way along the paths, it was great to eventually find ourselves back on the riverside and to see our beloved bridges coming into view.

(Six of the bridges)

(Helen and Phil)
(A refreshing break)

I completely forgot to take a picture of Alan and myself but thankfully Helen and Phil remembered.
Helen and Phil had a great day albeit a little chilly with some strong winds. Myself and Alan had a slightly better day weather wise, although I was recovering from a back injury so I found this section quite difficult and we had to stop and rest a couple of times. We found a small Sicillian cafe in the Scotswood area and enjoyed a crisp, cold lager.

Alan's poor little dog, Holly was completely shattered after spending the day trying to keep up with Chance. They both decided to stage a protest.

The walk was around 9.5 miles, Helen and Phil completed the stage in 3 hours and 50 minutes. Myself and Alan were a little longer, taking 4 and a half hours. 

26th January 2020 -Stage 10. Riding Mill - Wylam

Spring Has Sprung!

(First snowdrops of 2020)

A completely different day for us today. Phil couldn't join us for this stage so there was only Helen, Chance and myself. Rather than use our cars we opted to take advantage of the train service this time. As it was a Sunday there were fewer metros and trains running than normal so this journey had to be planned with military precision so as not to miss any connections.

(Where to this time?)

Helen and I met on the metro in the Jarrow area at around 8AM and headed into Newcastle. We stopped off in Central station to buy a warm drink and some breakfast for the train ride. We got to our platform with ample time. There is only one train per hour heading to Riding Mill so we had to make sure we were on it.  Once onboard we tucked into our breakfast and enjoyed the views. I really enjoyed how relaxing the start of our day was, it's very rare I find time for breakfast.

The 30 minute journey got us into Riding mill for 9:15. We had looked at the book and noticed there was the choice of two routes at this point. We opted for the longer of the two, taking us through Broomleyhope woods.  We knew this stage contained the final sections of woodland we would encounter on the trail as we would soon be in entering more urban areas as we approach Newcastle, so thought it best to enjoy them. Chance loves the opportunity to have a run around too. 

(Bird house fingerpost)

We enjoyed the pleasant walk, after the initial steep climb. The walk was very well waymarked through the fields, woods and across a few roads. We got lucky with the weather once again today, only one small shower, worse had been predicted for us.

We eventually arrived in Stocksfield and after passing the cricket ground, got our first glimpse of the river that day. 
With plenty time on our hands, we decided to stop off in Prudhoe for a pub lunch and a pint. Chance was particularly pleased about this decision as he got a bowl of dinner too!

I wasn't 100% fit today as I was struggling with a lower back and hip injury, so when we passed this large property I did consider paying Dr Bell a visit!

(Hagg Bridge)

After leaving Prudhoe and heading along the riverside path, we quickly came to Hagg bridge. We stopped here for 5 minutes to admire the structure and get a few shots. The paths around this area made for easy walking, a relief for me at this point.

(Approaching Wylam)
 As we followed the river, we spotted the bridge into Wylam fast approaching. I checked my watch and realised we had 8 minutes until the hourly train to Newcastle would be pulling into Wylam station. We hot-footed it over the bridge and got there with minutes to spare. We couldn't of timed it better.

(Tired boy)
We had planned to have a drink and a rest in the pub at Wylam but as our train was due, we decided we'd have one back in Newcastle.

I forgot to set the tracker on my phone at the start so the map is missing a small bit.
The walk was 9 miles and took us just over 5 and a half hours.



As Phil couldn't join Helen and I as we walked from Riding Mill to Wylam he was playing 'catch up'. So on 26th February, he set off on his own to complete the stage. He picked a perfect day for it as it was a beautiful calm, sunny day. Once he made it Wylam he met up with a friend in the pub and enjoyed a refreshing pint and a meal, which he assures us, was delicious.

While he was out he got a few splendid shots, which I just had to add to the blog as the are great.

Well done, Phil!

(Beautiful skies)

(Perfect walking weather)

Perfect day!

4th September 2020 - Stage 12 Part 2 - Wallsend to Tynemouth

A Good Beginning Makes a Good Ending   So here we have it... The last leg...  The final stage...  The beginning of the end...  The Grand Fin...