River Wansbeck

Day 59 in Northumberland

WHITELY BAY TO CRESSWELL NORTHUMBERLAND

So here I am, much to my own surprise, in the far North East of England and a couple of days away from Scotland. Did I really walk all that way? I have to keep reminding myself that, yes, I really did just walk 900 miles!

What I carefully DON’T remind myself of is that I have about another 3000 miles still to walk. Some things are best not to think about too much.

By my calculations – and their accuracy is very much a matter of opinion – I did 20 miles today, bringing the total up to 900. It should have been 18 miles but a bit of the dodgy navigation that has become my trademark added a few unnecessary miles as I tried to skirt around Blyth and nearly ended up skirting around half of Northumberland.

I guess that is sort of how Columbus discovered America, if you stretch the similarities to breaking point, although the only thing I discovered was a Costcutter in a suburb whose name I can’t remember where I was able to buy a cheese sandwich.

Unconventional navigational flourishes and reluctant sightseeing tours of Northumbrian housing estates aside, this was a very good day. I had slowed down of late and was struggling to keep doing the daily distances I had managed previously, but Day 59 saw a sudden return of stamina and I was able to clock up 20 odd miles with surprisingly little physical difficulty. I walked pretty much for eleven straight hours without lapsing into a coma, which is a good result by any standards.

In fact the day went so well I almost decided I actually like walking but to be honest there is no room in my life for that kind of extremism.

The weather was reasonably kind to me. It refrained from raining although I could tell it was thinking about it all day. The wind was strong but mainly a following wind blowing up from the South. With the evening turning into a splendid one, I reached my target, Cresswell about 8pm and stayed at the lovely home of Mike and Val Seal.

The house itself is gorgeous and it perches high over the rugged Northumbrian coast about as far from the madding crowd as it is possible to get in a relatively crowded land such as England. The sunsets and sunrises are beautiful and I have done my best to capture a little of their majesty in my photos.

When I was in Mablethorpe I stayed at the Beach Lodge Hotel owned by Stephen and Michelle Robson. They told a friend, Judith Archdale, about my walk and Judith started following it. Judith told her sister, Val and her husband Mike and they very kindly offered to put me up in Cresswell. So I am very grateful for all those involved in that chain of good fortune.

Mike and Val have done more than just put me up. They gave me a lovely dinner and a great breakfast and Mike even gave me a rucksack to replace the one I bought in Lowestoft, which has already developed a fatal tear.

I can’t thank Mike and Val (who also did my washing for me!) enough for their kindness and.support. It really does keep me going knowing that people understand and are willing to support the purpose of my walk and the Drug Free Kids campaign I am trying to help.

So, well rested and thoroughly well looked after, I am well up for Day 60 and an 18 mile (I hope) walk to Alnwick and whatever it may bring.

See you on the road!

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