As I began the last leg of my journey into Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I initially found that it wasn’t as industrial as some reviews had suggested. Yes, there were buildings and roads—it is a city after all. But the route, shared with the Route 72 cycle road, often meandered through surprisingly green spaces (see photos), making it much greener than the Thames-side walk from the Thames barrier, which I had completed about 18 months ago.
The closer I got to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the more it felt like a festival of bridges! Along the way, I found numerous information boards about William Armstrong, the man who built Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Swing Bridge and the hydraulic mechanism that operates London’s Tower Bridge. He seems to be to Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Northumberland what Brunel is to Swindon. His presence in the city’s history added a welcome touch of industrial history to my journey.
I dropped my bag at the hotel, keeping only my essentials and packed lunch. Regrettably, I forgot to top up my suncream. I took a break by the Tyne, enjoying my lunch before continuing my leisurely stroll past the Millennium Bridge. People were scattered about, relaxing in the urban gardens.
After passing the Bike Hut, the surroundings briefly became very industrial, reminiscent of the wharves in London. However, the path once again fell back into tranquillity at St Peter’s Marina, meandering along a wooded area by the Tyne. But, even though it was more pleasant by the woods and I was without my bag, it felt like the last three miles had stretched into five.
The area around St. Anthony has signs warning against going near the river due to contamination from a former tar works site. The final stretch, unfortunately, was marred by the sight of rubbish, presumably from fly-tipping, which was a letdown.
Just before 2pm, I arrived at Segedunum, my final destination. Here, I treated myself to a t-shirt and a badge. Since I had left my Hadrian’s Wall stamp passport at the hotel, the staff kindly provided me with a stamped piece of paper.
I did it! In total, I covered 155 km or 96 miles – somehow quite a bit more than the official trail distance of 84 miles.
From Segedunum, I journeyed via Metro to Tynemouth, a lovely seaside town bustling with life on this sunny Thursday afternoon. I enjoyed walking around, exploring two different beaches, the castle, and indulging in a well-deserved ice cream. I even dipped my toes in the North Sea, a perfect end to my Hadrian’s Wall walk.
Returning to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, I treated myself to some new shorts and socks for my journey home. When I checked-in at the hotel, the hotel staff generously offered a bottle of prosecco, which I declined, fearing it would go to waste. Refreshed, I ventured out for an evening meal in beautiful Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
As this walk is completely and this particular blog series draws to a close, I am already contemplating whether to plan another through-hike in August or something entirely different. Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with Billy Joel’s wise words:
“Slow down you crazy child. Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while. It’s alright, you can afford to lose a day or two.”
Here’s to seeing the sights and cherishing the journey. Big love! 💚