Day 282: Druridge Bay to Whitley Bay
Distance: 26.72 miles
Ascent: 1642 feet
Accommodation: Kat & Dan’s House, Whitley BAy (Kindly offered)
I was up early as it was my little nephew’s 1st birthday and I wanted to make him a message on the beach to send as a card. When I opened the tent flap the view and sky were stunning. I popped down to the beach and using my heel made a message in the sand (see photo below) and then sent it through to little Arty via his parents.
The first part of the walk was beautiful and simple for the first 3 miles or so along the beach to Cresswell. From the second half of yesterday I was on the English Coast Path and this is a fairly recently opened stretch and in fact I had to change my plots as this route had appeared since I had come up with my proposed route. So far it has been incredibly well signposted, and the routes have been very well thought out.
On the next stretch after Cresswell but before the power station there was a rather sad situation. There were about 10 horses chained with pegs at separate points along the path, one early on was in obvious discomfort and looked terrified to see me so I can only imagine what had happened to her and she was physically trying to chew through the chain. But much worse than this was two horses that had become tangled together and the chains had become so wound up that neither could move without yanking the other, so they just had to stand in the same spot head to head and barely move (see photo below) and it appeared they couldn’t lean forward enough to actually eat. I tried to untangle them but it appeared to hurt them and one of them knocked me out of the way gently, so I just had to leave them. I didn’t know who to report it too, so it is possible they are still there in the same situation which is very sad.
The path took a nice and freshly laid path around the power station and then followed the side of a golf course just short of Newbiggin. I had a bad time walking the footpath alongside this golf course with one group hitting the golf ball over me (despite arriving at the tee when I was already crossing) well not really over me as they topped it, so it flew by at head height about 10m to my left. To make it worse the golfer when we passed jokingly said that he was trying to hit me, and all I could say was doing something that could actually kill someone is not that funny and carried on. A bit later walking alongside a later hole 4 elderly men approached a tee as I was only 50m away and I assumed they would wait for me to pass, but no a guy put tee down and ball and I was now only 20/30m away at an angle of maybe 15 degrees so well within the realms of a slice. I presumed he would do a couple of practice swings and then I would have passed but he hit the ball first time. I couldn’t contain myself and said ‘are you mad’ (I was so close I didn’t even need to shout) his response shocked me ‘we are golfers, we don’t care about hikers on our course’. I think the members of this course need to be made aware of the regulations in England regards Public Footpaths on golf courses and realise that deliberately doing something that could actually kill someone is not acceptable. Whenever I see golfers on the tee I wait for them, but if I am on a path that is close to a tee or crossing a fairway when they arrive at the tee, I and the regulations expect them to wait for me to be in a safe place before they play, I do not know why members of this course chose to go against regulations and act in an incredibly dangerous way. I should put a caveat that I have passed hundreds of golf courses over my 5000 miles and had relatively few issues, most golfers like most hikers have common sense and try to cause as little interference to each other as possible, for some reason members on this course seemed to have a sort of aggression to hikers.
Anyway, I promise the horses and that golf course are the only negatives today and the beautiful weather made for lovely walking. I stopped at a little café in Newbiggin to relax with a cup of tea. I continued along the English Coast Path that first headed inland slightly up the River Wansbeck before crossing a bridge over a weir and then the path returns to the coast at Cambois, before heading inland again to cross first the Sleek Burn and then the River Blyth after which the path reached Blyth.
In Blyht there is a large Morrisons and so I used one of my vouchers and got lunch in there and also charged my phone up as knew it wouldn’t make it to the end of the day otherwise. From Blyth I headed through the dunes and beach to Seaton Sluice, before the path climbed up onto the low cliffs and it was not long till I was descending into Whitley Bay with its recently finished promenade which is very nicely detailed.
Kat & Dan, friends of a friend had kindly offered to put me up. They have two young and very cute twins almost 2 and a dog, and with all that busyness in their life’s it was very kind of them to put me up. They also made me a lovely dinner before we all went to bed early.
Despite the poor horses and the golf course incident it was actually a really nice scenic day with beautiful weather.