Travellers' Tales: Fog on the Tyne

The Loire was off-limits – the Tyne wasn’t. Mike Ward toured it

I was meant to be cycling down the Loire but coronavirus put a stop to that. Enter the Tour de Tyne. Vive la différence!

Armed with a flask of coffee and yesterday’s leftovers, I headed east from Newcastle. There wasn’t a breath of wind. I eased down from Seaton Sluice to Tynemouth, then upriver on the much-travelled Hadrian’s Way.

After 50 miles I lunched at the Roman settlement of Corbridge. The day was young and my legs felt good. Could I still do 100 miles? Eighty-one miles in, I stopped at Kirkley Café, which was buzzing with cyclists.

At the start of stage two, destination Wark, my legs felt heavy. Should I continue? Then I spotted a left turn on the map and found a divine spot all to myself on the banks of the North Tyne. Legs now singing, I returned happily to my car.

After a rest day, a four o’clock alarm heralded the drive to Wark to resume the tour. Passing through a misty valley en route, my day was made.

On the Reivers Cycle Route in the wilds of Northumberland, I came across a cattle grid, cows, and a sign on a gate urging me to stay at home. I amended my route but didn’t go home, not just yet. The sun broke through as I combined two stages and took the rollercoaster route round Kielder Water. Glorious views were stored on my phone. I returned to the car, then home, elated.