Newcastle to Edinburgh via Lindisfarne

Newcastle to Edinburgh via Lindisfarne

Laura Laker

Cycling journalist and Cycling UK member, Laura Laker, shares fond memories of getting lost leaving Newcastle as she rode with her friend to Edinburgh via Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle.

From bonny Newcastle NCN1 follows the coast north towards Edinburgh. It actually runs from Dover to the Shetlands, and beyond that forms part of the long-distance EuroVelo1 route. I cycled this section over three days in 2012, when I first discovered cycle touring. A Newcastle friend, Jason, joined me on the second day, after someone pinched his tent and he had to find a last minute replacement, and I became typically lost leaving Newcastle’s suburbs. I powered, then meandered, up the first segment alone, and though it was a lovely ride I planned badly, eventually finding myself far from any campsite as the sun faded. I called for a taxi to the nearest B&B in Amble, and awoke to a glorious harbour view. Jason met me in the morning of the second day, in pretty Alnmouth, and from there it was sun, cloud and at times windswept coastland, countryside, and the odd sand dune. There was the unforgettable causeway to Lindisfarne Island where a squadron of swans flew low across our paths, honking gently, as the sea lapped beside the road. I remember Bamburgh Castle as an arresting hulk of a building on an enormous hunk of volcanic rock. Next time I’ll stop to look inside. The grassy clifftop path and brief portage across a slice of sandy beach near Berwick Upon Tweed felt like an adventure. The wind on the second night was so strong I thought I’d blow away, tent and all. Then it was little coast paths, industrial vistas and suburbs until the magnificent ride up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle, where we finished our adventure.

Bring a rain and windproof jacket, and a good camera – the Northumberland coast is stunning, if tempestuous.

Stop at the Cycle Hub in Newcastle for last minute supplies before heading North; also the Village Tea Room in Alnmouth is a cosy place to stop, and serves good tea, cake and veggie and gluten free food. A detour to Lindisfarne Island is a must, but check tide times and plan ahead as the causeway is submerged at high tide

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