Tyne & Wear

Middlesborough to South Shields

Date:15th January 2022
Distance54 Miles
LighthousesPilot Pier, Heugh, Seaton, Roker Pier, Seaham, Souter, South Tyne Pier, Herd Groyne.
RidersRob, Lindsey, Tim, Bryan, Jane & Me

We lifted ice covered bikes off the roof of our cars at 9am saturday morning in a foggy, rough industrial estate car park. It wasn’t looking like a belter. Through ‘Boro the visibility meant that the giant sheds along the Tees slowly revealed their powerful presence.

Bry reckons he spotted 2 seals. Unconfirmed sightings. By all accounts the seals surf into the creek from the bay on an incoming tide. The sea, unhelpfully, was out.

A sharp right took us away from the road and into Seaton Common. The sun made an appearance out of the gloom, a confirmed sighting of a Shoveler Duck and some space. It finally felt like the ride had started. Seaton Carew through to Hartlepool right up next to the sea. Into the marina and onto the Headland for a VERY welcome stop (especially for Tim!) Brews and butties, then more brews in the Headland Cafe. Perfect.

We spent most of the next section stitching our way between the coast (really interesting) and the old mining towns (really depressing) Its a place that feels like its been beaten into submission.

The main roads, choked with litter thrown from cars, aren’t great for cycling on so we took a chance on a little track alongside the railway line. It was inspired! Though the woods and with some local help, along the clifftops, under the viaduct and on to a stunning beach. This is truly a place of contradictions. Bry was right, we had to go back up, under the bridge and over the stream in Hawthorn Dene. We said goodbye to Tim & Bry in Seaton harbour then got a shift on…..to the nearest chippy. Fish Butties and Dandelion & Burdocks x4. Proper good.

Time caught us out again so it was heads down into Sunderland over Weirmouth Bridge, down onto the river and back out along the coast picking off 3 lighthouses in quick succession. Over the headland and the lights of North and South Sheilds, Tynemouth and all guided us in for the last few miles.

Cycling out to the lighthouse at the tip of the mile long South Tyne Pier in the dark was a beautiful thing. Rigging up lighting to get a good shot whilst the ferry sailed past and Lyndsey cast a giants shadow. It was such a joyous experience that continued as we visited Herd Groyne Light House and pedalled down the Tyne with the lights of Newcastle reflected in the water, Rob clearly wanted to just keep going. We filled our boots in Southsheilds before Metros and Trains back to Middlesborough.

Back home 12.15am! A brilliant mini adventure.

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