Day 1: Home to Newcastle
A smooth first day. I arrived at Lancaster Station with nearly 2 hours to spare so switched my bicycle reservation to an earlier train with ease. The hour to Carlisle was spent in a compact bicycle compartment. There were 4 ‘meat hooks’ to hang up bicycles but I ignored them and used a combination of the stand, panniers and holding on tight.
A smooth change in Carlisle and onto the ‘Master Mariner’, a Small cros s country train with a grand name. It was the day of the Glasgow vs Sunderland football match and Glasgow supporters filled the train both in and with high spirits. The provodnitsas on the pristinely kept Russian trains would definitely not have approved.
The train followed the line of Hadrain’s Wall, a beautiful landscape whatever the weather. Then it was over the Tyne bridge, into the station, down to the river and time to stop for a BLT (bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches) and an apple. Onto cycle route 72 which took me along the Tyne and all the way to the ferry. A super route with opportunity to see the Roman baths at Wallsend on the way.
Arriving at the ferry with plenty of time to spare it was a bonus to be able to ride straight on. The evening sun was trying hard to shine as we passed the South Shields landmarks and out into the open sea. Day 1 mission had been accomplished and it wasn’t long before I was fast asleep in a very cosy cabin.