Hadrian’s Wall Cycle – All roads lead to South Shields

It was the last morning of our Hadrian’s wall cycle as I opened my weary eyes to be greeted by our trusted friend – the rain! It obviously loved our company as it waggled down from the sky panting like a happy dog eager for its daily run.

As the sun rose sleepily into the sky we had the knowledge that our prepaid taxi driver would be expecting our arrival in South Shields at 1pm.  Our damp clothes squeaked as we made our way down the stairs to indulge in our final cooked breakfast.

Rainy days again!

Our bicycles hit the tarmac.  It was a busy little road with cars flying by spraying us with endless amounts of cold rain water…  We only had thirty miles left to pedal and we were already soaked through to the bone.  Our wet clothes clung to our skin and I wondered     ” What ever happened to those sun gods? “.

After an hour of cycling through beautiful country parks, along old disused railway lines and in amongst leafy forests with everything looking so fresh and green, the faithful rain finally gave up and decided to go and find someone else to play with.  We eventually met the river Tyne and began to follow its peaceful flow towards the city of Newcastle.

Old railway bridges to cross

As the river widened the countryside slowly disappeared to become cluttered buildings and concrete motorways… We were soon greeted by row upon row of bridges, of various shapes and sizes leading us towards the busy city…. Hadrian’s wall had been replaced by a modern world.

Cycling into Newcastle
Newcastle and it's bridges

We happily stopped to refuel at a 16th century old pub which sat right next to the river. With a warm bacon butty ( sandwich)  and a hot cup of coffee in hand everything seemed perfect! Time ticked by and we realised that we still had 10 miles to go to South Shields…

On the banks of the Tyne

Well rested and our tummies full we hit Route 72 again.  The trail weaved itself through the city of Newcastle like a snake.  We said hello to many locals, young and old as we pedalled past them.

Dotted along the route there were small sections of Hadrian’s wall determined to stay standing and we celebrated this historic achievement with a mini photo shoot!   As we approached the cycle tunnel that would take us to South Shields we were shocked to discover that it was closed!!  Our time was limited and we were beginning to panic that we might miss our ride back to Ravenglass.


Luckily our map informed us that we could continue further north to catch a foot ferry.  The race was on.  I was relieved to get a text reading that our taxi was running late…good news for us! That message gave us the momentum to push on at speed. We pedalled with determination following endless signs that took us all over Tyneside.  It turned the end of our cycle ride into a Tour De France race… it all became a bit crazy!

The foot ferry in Tyneside

The ferry grumbled against the wharf edge unloading passengers from South Shields.  With our bicycles resting on board it took about 10 mins and a friendly chat with another cyclist to get to the other side…in the back of our mind the clock was ticking!

Our spokes were soon turning again with force.  As we left the foot ferry behind we happily saw the sign: 1 mile to the Arbeia Roman Fort! With our legs pumped full of energy, we pedalled like mad hitting the steep hill that took us up to the Fort and there it was in all its glory… the end of the ride!!!

We make it to the end!

The boyfriend and I were so excited to reach our final destination that we forgot to acknowledge our taxi driver who had been waiting an extra 30 mins for us late comers!  We jumped off our bikes to do a bit of a celebratory dance…We made it!

We had cycled 184 miles over a very rainy four days and it was tough at times.  I had managed to raise about 700 pounds for a Parkinson Charity and I am sure my Dad would have been very proud!

The Arbeia Roman Fort

I would love to THANK everyone who found the time to read this and I hope you can all join me again on my next cycling adventure?

If anyone is interested in the small details: It took us 3 hours by taxi to get back to Ravenglass ( Thank you to Ecocabs! ) It then took us a further 5 hours drive back to London with the bikes safely attached to the boot of our trusty Micra.   We arrived back in London at 11pm pretty tired but elated!

32 thoughts on “Hadrian’s Wall Cycle – All roads lead to South Shields

  1. Enjoyed reading your diary, I am just researching the route for a ride in June 2013 with a small group of friends. You took great photos and it looked like you had an amazing time. . .too bad the weather was so grim. Really helpful, thanks.

    1. Newcastle has such an interesting array of bridges and its buildings of old and new are jumbled together so well you don’t know which way to look! Thanks for the comment!

  2. Excellent picture of the bridge, and congrats on finishing the ride! Cycling in the rain is never fun (unless you’re on a mountain bike).

  3. Great story made even better by your excellent photos. I almost feel that I have made the trip myself – good thing too, as I never learned to ride a bike. Do people do this route on foot, like England Coast to Coast?

    1. We are now quite use to cycling in the rain.. and agree that sometimes it is quite fun! We have luckily seen that part of the country in sunshine and believe it is beautiful no matter what the weather…

  4. Well done to you- mission beautifully accomplished! Love your bridges photos in Newcastle. It’s a good-looking city isn’t it? Shame about all the rain. You’ll have to come back one sunny day. They do exist up here, honestly. (looking out of the window- just not today!)

    1. So glad you enjoyed the read! We love the north of England no matter what the weather! It is a beautiful part of the country. We look forward to returning one day soon?

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