Week 18 - Newcastle Upon Tyne 

30th August - 5th September

140830 5 Change of flag to England
140901 3 Royal Quays Marina Katherine140902 4 Hexham Township140902 1 Hexham Cathedral140902 8 Durham Roadshow140902 11 Hadrians Wall

We hung in Port Edgar Scotland until weather conditions looked more appealing for making our next run of 116nm south to the port of Newcastle upon Tyne England. When we set out on the Saturday morning weather forecasts were for around 15knots - well we saw nothing under 20 and topped at 32. So as the day progressed and the wind strengthen we reefed down to our staysail and 2 reefs in the main and still managed to cover the trip in 9 and a half hours - we would describe it as a spirited sail. 

Royal Quays marina is at the mouth of the river Tyne just some 6 miles from the town of Newcastle itself. The marina is entered via a lock system ensuring for our stay we would not need to be worrying about water depth. 

As we did in Edinburgh we hired a car for a few days and set off to explore all over Northumbria and Yorkshire. A highlight in the Northumbria area was the township of Hexham. A busy market town established in the 7th century and of cause complete with its own abby that stands tall over the cobblestone streets and market area.  This historic town with its old buildings surrounded not only by the abby but a castle was bustling with people and the central market area was full of merchants selling fresh produce, including top english sausages.

Further south in Durham we visited the grand cathedral built from 1093 to 1274 and the resting place of St Cuthbert the Patron Saint of northern England. The cathedral was a hive of activity on the day we visited as it was in the process of being set up for the BBC Antiques Roadshow television show, something that would have been special to attend had we realised that it was happening in just two days time. 

Weaving our way through the country side we finally found a piece of Hadrians wall - the wall built across the UK from Solway in the west to Newcastle upon Tyne in the east by Emperor Hadrian. The wall commenced in AD122 was built for defensive purposes and is seen today as a major engineering feat of its time. Now a UNESCO listed site there are many sections still remaining across the countryside though it did take us awhile to find one section hidden behind the shrubbery next to the cow paddock. 

140903 3 York Minster Cathedral140903 4 York Minster Cathedral Kings Wall

Further south we drove into the town of York. Lee visited here back in 2010 with Brian and Audrey Coop and has always wanted to return with Andrew. We walked the old town area including The Shambles - once the street that housed all the butcher shops and named after the windows that displayed the goods on sale. We toured the magnificent York Minster Abby and climbed the tower for a view of York and its surrounds. York Minster Abby is as much about the building with its grand stain glass windows as it is about the work and craftsmanship required to maintain it. Currently the Great East window is under restoration by a team of glaziers and a detailed photographic record of this work is on display. The history held within the building was astounding but definitely the oldest on display laid beneath the ground floor.  Here were the ruins of a roman fort that were discovered after urgent repair work was required to secure the central tower and roof back in 1967. So much history contained in one building that is as much a tourist attraction as it is an important part of the religious life of so many.

140903 Hole of Horcum

A final highlight was our drive through the North Moorlands. The heather was just starting to bloom so the fields were covered in purple for as far as the eye could see. Unfortunately due to the haze in the air on the day it was just impossible to capture the colour successfully with our camera. 

All too soon it was time to be on the move again. Next stop Whitby on the sea. 

(For more photos click here)

© SV Katherine 2018      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Isle Tabarca Spain