Cestria CC does Blyth chippy

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Phillipe Galland, Graeme Bradford and Mike Wyngard coast along the coast (!) near Tynemouth Priory (picture courtesy Terry Ottaway)

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Stuart Cook approves with a thumbs up (picture courtesy Terry Ottaway)

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Gareth Clarke makes light work of the crosswind (picture courtesy Terry Ottaway)

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Richard Barnett sets off for Tynemouth Priory (picture courtesy Terry Ottaway)

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Left to right: Gareth Clarke, Steve Hughes, Richard Barnett, Steve McAllister and routemeister Mal Gray shelter from the rain near Standfordham (picture, Peter Scott)

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Fixing a puncture somewhere in deepest Wallsend (Picture courtesy Mike Wyngard)

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Lunch at the Blyth chippy featuring Terry Ottaway, Geoff Graham and Mal Gray (Picture courtesy Mike Wyngard)

The opportunity to venture on a rare north-east trip looked too good to be true, and I was one of several to take up Mal Gray’s invitation for the main club Sunday run. We set off from CLS in reasonable conditions, with a light side-to-headwind striking us up the A167. Near Birtley, one of the group suffered a puncture, so we waited outside the gym and watched the number of dog-walkers enter (there were two, in case you’re interested! – Must be another exit). Unfortunately, the same rider suffered a further mechanical near Team Valley and had to turn back.
Mal’s ingenious route took us to the bus-only route from Teams along the south bank of the Tyne as far as the Baltic. Here we crossed over the Millenium Bridge, and then took the cycle route along the north bank to Tynemouth Priory. Terry Ottaway took some super pictures here, with the North Sea spraying the riders as we passed. Despite the NE wind, there was quite a bit of shelter along this stretch, due to the town being to our north. We had another diversion as someone else got a puncture, yet fixed it in jig time. However, after Tynemouth, we were heading into a headwind although not too strong. We did have to stop a few times and regroup, due to being split at traffic lights and the like, but it was not too bad.
Near Seaton Sluice, the heavens opened and we stopped to take shelter and put on capes. It was not too cold at this stage, and the rain stopped after a few minutes. Blyth beckoned and we arrived at the cafe at around noon, with most having chips and something else!
After a suitable rest we headed west with a brisk tailwind towards Bedlington and Clifton (near Morpeth). It was a mix of ‘A’ roads and country lanes, with not too much of the former. Near Tranwell Woods, the Durham Chapter turned back, with the diehards continuing to head west. The light showers continued, but after reaching Standfordham it absolutely lashed and we had to stop and shelter for about 10 minutes on the dog legs before the reservoir (see picture). We then headed through Harlow Hill and deviated from Mal’s set route, due to being cold and wanting to get back. We hit the Military Road and headed back via Heddon and Throckley. Traffic was, surprisingly, not too bad and we got through Team Valley quite easily. At CLS we started to split for home and everyone thanked Mal for planning an engaging route.