An Eastern Adventure Part 6

Thursday and another bright sunny, if somewhat chilly day. An ultimately enjoyable one too although it did go a bit pear shaped late afternoon. Newcastle was still on the to-do list but we decided instead to get the train across to Carlisle. I’d pondered this a couple of times and the ‘dentist’ at the Beamish Museum helped make our mind up, commenting on what a lovely trip it was.


He was right too. Beautiful landscapes and very appealing towns and villages made for a very pleasant hour and half although the sun had done a disappearing act as we arrived in Carlisle.


I don’t know why but I didn’t have great expectations of Carlisle. It’s never been recommended by any fellow caravanners or travellers either on line or over a pint so we were pleasantly surprised. Lunch was first of course, then an amble around the old town and cathedral area. We didn’t get to the castle but both agreed Carlisle was worth another visit. The journey too - passing through the likes of Hexham and Haltwhistle has inspired us to explore further west when we’re up here next.


It was whilst sitting awaiting the train to depart on the return journey that things started to go wrong. There’d be an accident along the line in Brampton which had resulted in a car upside down on the line. Information was scarce but eventually any hope of returning by train was abandoned by Northern Rail and a coach was summoned, which would take us to Hexham where we could re join the train. Two hours later we left Carlisle on the coach.

It wasn’t that unpleasant a journey. Although the A69 runs alongside the railway some of the way we did get a different perspective as we dived into villages to drop people off. So far so good. Until we got to Hexham. As instructed we piled off the coach and headed to the platform where the display told us a train would be due in a couple of minutes. Then came the dreaded announcement that a rail replacement bus would be operating instead. Christ! The bus in question was actually the coach we’d just got off and the driver could be seen having an animated conversation with someone on the phone and it was some moments before he opened the doors and let us back on. It was clear to me that he’d been royally stitched up and initially told he’d only have to go as far as Hexham.


To cut a long story short we got to Newcastle eventually. Those who lived locally had to give directions to the stations in their villages and I fired up my satnav to get him to the Gateshead Metro centre, the penultimate stop. The moment I lost faith though was when someone advised him to watch the speed cameras approaching a village and he replied that they didn’t think they worked at night!

So it was nearly ten o’clock when we arrived back at Whitley Bay Metro and retrieved our car. From someone’s driveway. The free station car park was not surprisingly chokka in the morning and whilst there was plenty of on street parking that was proving far more problematic than need be. Pay machines were scarce and the only one in sight helpfully didn’t tell you how much you needed to pay to stay all day. I tried to coax the rarely used parking app on my phone which promptly locked me out when it couldn't remember the  right password! However with the phone in danger of serious injury an old lady appeared and said we could park on her drive. How kind. Anyway, not wanting to disturb her so late we popped a little gift through her letterbox before heading back to the site and to bed.

Yeah right. The bag of crisps and bar of chocolate from the vending machine at Hexham station had partially sated our appetites but we were both hanging for a pint so I dropped Trev at the pub by the site entrance and deposited the car and put the heating on in Patsy before scurrying back.

The pub was in full swing with a quartet of guitarists knocking out some crowd pleasing favourites including the inevitable - given where we were - Fog on the Tyne. It went down well - as did the ale and ‘just a quick one’ became quite a few more. A great finish to a rather topsy-turvy day and ironically, had we have got back from Carlisle on time, we would have called in for a bite to eat, a pint and probably missed out on all the fun. Every cloud it seems. Well some of ‘em certainly!


The weather Friday had turned again and all thoughts of going into Newcastle were abandoned - and looking at the forecast our opportunity had passed. So I got caught up on some blog stuff - Part 5 I think - and in the afternoon when the skies cleared a little we had a wander around Tynemouth and a refreshing late afternoon pint. It was then that I picked up a voicemail on my phone from the wardens at Thirsk cancelling our booking there due to site conditions thanks to the constant rain there. Not good. We were due to leave our current site on Easter Sunday so we needed to get something sorted out sharpish.

Right, that seems a good point to call a halt. There is more to come including a factory visit, friends re-united and an evacuation. It’s certainly been an eventful trip!

1 comment:

  1. Thank goodness for the pub to save the day! I don’t think I’ll be getting on a train anytime soon. Looking forward to the next blog though.