Rosie Riley
Written by Rosie Riley
Published on 8th June 2020
3 min read

Who was it who said the North East is the best place for adventure in the UK? Oh that's right, Rosie. Still unconvinced? Rosie takes us on a Geordie Tour, adventure style..

You’re a Geordie if you’re born within spitting distance of the Tyne. Apparently. But what if you know the Metro stations by heart (and the Metty Mission), think The South starts on the far side of the Tyne Bridge, love Greggs (as in, really love it), and get so excited when you’re on the train coming over the river that you get up and lean forward to see the bridges?

My sister once said to me, ‘You know what I love most about people from the North East? How much they just love the North East.’ True. We just love the North East. 

It’s justified. The North East is mint. The beaches are unreal, the waves are class, the cycling is wicked and the countryside is just lush.

'The North East is mint. The beaches are unreal, the waves are class, the cycling is wicked and the countryside is just lush.'

I remember once, when I was really little, being taken to a bay up the Northumberland coast for the night. We swam in the sea, had a fire on the beach and camped in the sand dunes. I remember it because at night, a helicopter kept doing rounds, flying over the beach and shining a spotlight. It kept us awake. 

This is still one of my favourite spots. A total gem. It’s between Alnwick and Alnmouth. You take a narrow lane down from the main road, go through a farmers gate which says 'NO CAMPING' and walk through the marram grass on the dunes down to the beach. The sand is like sugar and the sea is crystal clear. 

Go when a big low pressure pushes a northerly swell down from Scotland and surf spots up and down the coastline get lit. The prevailing wind is offshore. 

'You take a narrow lane down from the main road, go through a farmers gate which says 'NO CAMPING' and walk through the marram grass on the dunes down to the beach. The sand is like sugar and the sea is crystal clear.'

Cycle the Coast and Castles from Tynemouth to Edinburgh and you’ll see the whole coastline, although the sea is flat and blue in summer.

Or ride inland. Belsay, Capheaton, Sweethope Lough, The Ryals, The Vomit, Elsdon. The tiny cycling cafe in Elsdon has been there since 1978. The couple in their 70s who run it live there too. In winter you sit in their living room. In summer you sit out front. There’s hundreds of photographs of local cycling legends on the walls. Get a cup of oxo and a slice of white bread for £1.90. For the fainter-hearted, their Gibbet Fruit Cake is known - just don’t put your helmet on the table. 

The River Tweed and cycling Northumberland.

'There’s hundreds of photographs of local cycling legends on the walls. Get a cup of oxo and a slice of white bread for £1.90. For the fainter-hearted, their Gibbet Fruit Cake is known - just don’t put your helmet on the table.'

Last Easter I went back to that bay up the coast. Again we had a fire and camped on the beach. This time it wasn’t a helicopter that woke us up but a drone hovering above us at dawn. A farmer with a policeman arrived shortly after. You’re not allowed to camp there now. He doesn’t want people parking cars on the dunes overnight, leaving rubbish and disrupting the peace. He wants to preserve the serenity of the North East coastline. 

Which is fair enough. I mean, the North East is mint. The beaches are unreal, the waves are class, the cycling is wicked and the countryside is just lush. 

He said nothing about bivvying though.