Coasting Round Britain report by Matt C

Anyone who hangs out on the RW forums will have heard of the Coasting Round Britain relay which is going on this year and might know some people who’ve done it. Well our own Matt Chase is one of the “Coasters and has been good enough to send us a report & photo as lovely as the scenery he ran through.

Saturday 17 July 2010 saw the Lynemouth to Blyth stretch of the Edinburgh to South Shields leg of the ‘Coasting Round Britain’ coastal relay.  This was largely organised on the Runners World forum, and has a website here.  It commenced 9 May, and involves an English Oak baton (named Barry) being passed sequentially around the coast, however, it is not a continuous relay, as this would be incredibly difficult (organisationally) and potentially dangerous!  There are still plenty of legs to go if anyone fancies joining in.

Having not made a firm plan of how I was getting to Lynemouth until Friday evening, I still appeared to waken at 4am, as if I’d decided to walk there!  The weather was beautiful – gentle sunshine and relatively cloudless, with a light breeze.  As it turned out the buses ran well to timetable – Whitley Bay to Blyth, then Blyth to Lynemouth.  I had time to get a couple of bananas from the Co-op, get a look at the sea views and get changed.  Then realised the flaw in my planning – no public loos!  Lynemouth Miners Institute staff were very kind, and directed me through their building to their loos, and I was all set.  When they asked how far I was walking (I think because of my ‘camelback’ rucksack), and I explained to Whitley Bay, they even offered me a lift!

Carol and I had planned the handover for 9am (Barry had an early start, with Carol and crew running from 6.30am), and around quarter to a car pulled up beside me and asked if I was Matt – the driver for Carol and co – they were just coming up the hill, and looked bright and cheerful despite (or perhaps because of) a 6.30am start!  We had a brief chat and pics were taken of the handover, and I was off.

Up the road through a peaceful Lynemouth, into Woodhorn and Woodhorn Villlage, and through to Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.  I kept a nice even pace, and was pleased with how things were going.  It was great to see some of the quirkier features of these places, including a puffin picture on a low wall in Newbiggin.  Running through to North Seaton I had my first change to my original route, as I had found a foot route down the A189, rather than running three extra miles inland and back out again.  This was a hedge enclosed foot/ cycle path which was well signed, if a little overgrown!  Plenty of plants and insect-life to see, but no coast view until crossing the River Wansbeck.  The sunlight was reflecting off the water, and a real spur to continue.  Carried on a little further on the footpath, then down to Cambois (‘Cammus’ apparently).  A little industrial, but good running, then the coast path with thousands of butterflies, some of whom decided to fly into my legs! no major problems though (for them or me).  Had a little chat with a rather sweet horse in a field, and carried on round the corner to East Sleekburn, and through to what may or may not be Bedlington Station, and the first rain – not hard or cold though, refreshing more than anything.  From here, the only ‘nasty’ hill – quite a gradient, twisty, and the only part with no footpath or pavement.  Carried on regardless, and ran it with Barry’s help (rather than walk it as I did a week previously), so pleased with myself.  At this point, I start to feel confident and pleased, as I’m all but in Blyth, although with 4 miles to go, not near the right bit yet!  The gentle rain only lasted about 3/4 mile, and then the gentle breeze and sunlight came back.  Got waved and beeped running through Blyth, and eventually got to the front, and towards the handover point.  At more than 1/2 hour early, I expected to have a little chance to wait and rest, but just as I was getting to the battery, got called by a car, asking if I was Matt – so started and finished my run in matching style!  Tim had arrived early, but was eager to run, as he had another stretch later in the afternoon.

I accompanied Tim for his first 3 1/2 miles (taking me up to 18), through Seaton Sluice and Old Hartley, and down to Whitley Bay.  I stopped running at the Caravan park, and let Tim run on, while I walked down the coast to collect my car, and recover!  The photo is courtesy of Tim – many thanks.

I had a great day, achieved my goals for pacing and distance, saw some lovely scenery, and had a chance to meet people I may never have done.  Barry was well behaved, and encouraged me along the roads and paths.  The whole event has been inspiring, and my thanks go out to Stu, Offord, and all the coasters for making this an event I enjoy(ed) being a small part of.