If the economy can recover post-pub Lockdown as quickly as my blog views, all will be well.  Clearly, you folk want to read about open pubs rather than 1960s football and Fed Edge thatch.  Me too.

The trip to Blyth was a joy, and not just for the Doom Bar in a Spoons at 9am and the 7.45am queue in the rain.

It was also a chance to tick off more of that mysterious blob of Newcastle above the racecourse.


Just to prove I don’t only do Chinese takeaways, here’s the Katsu chicken curry from Chow in Wetherby Service Station.


Even with that half hour stop I’d made the edge of Blyth in 4:20 hours.

Using my Search for Sites app I’d found a free space to park the campervan for the night, next to Weetslade Country Park.

There is nothing better when you’re 55 than arriving at dusk at a place you’ve never heard of and wondering whether you’re going to get stabbed.

Oooh, new places

Killingworth, Wideopen, Hazelrigg, Dudley.  Are these villages posh like Ponteland or likeable like the coastal gems.

Well, I’m parked next to the old colliery but everyone seems very middle class.

Slag heap

There was a large motorhome of the classic ’88 vintage, from which the sound of pots and pans and poodles came.  I parked at the other end of the car park.

Mrs RM’s pride and joy

What to do the day before the Rebirth of Pubs ?

Walk over the pit to Wideopen, I guess.

A hill !  (Fens – a mountain)

Lovely trails, well marked and with little maps showing what people looked like before craft beer hit the Toon.

Educational, even at 9pm

There were more folk than I expected at dusk on a cloudy evening, mainly dog lovers but a few lads on BMXs from the village.

All roads lead to Ponteland
If you reach the top you get great views of Seaton Sluice

20 minutes later you arrive the Great North Road, and the sounds of this ’80s classic.


It’s the sound you expect on a Newcastle dance floor in 1985 (or Flares in 2020), not the local park being sung along to by Geordie teenagers and a poodle (possibly El DeBarge’s hair).

I bought a bottle of Innocent murk smoothie for £2 and suddenly felt upset by the closure of a Greene King pub I’d normally walk past.

Design classic

Keg, and last surveyed by local CAMRA in 2015, so probably an ale shrine on reopening.

Two lads were pushing an old banger up the B1318 to get it to start, the nimbler occasionally jumping back into the driver’s seat to adjust steering.  I offered my help; they politely declined, sensibly.

Back at the campervan I spent a restless night, cars screeching in and out of the car park past midnight. Was this a dogging hotspot ?  Why doesn’t the App (£5.95) warn me ?

I turned to the book for comfort.




  1. “I spent a restless night, cars screeching in and out of the car park past midnight.” Certainly doesn’t sound conducive to a good night’s sleep. You’re a braver man than I am, Martin!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Killingworth, Wideopen, Hazelrigg, Dudley. Are these villages posh like Ponteland or likeable like the coastal gems.”

    Neither posh or likeable. All run down pit villages.

    Good to see you back on the move!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Back at the campervan I spent a restless night, cars screeching in and out of the car park past midnight.”

    Scary stuff – it must have been a relief to find that the van still had four wheels the next morning…


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