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"End to End via the Margins"
-the diary of a walk.

- Low Urpeth to Darras (Dallas) Hall


Although the day started with haloes and sun dogs, the rain held off and it turned out quite warm. I walked up an old railway track on an improbably steep gradient towards the Angel Of The North, apparently the country's most viewed sculpture; "Oh look, daddy, there's the Angel of the ..." Crunch. But I do like it, and I'm glad I've seen it at closer quarters than from the railway up the Team valley. As with that cross back in the south west, an aeroplane passed overhead as I looked up at it.

As I walked towards Gateshead, I chatted for a while with a woman who'd been bumping her trolley of free papers up some steps. I'm acutely aware that I must seem threatening or nutty to lots of people, and I'm gladdened by how many do seem willing to talk.

Pushing northwards towards Gateshead, I was "in the groove", moving quickly, too quickly, because my dodgy toe complained later - I really do have to be careful that I don't get carried away by those endorphins. The way into Gateshead and, by and large, the whole day today, has been "via the nice bits", or even the posh bits - the route seems to have worked out that way.

So it was down to the Tyne past Davy Roll,and through the door I could see them doing exactly the same things people do at the works where I'm chaplain in Sheffield, though presumably with cast, rather than forged rolls. And I met Terry Oakley by the Tyne, among all the brave new waterfront buildings, and with the sounds of construction all around. Newcastle wants to be European City of Culture in 2008, and it looks pretty good to me. Terry navigated me across the river, and on a whirlwind tour of the city centre, an alive, hopeful, smart and happy seeming place. Before I came here I used to think Earl grey was just a kind of tea. I was surprised how close St James' Park is to the city centre. It also seems very close to the centre of Newcastle consciousness, although this year's performance will have helped.

I walk west-ish from the centre and immediately after deviating from the main road beyond Westerhope, I feel as if I am in countryside (very close, as it happens, to where Foot and Mouth started a couple of years ago). There are now some sheep and cattle in the fields. As I approach Darras Hall on the footpath, I have to cross the corner of a field containing what appear to be bulls. They looked muscular and frisky and I didn't check too closely whether they'd had the operation. I, being a wimpish soul, deviated shamelessly from the footpath.

I was looked after by the Watsons of Ponteland URC at Darras Hall, and saw the churches and communities in the pastorate and heard about change. In the evening, a group from Ponteland answered The Questions. it's been a busy day and I've been brilliantly looked after.

Pictures from today...
Concrete shapes, Gateshead
Competitor to place where I'm a chaplain in Sheffield, also part of Sheffield firm
Terry Oakley and Eye
Self and Eye
The pub that died in infancy
Flowers for the past #2 - Westerhope
Group from Ponteland URC
God of life, we pray for people
who are still suffering the consequences of
foot and mouth disease,
for farmers whose livelihoods have been taken away,
who have to restock patiently,
who may even have taken retirement,
for families of those who have ended their own lives,
for people in the tourist industry,
for whole communities whose lives
have been blighted.

God give new life,
new hope,
a new chance,
© Bob Warwicker. The words here may be reproduced freely, but not for gain, or without attribution. All alterations must have the permission of the author.