COAST & CASTLES ROUTE DESCRIPTION
The 200 mile Coast & Castles Route links the Forth and the Tyne estuaries. It starts from Newcastle, following the river Tyne to it's estuary at Tynemouth, and then heads north for 170 miles, taking in coastline and inland border castles.
After climbing out of Tyneside and the onto the southern tip of Northumberland, the route finds it's way through small fishing villages such as Amble, Craster and Seahouses (Best fish'n'chips' in England). Pretty towns like Alnmouth, as well as castles and forts, dominate the coastline, and much of the Northumberland coastline is still unspoilt with many protected areas of wllidlife, both on-shore and off-shore, including the bird colonies of the Farne Islands. The beach above Holy Island (Lindisfarne) stretches like a desert when the tide is out - but with inherent sand dangers too! The final coastline section heads north into Berwick, another of England's frontier towns steeped in history.
Inland from Berwick, the route follows the river Tweed and uses quiet country lanes through the borders and into small towns like Coldstream, Kelso and Melrose. This is fantastic country road cycling and a chance to stumble upon sizeable but picturesque villages like Innerleithen. Out of Innerleithen itself, the road winds and passes through the border country roads and over the Moorfoot Hills, which offers a great view of Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth in the distance.
Just outside of Edinburgh, the cycle route makes use of old railway lines to avoid the hectic Edinburgh road traffic, and the sudden arrival into Edinburgh is via a long railway tunnel, emerging into 'The Mound'. One of the newer long distance route of the National Cycle Network, it easily holds its own with the other, more established routes.
Information courtesy of Sustrans