On Monday 4th June 2015 an intrepid band of explorers boarded the coach for a brief excursion to the North East. And what a lot we packed into a short visit.
After a coffee break we rolled up at Durham Cathedral at mid-day to be met by Dr. Richard Lomas, who took us on a tour of the cathedral. How lucky we were to have him as our guide – a man of immense knowledge of the history of the area and a knack of making dry history spring to life. And a man of firm opinions – he summed up the Victorian pulpit in one word – “hideous”.
After this, those of us with energy left went over to the castle. Here, we were shown around fascinating places where the general public never get to. Then on to a quick stop at the iconic Angel of the North. I don’t know what Dr Lomas’s view on it is, mine is that hideous may be putting it too strongly but not by much!
We arrived at our hotel, situated on the Gateshead waterfront and looking over to the Millennium Bridge, mid- afternoon giving everyone time to get sorted and then go out and have a look around the sights or walk over the bridge into Newcastle or both.
Tuesday dawned grey, windy and wet and we had the morning free to do what we liked. Some went to St Thomas’s Community Centre, The Sage, and The Baltic Centre, the converted flour mill now an art centre. Others strolled across the Millennium Bridge to explore Newcastle.
Still not finished, we boarded the bus to go to the National Glass Museum in Sunderland. Just time for a quick look round St Peter’s, the first stone built church in the British Isles, and then to the museum for a glass-blowing exhibition.
This was a fabulous trip, such a lot packed into a short time and great value too. Enormous thanks are due to Chris and Ernest for all their work in arranging it and also for Chris’ erudite commentary on what we were seeing as we journeyed.