A busy old day this. Under the “old” scheme of things, it was a day for doing a bit of caching to contribute to “The Matrix”, so we planned a bit of caching in Newcastle after Kas did Parkrun. We had spare clothes for Kas in the car and off we went.

At Parkrun, Kas was running alone with the intention of running as fast as she could. It was a nice cold morning and what is known to be a fast course around the Town Moor. I’m not sure how many people were running but it looked like around 200.

Kas settled into the middle of the pack at the start. When she did get back she had run a PB by about 12 seconds. Top effort.

The kids occupied themselves by getting their boots and trousers muddy and collecting up sticks. Something about building a nest.

The next stop after this was breakfast and warming up. We drove over to Gateshead and parked at the Sage, then crossed over the Millenium Bridge and queued outside a likely looking pub/restaurant until they opened at 10 am. It proved to be a good place to stop. The kids ate heartily. As usual, not being familiar with the portion sizes, we ordered a bit too much. Izzy had bacon, and the beans off my Full English. Kas had toast. Ami had a jam bagel, some toast, and some more toast and hash brown off my Full English. And I had the non-carbohydrate parts of a Full English, including sausages, bacon, mushroom and fried eggs. An Atkins feast.

After initially sitting by the bar, where there was an open door and a “disco bloke” installing extra speakers and cables, we relocated to the other end and sat on a table with two great big upholstered chairs, right next to the fire. Just as the fire got going the sun came out, so we were being doubly toasted from the fire on one side and the sun on the other. Mmmmm!

And so to a bit of caching and walking.

We dropped off Kas’s bag at the car and then proceeded to pretend we were tourists. It’s a while since I’ve been to central Newcastle, and have never really explored any of it with a cacher’s eye, so the experience was quite new. In caching terms though, it wasn’t so hot. Three finds and three DNFs.

First find was by a sculpture behind the Baltic Centre. Excellent spot for a cache.

Next up was a failure outside the Sage and then a walk over the Swing Bridge and then up to the Castle – the kids were intrigued that this castle could ever have been new enough for the city to be named after it.

Just here (where we stopped for a cache on the end of the High Level Bridge) Kas noticed a suspicious-looking bit of railway hardware on top of the nearby viaduct. A bona fide steam train. It was accompanied by a couple of enthusiasts who were following it around (but not riding on it) for the day.

If we’re being absolutely proper about this, it had two locomotives, one pulling and one pushing, and a good selection of venerable carriages in the middle.

For the real purists, the locos were the LNER Thompson Peppercorn class K1 62005 “Lord of the Isles” at the front and the LNER class K4 61994 “The Great Marquess” at the back. By far and away the biggest steam locos we’ve seen running.

At the castle we managed to dissuade the girls from going inside. Paying £8 to walk up the stairs seemed excessive. They would most likely not have wanted to look at any of the museum exhibits.

Next cache was supposed to be around the back of the cathedral, but we couldn’t find it. Nice Vampire Rabbit on the building though.

And then another failure before finding A Daring Defenestration, which celebrates a famous elopement.

After this the kids had had their fill, so we retired to a nice little coffee shop on the Quayside and then back to the car and home to Whitburn. It was nice to spend a day with the girls and to enjoy wandering about slowly, and generally meandering.