8 lads, one Stag Do. The boys were back in Toon. Heading to Newcastle for a Stag Do is something that many English men have done over the years and with Martyn (the stag), supporting Newcastle United, it was the destination of choice for us on his weekend bender. Once we had all met up and done the admin of checking into our hostel, we made a beeline for the Quayside to find a pub and watch Newcastle play away to Leicester and start our Friday night. An unconvincing 1-0 win and several pints of Newcastle Brown to begin our first night of debauchery. It could have been a lot worse. Unfortunately Martyn only gets very specific time off, so getting away for a home game was not to be! But watching Newcastle in a sports bar in the Toon gave him the best atmosphere possible. After spending the night going from bar to bar we gradually saw the surprisingly pretty city centre (with old limestone buildings) turn into a boozy, sick, fake tan, Greggs and kebab apocalypse nightmare. It was AMAZING.
Sir Bobby Robson at NUFC
The next morning after a quick Greggs and breakfast (for recovery), we made our way to St. James’ Park. The main event of the ‘Do was to take Martyn on the stadium tour and check out the amazingly empty silverware cabinets of NUFC! The stadium tour was amazing though, our guide was one of the best. Martyn got to walk down the tunnel, being filmed and clapped by all of us. I honestly could not recommend it enough for any football fan in the area. After seeing the amazing ground and finding out more about Shearer and Bobby Robson it really left me wondering why there has been so much investment at clubs with less history and less impressive infrastructure – Manchester City for example. NUFC have everything in place to be successful, bar the money. A great experience. Just don’t bother with adding food at the Number 9 bar to your tour. Or if you do, definitely avoid the beefburger!
All the boys at the stadium
With the tour and food out the way, for the rest of us the main mission of the Stag Do began. Operation “Kill Martyn” went solidly from about 3pm until around 10:30pm where, after a final assortment of shots, we finished him off. When I say finished off I mean got him throwing up outside all over his Hulk Hogan costume and then back in his bunk. Success! Sorry Martyn, but it’s a one off… He was a great sport and took everything in his stride for 7 hours. Top effort. Some of us stayed out and enjoyed everything that a Saturday night in Newcastle has to offer.
A soon to be covered in sick Stag
The following morning another recovery breakfast was definitely in order. After a slow start and amidst general apathy to doing anything at all, we collectively wandered about the outside of the Castle but did not venture in. Hangovers are amazing sometimes. Despite nearly all of us being history graduates we could not be tempted. Working our way back to the quayside we went along the street market and looked at the various bridges stretching across the Tyne, but none of us had much left to be too enthused to do anything other than slowly stagnate and suffer our hangovers.
The Tyne Bridge
At some point I started to feel better and became determined not to waste the whole day in Newcastle. Leaving the majority of the group to head back to the hostel and pack (4 had to make the journey back to the airport that afternoon), 3 of us headed to Gateshead via the 21 bus to see Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North; one of the most famous and iconic statues in England. At 54m wide and 20m high, (taller than four double decker buses and with a wingspan as big as a jumbo jet!) the Angel of the North is believed to be the largest angel sculpture in the world. Andrew, Dave and I spent a sunny hour atop the hill, enjoying the views and most of all feeling that we had not missed an opportunity to see something so famous that we were unlikely to return to any time in the future. I’m really glad we went – and we even got back in time to say a final goodbye to our friends catching the early flight.
The Angel of the North… Pretty big!
After another pub dinner we said goodbye to Dave, leaving just Martyn, Andrew and myself for one final night in Newcastle before a very early flight back to Bristol the following morning. We decided to go to Lane 7 – a craft beer and bowling / games venue. A really good evening with friends to round off the trip. Less hectic too, which I’m sure Martyn appreciated… Newcastle had everything for a Stag Do and I can’t help but feel that it also has loads for a less boozy trip in the future!
The Castle we did not venture in… maybe next time!