Having lived there pretty much his entire life, Andy loves his native home and shares with readers some of the reasons why he stays.
Called “The Little Axe”, UFC fighter Andy Ogle loves the town in which he grew up and though he’s started traveling a bit due to his making it to the next level of his career, it’s Newcastle he calls home and it’s Newcastle that has his heart.
Andy’s history includes his playing soccer in high school but at the young age of eight he entered the world of amateur Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and, somewhere along the way, managed to graduate from Sunderland University with a degree in sports science. Having lived there so long, Andy’s the first to admit he comes from a tough town, where fighting is the norm. However, he’s learned to channel this into a more acceptable avenue and in addition to fighting in UFC, he also instructs younger children at the gym in which he trains.
Recently, we talked to Andy about his hometown and why it means so much to him.
ETM: You were raised in Newcastle, England, but you have a distinct Scottish accent?
Andy: Newcastle is the north east of England. For people that may not know this, it is not that far from Scotland so Americans think I’m from Ireland or Scotland; I could understand where they were coming from. Really, in all seriousness, I’ve tried my hardest to speak as articulately as possible for the Americans.
ETM: How many countries have you visited since being in UFC?
Andy: I have only been in the UFC for a couple of months. I have not fought for them anywhere other than Las Vegas, Nevada.
ETM: What is your favorite country to visit and why?
Andy: My favorite country is France because of the lovely people and the fresh baked goods. When walking through the small villages nothing is better than smelling freshly baked bread.
ETM: What do you love most about Newcastle?
Andy: The people. Everybody is friendly and would give you a hand if you were in need of it. I have been to other parts of the country and it is amazing the difference. Saying that though, Liverpool is awesome; everyone from Liverpool is lovely and very humorous.
ETM: Do you have a favorite restaurant or food in Newcastle?
Andy: I don’t really have one favorite because I love diversity and my taste always changes. All I do know for certain is that Honeycomb Deli in Monkseaton makes the nicest Chinese chicken and chicken tikka sandwiches ever…fact.
ETM: Do you have a favorite place to hang out in Newcastle?
Andy: I like to go to Jesmond Dene with my girlfriend, Rachel. We can walk aimlessly and just talk about what has gone on through the week or think about the future. It is beautiful and really peaceful.
ETM: What are some of the best things to do in Newcastle?
Andy: I do not like football but if you were a football fan I would recommend going to a Newcastle United game. The fans are so loyal and very loud so you can’t help but love their passion even through rough times.
ETM: If someone were to come to Newcastle as a tourist, where would you recommend they stay?
Andy: It is a bit pricey but I would recommend they stay at the Grand Hotel. It is on the sea front and is a beautiful hotel with a lovely view.
ETM: Are there any places you’d recommend they see while in Newcastle or the surrounding area?
Andy: I would recommend seeing St. James Park and the seaside. (With a bit of humor) Other than that, because I live here, I can’t really think of anywhere someone would go.
Edit: This next one is a question asked a couple days later (thanks to my complete lack of knowledge about MMA. Andy was asked about fighting in a “ring”, which MMA doesn’t do, apparently. My husband corrected me that they fight in “Octagons”. Shame on me for not knowing this!)
ETM: Which venue (Octagon) has been your favorite place to visit and fight in?
Andy: I love Edinburgh. I fought in Dalkeith which is just outside of Edinburgh. Edinburgh is a lovely place.
It’s at this point Andy turns the interview back over given how busy he is with training but he did ask we fill in some of the blanks with more things to do. Therefore, here are some other sites and attractions that have made Newcastle such a wonderful tourist destination.
The history of Newcastle Upon Tyne stems from its originally being a Roman settlement then, later in 1068, the castle that lent its name to the city, simply called The Castle, was built by the son of William the Conqueror, Robert Curthose. Over the years, parts of the building fell or were removed but parts of it remain, nearly 1,000 years later. Only a few of the buildings associated with the castle remain and the keep and Black Gate are open for tourism. It’s also rumored the keep is haunted and it was featured on the television show Most Haunted during the 7th season in 2005.
Okay, this one isn’t exactly Newcastle Upon Tyne but it is near – about 10 miles away – and who can resist a beach? Being on the North Sea, the water can be cold, but on sunny days (and wet one, too), it’s touted on Trip Advisor as “…brilliant for a family day at the seaside.” Reviewers that also recommend the fish and chips shop nearby (no name given). It’s suggested this is the largest beach are in England and that the cleanliness is unsurpassed.
What was once a bustling dock is now an active shopping area complete with pubs, restaurants, stores (of course) and art galleries, so visitors might spend a sunny afternoon window-shopping and sipping wine. There is also a Sunday Market, and according to one review on Trip Advisor – you can get anything you want there. Highly recommended for people watching.
Built in the 18th Century, Wallington Hall is now a tourist attraction with some extraordinary features, such as the artwork and the plant-filled conservatory. Seems dogs are very welcome at Wallington Hall and have access to the grounds on a regular basis. The National Trust website has a page dedicated to friends, called the Wallington Woofs, who use Wallington as their usual hangout and they ask visitors to share their photos. Once owned by the “unconventional” Trevelyan family, Wellington is now open to tourists and with the interior being breath taking with the displays of art and memorabilia, it’s the gardens and the grounds people seem to love so much.
Fun for all ages, this museum has an eclectic array of exhibits – archaeology, WWI, a re-enactment of the battle of Trafalgar, you name it, they’ve got it; with tons of hands-on things to do for both adults and children. At only 3/10 of a mile from city center, spending a day here might not be such a bad idea for anyone visiting the area.
ONE FINAL WORD:
There is so much more than what’s listed here and taking the time to visit Newcastle Upon Tyne seems like it should be on everyone’s list of things to do.
Andy Ogle, the rising star here, definitely has a future with the UFC with a win-loss record of 8-1. His next fight takes place on 29 Sep 2012 at the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, England against Akira Corassani (8-3-0) and it will air on Fuel TV, which is channel 618 on DirecTV, channel 398 on DishNetwork, channel 198 on Verizon ViOS and channel 536 on AT&T’s U-Verse.
Andy is very active on his social networking sites and you can find him at https://www.facebook.com/thelittleaxe and https://twitter.com/thelittleaxe. Also, he will be at Extreme Fightwear UK Leamington Spa in August for autographing but the date hasn’t been announced yet. To find out more about his public appearance there, follow them on Twitter (where they give special sales announcements for followers) at https://twitter.com/E_FIGHTWEAR_UK.
If you follow Andy on his websites/pages/Twitter feed, make sure you ask him how he got his nickname, Little Axe.
For more information about what you can see and do while visiting Newcastle, where to lay your head at night and where you should dine please visit the tourism website for the city at http://www.newcastlegateshead.com/.