Day 20 8th May 2013 Edinburgh to Lothianbridge
Reasonable run out of Edinburgh except for having to carry bikes up to the Innocent Railway,
otherwise, good cycle-ways. I was v.coldy. Some confusion on cycle-signed link NCN1 to local route 196. We are camping! Underneath the arches at Lothianbridge Caravan Park, nice little site (£5) but very noisy next to A road. Gastro pub – The Sun Inn, opposite so we’ll eat in camp tonight – beer good tho’ – Gerry gone shopping … then cooked rice and “french” spam. All things considered – not a bad night’s sleep, great dawn chorus.
Log: 689,76kms Trip: 27,46kms Time: 2:31:01 Ave.speed: 10,90kph
Day 21 9th May 2013 Lothianbridge to Innerleithen
2 hours to break camp…then off!! I’m still feeling very coldy – whinge, whinge. Headwinds – very long hill up to 404 mtrs. which we did both climb over the Moorfoot Hills, even the downhill was pedalling into the wind and rain – not very nice. Loads of “road-kill” – must be a fast driving road (B7007). Kept seeing cycling couple who had been to Innerleithen, had lunch and
come back by the time we were on a relatively windfree downhill with 10k to go! (They were very lightweight) But their cafe recommendation was valid – soups and sandwiches at the Whistle Stop, then booked into the Ronan Hotel (£70). Bikes put in the beer store. Apologies for a bath and not a shower??? Will we make England tomorrow? Now on the Tweed. Supper at Fikos restaurant “next door”.
Log: 727,45 Trip: 37,68 Time: 3:27:27 Av.speed: 10,89kph
Day 22 10th May Innerleithen to Kelso
Accents! – “”Bikers?” “Not here” “No, bakers?” – “Bikes – no” “Bakers for bread”…
Great run on NCN1 along the Tweed – 30 odd kms to Galashiels and Melrose – lunch by the river watching the fly fisherman. Brief stop in Newton St.Boswells after steep hill (gated wood) for drinks then on towards Kelso. I was starting to flag a bit and then ran up the back of Gerry’s bike and broke the flagpole when joining the A6069. B&B full because of Country and Western weekend but sent on to Christine at Copper Beech, Springwood Bank. Very comfortable and overlooks Floors Castle (Roxburgh’s home), the Park, the river and the town. Supper at the Waggonwheel – beer,Twisted Wheel. Christine gave us a lift into town – v. kind and hospitable (£60). Gerry’s first black pudding.
Log: 782,52kms Trip: 55,07kms Time: 4:03:54 Av.speed 13,4kph
Day 23 11th May Kelso to Wooler
Left Kelso in drizzle – took direct route to join NCN1 at racecourse (didn’t know there was a golf course in the middle of it). Zig-zag course – I was given the lead and Gerry reckons this is quicker and better – don’t know if I can do it again in hilly or much windier conditions? Made the border at 1200 (815kms from JOG) The change in accent was so noticeable in Norham – beers and a ham
pie, from baker’s across the road, at Mason’s Arms (Pub is for sale) – somewhat gruff barman and cricket on TV – must be England. Decided to try for Wooler. Now on NCN68. Hairy riverside path to Etal (twee) with a weir. Getting windier. Ice-cream stall and plastic cow at Doddington Farm. Also bought cheese. Bike race/ride going on. Another riverside track then the 2 sides of a triangular route up and down to Wooler instead of the 2kms straight-line route. Bike ride finishing – marshalls directed us to YHA (£30 for room) Started life as digs for Land Army girls rooms named after specific “girls” – ours was Audrey, the Ratcatcher. Interesting little town with loads of pubs – ended up at Black Bull, good beer and “home cooked” food, especially Gerry’s cherry pie. Tomorrow “The Cheviots”? Funniest incident with the Gerry’s sleeping “bag” unfurling in the night.
Log: 846,01 kms Trip: 63,49kms Time: 4:38:02 Av.speed 13,69
Day 24 12th May Wooler to Clennell Hall, Alwinton
Very hard day – started when I freaked at riding through ford. Weather got chillier and windier, NCN68 took to the fields in places – “Is that a bridge?” as Gerry took off shoes and socks to cross another stream. Duke of Edinburgh Award territory, struggling up wet, rocky tracks. Lady on horseback admitted having helped to get cycle tracks approved by combining bridleways. I was getting desperate – on point of cutting and running then met yesterdays cycle race marshal who even offered a lift but then confirmed there was a campsite at Clennell Hall which we found, but no-one there. Was really a bit run-down mobile-home park. Manager, we think, turned up and said Clennell Hall is an Hotel – in luck, £70/night and rustled up a great lasagne – very friendly, nice room, historic house with Peel crypt. Were told the chap who lit the fire in the bar owns most of the area. Chef/Gordon Barman/Dave Owners/Rocky and Roz (ex-police)
Let’s see what the weather brings tomorrow!
Log: 881,93kms Trip: 35,91kms Time: 4:07:45
Day 25 13th May Alwinton to Bellingham
Sunshine, cold wind, very bluster and heavy showers on and off over Otterbourne Ranges. Made Elsdon for lunch – great stop at The Impromptu Cafe(Cyclists’ cafe) run by Alan and Marion for 35 years.
Bird in the Bush pub closed on Mondays. Marion says “most unreliable” for B&B as well. Plodded (I was often on foot, but feeling better today) on to West Woodham chat with man on bike when stopped for 30k mars bar and on to Demesne Farm Bunkhouse Hostel in Bellingham (pronounced “Bellinjam”) Newly fitted out accommodation – “good old” farmer and son (£17 pppn) Got the sleeping bags again!!! No WiFi. Town has bike shop – I need a new mirror after bike fell over at Clennell Hall, where Gordon had made us fresh orange juice for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch – every time we prepare for lunch we find a great cafe like the Impromptu. Cooked own supper , WiFi at pub.
Log: 920,06kms Trip: 38,12kms Time:3:43:04 Av.speed 10,25kph
Day 26 14th May Bellingham to Twice Brewed
Steep climbs out of Bellingham; mizzly and very windy again. Chat with ex-forestry commission man as we start to enter Kielder and Wark Forest roads. I am doing some more walking. Road pretty good for 3 miles then very puddly – one deep enough for a bridge through which we just fitted – rain stayed away (mostly) – kept the “marigolds” on. Cows and calves and always sheep – picnic at Grinden Green in the forest (thankful for Gordon’s sandwiches even though 2 days old)
About 10kms more to Hadrian’s Wall – loads of ups and downs – Gerry on the bike – me, sometimes on the feet! Definitely “Travels with a Bike” and “Travels on a Bike”! Took a few shots of the wall and coasted down to the Twice Brewed for the night. Wonderful panoramic view from the room along the wall with sheep and cows (only possible problem could be being right on the B6318 Military Road) Forecast for tomorrow not at all good.
Made a decision to offload at Newark – Carole OK’d it.
Log: 952,04kms Trip: 31,97kms Time: 3:35:09 Av.speed: 8,91kph
Day 27 15th May Twice-Brewed to Corbridge
Hard start to-day – I struggled in wind and hill away from Twice Brewed. So wet and windy rain being blown back up hill at one point. Hired car after this wet and windy ride to Corbridge – very helpful and great Panini with fresh pineapple at the Wheatsheaf Hotel. Also good coffee stop in Newburgh at the Red Lion. Car from Tyneside Car Hire and arrived Newark at 7ish. Thanks to Carole & Keith for supper and bed and facilities to pack and unpack and store the massive heap of not-needed luggage inc. J’s top bag – all left in their garage. It’s sunnier in the South.
Log: 984,99kms Trip: 32,95kms Time: 2:39:44 Av.speed 12,37kph
Day 28 16th May Corbridge to Wylam
Car back by 1145. Good ride out to Wylam along the Tyne (NCN72) Good shop and cafe for “lunchtea” at Wylam – found B&B above Bistro – En Glaze Cafe. Bikes in garden under motorcycle cover. Warm Showers in village but were unable to help. Will eat here and leave early for breakfast at the cafe. May regret that decision as the dinner was delicious!! Another business for sale as owners (motorbikers) want to go travelling.
Log: 1004,07 Trip: 19,07kms Time: 1:12:04 Av.speed: 15,87kph
Day 29 17th May Wylam to Durham
Breakfast at Dave’s cafe (lunch bought and breakfast for cost of breakfast at B&B) and a souvenir present of a postcard. Good run on NCN141 out of Wylam past golf course, under bridges along the Tyne, then south beside the Derwent on the NCN14. Brilliant Derwent Park path all the way to
Consett – bits of rough track then a very “French” railway track to Lanchester – excellent cup of tea (and cake for Gerry) only £2.40 at Chippy and sandwich shop. Thermos from ASDA was rubbish (no stopper) so bought another in Lanchester. Rejoined railway line NCN14 and ran all the way through to Durham all downhill – stop for the Shetland pony, foal and Dexter calves – but then all change – no accommodation except very pricey Premier Inn – any relief on the river path short-lived as landslip had closed path at 2842 grid square. Only choice to push and climb up woodland path.
Too hard for me – hero Gerry had really to do the lot (I did push a bit), finally found our way back to route and optimistically stopped at Gilesgate Moor Inn which said B&B but nothing left but sent us to another Premier Inn at the Moor End district of Durham. By now rain had started. Very helpful receptionist, £60 for room , not £82 as in the City, bikes allowed in the room and let in via fire exit. Forecast awful for tomorrow.
Log: 1064,54kms Trip: 60,47kms Time: 4:59:10 Av.speed: 12,12kph
Day 30 18th May Durham
Rain – total rainfall for May fell in Durham last night – forced day off from travelling. Cleared late afternoon. Bus into Durham – visited Cathedral, interesting and awe-inspiring. River running very fast – lots of debris and apparently more bankslips. Had good bread and cheese, strawberries and cream and cake in our room. Lunch in restaurant (£4.99 deals). So many confusing deals in the COSTA outlet restaurant.. Eurovision Song Contest – Denmark won. Aiming to get through Middlesbrough tomorrow – forecast good.