Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 29, 2014

Enjoying a half day

The weather has been lovely and we had an early morning ride of 13 miles along the river. I worked this morning but got an early finish so as it was so nice, we decided to have a cycle picnic and a ride to my favourite fabric shop in Darlington.
I had baked carrot cake, made tuna sandwiches and we look water with lots of ice in a flask to make squash. We had  headed over to Middleton One Row and were hoping to sit near the river but the council workmen were cutting the grass on the bank. They were using a large mower that was  driven  like a remote controlled model car. I think  the workmen was enjoying it.
So we continued on along route14 and came to a small clearing and set up our table and chairs.

image

We didn’t realise that just over the gate , there’s a new forest planted in 2005. You just don’t know what’s on your own doorstep.
It was very warm but clouded over as we got underway again. We were soon outside the market place where DH waited, looking after the bikes. I, meanwhile was inside  choosing some fabric..
We rode the most direct route home, through the Whinneys nature reserve and had a brief stop in the village of Elton to top up on more fluids. Then along the river, we met a chap with a puncture and stopped to help him , as he was having a problem with his inner tube seemingly not fitting. DH helped and I supplied hand cleaner and a J cloth for him to clean his hands with.
When crossing Newport bridge, we heard the buzz of motorbikes down below us.

image

I missed the other one. Shame nothing seems to deter them. The afternoon ride was 35 miles so that’s a combined total  of 48 miles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 26, 2014

Sustrans, Shotton and Scorching Sunshine

You may recall that earlier in the year I complained about NCN1 between Shotton Colliery and Haswell was in a dreadful state due to people fly tipping and generally just dropping litter. Well, if your not prepared to change anything, don’t complain.
Well, Shotton doesn’t have a Sustrans ranger, so it was up to us, in other areas to go and do something to change it.
All week , we had been watching the weather forecast. Would we cycle, go on the train or take the car? If it was raining, we intended to go in the car but as the week went by, it was looking better and better for cycling up. So we were up and on the road just after 7.00am in brilliant early sunshine. A mile from home, near the river, there was  thick  mist.

image

Luckily, after getting through the river area, the most quickly lifted and we were again in the sun which was increasing in intensity by the minute. We continued up through the Castle Eden walkway and arrived in Shotton and found the community centre by 9.30am. This was out meeting place as Sarah  volunteer co-ordinator, had arranged to have volunteers from the community to join us.

image

We weren’t a huge group, but we were determined to make a difference and we set too with a will. Vince who cycled down from Sunderland and DH went up towards the duckboards and picked up dozens of beer bottles. I worked alongside one of the community officers bagging everything from damp proof membrane through curtains to toys and cans. Its incredible just how much  is wasted in undrunk beverages  which need to be emptied from the cans before bagging.
Yvonne took her trailer and rode up and down the track taking filled bags to the dumping site.

image

In the space of 21/2 hours , we bagged 40 large rubbish sacks and various things like toys, buckets and builders waste.

image

image

DH even found a couple of perfume bottles.

image

You always say I never get you anything

We were treated to  sausage butties and cool drinks  by the  parish council before starting for home. We decided to follow NCN14 down to Hartlepool, along the prom and then across the fields to home. As we were passing the cafe near Seaton Carew, we met up with Jim who leads the Spokes rides and his peleton.. We rode with them for a short while but they were taking a slightly longer route, so we headed more directly to Greatham, across the fields to Cowpen Bewley and then through Haverton Hill and home. So that was 46 miles and a great sense of satisfaction from the litter picking we’ve done.

Coincidentally, yesterday , one of my internet buddies wrote this poem. Vivinfrance.WordPress.com is her blog.

litter Bugs beware
If you go down to the woods today
Be sure to pick up your litter
And its fair to say
If you pick up some more
The woods will look much better.
Birds and beasts appreciate
No plastic rubbish, depricate
Beer cans, the rings from which can kill.
So take a sack
And bend your back
Get down to it with a will.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 13, 2014

Home from Festivol

We awoke to the sound of rain hammering down from a leaden sky. Oh joy, a ride home in the rain!

image

Just look at the rain laden clouds floating over the valley. This was at about 6.00am and by 8.20am , I donned my waterproofs to walk over to the dining room for breakfast and  like magic, the rain cleared and a weak sun came out.
We had breakfast early as we wanted to get to church in Stanley, County Durham. One of the other volunteers joined us and as he has knowledge of the area , warned us to avoid going through Consett. He called it the Burmuda triangle for cyclists as the signage paid for by a well known supermarket, but put up by workmen with no knowledge of the area, is a nightmare.
So, we  retraced our way , just as we did on our outward journey yesterday. That meant climbing a steep hill, first off in the morning but I did it. Here’s a view across the valley.

image

The roofs of the youth village can be seen on the right of the photo. We got to route 7 and began following it towards Stanley and there was some interesting artworks along the way but I didn’t have time to take photos of them. We were trying to get to church for 10.00am but it was about 4 miles longer than we expected.
However, we arrived a bit late but enjoyed the talk we heard.
So after the sacrament meeting, we got back onto the saddle and went back to route 7. It started to rain again as we left  and so it was waterproofs on. Its a lovely track down into Chester Le Street, well surfaced and downhill for us.

image

We saw this unusual use of an old bridge pillar. Can you see the face?

Then joining route 725 , it was on through the town and on a minor road and along through Great Lumley and across a bridge over the A1M.
The road was not quite so hilly as up near Consett, but still had some stiffish climbs along to Pittington .
It had stopped raining so we stopped and set up our Helinox chairs as the wooden benches were too wet. So we ate lunch and then set off again , up through Haswell Plough and on to the road to Shotton Colliery where we picked  up route 1.
Soon, we met an Australian  couple cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats  by a circuitous route. We advised them on avoiding the bad part of the track and explained we will be helping to clean the track in a couple of weeks.
We were now on what we regard as home turf and it was down through Hurworth Burn ( it started raining again) down the Thorpe Thewles track and on to the last big climb. DH gave me a helping hand as a car was behind us on this single track road and he didn’t want me to have to stop. He knew I wouldn’t be able to restart riding up the hill.
So we arrived home just before 5.00pm to be greeted by a lovely roast chicken dinner made by DS1. It was so welcome after our 50+ miles home.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 13, 2014

Festivol 2014

Perhaps I should define the title – a festival for Sustrans volunteers. After the success of Festivol 2014, held here in the North, it was decided to hold a mini meeting again for northern volunteers. We couldn’t make last years and so decided to do this, which was held at the Youth Village just outside Consett.
So early Saturday morning saw us boarding the train in Middlesbrough bound for Newcastle. As there were 3 of us with bicycles to get on, I was a bit apprehensive because the grumpy conductor was getting on. We’ve encountered him a number of times previously getting on Northern Line and he’s always the same. Poor soul, I think he must hate his job!
As there were already 2 cycles onboard , it was a bit of a squash but we managed. Although cyclists were getting on and off, we still arrived in Newcastle upon Tyne , with 4 cyclists. Official policy says 2 cycles at a time as there is very restricted space, actually not room to get one cycle in comfortably as the space is too short.
We got there really early, so out came the breakfast stuff and we sat eating in the station. Then as we left, we saw other volunteers complete with cycles awaiting the transfer. There was a bus pulling a trailer for the bikes and another for volunteers, so we set off in blazing sunshine.

image

Once at the village complex run by the Catholic church, we were assigned a room in the Cardinal Hume building deposited our luggage and eventually set off for our chosen route. There were 4 cycle routes ranging from 12 to 28 miles and one walking group doing 13 miles. We chose the route around Derwent side reservoir which was 24 miles. It was very hot reaching 28C and quite humid, so with the steep hills it was sometimes slow going. I wasn’t the only one walking at times. The views were wonderful but unfortunately, I didn’t get too many photos as, the camera was temperamental and stopped working for a while. However I did get one above the reservoir.

image

We had a lunch stop, with provided packed lunch at the visitor centre picnic site before continuing around the waterside. For me, the cycling became a little easier as the road was very undulating which meant that I could get speed up to get up the next rise and DH was kind enough to give me a push on some of the crests. He heard someone say” I can’t keep up with those two” which I laughed at later.
Leaving the reservoir, we continued on crossing the A68 and on towards Shottley Bridge. I was p!eased  as I did manage the steep bank at that point, then we turned right and right again which was on a very minor road and it said 15% at the bottom but then got a lot steeper. Out of 11 of us, only 2 rode up the hill all the way. One was DH and the other a young lady in her 30’s. After that there was a long downhill stretch before heading up into the accommodation.

image

This is a photo of DH and Mark who led our group ride. It was lovely to arrive back to a drink and cakes which were enjoyed along with sitting in the sunshine.

image

The evening meal was lovely with seconds for all who wanted and then it was quiz time. Not a favourite of mine but you can’t have everything. A brilliant day with superb accommodation and food. Thank you Sustrans. 24 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 30, 2014

Wild flowers

Just thought I’d add a couple more  photos after Saturday’s ride. We needed to go up to Saltburn to help replace the vandalised signs. Why do people deliberately destroy them? Its beyond me?

image

The chap in yellow is 82 and still a Sustrans volunteer. Wonderful.

image

Lovely cornflower and Oxeye daisy.

image

We believe these purpley blue flowers are corncockle but we could be wrong.

image

Not a good photo I know but this was a Lancaster bomber and 2 spitfire aircraft circling over Redcar. There was/an airshow further up the coast at Sunderland so they might have been flying  up there. Just a guess. Good to see on our 30 mile ride.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 21, 2014

Midsummer circuit

The day dawned warm and dry and I was determined to go and see the wildflower meadow that we worked on earlier this year. DS1 said he was off to Guisborough as he had been asked to help out at a small Red car and Cleveland family cycle ride.
So we decided that we would head off in that direction, going first to Great Ayton and then past  Roseberry Topping and on to Guisborough. DH and I went that way but DS went off on a track that there is some dispute over.

image

We got to the meeting place on the old railway line e just before10.00am so we were early, as is our wont. A soon arrived walking 2 cycles,one his and one a loan bike. Soon after a family of 5, mum , dad and 3 children aged 6-10 arrived on their bikes. Apart from Mum who was taking out the loaner, but first they children needed   helmets so had to go up to the van but were soon back.
Then we all set off along the old rail path towards Hutton village and then onto the Pinchinthorpe track and under the road and onto a track that goes 2 miles towards Nunthorpe village but stops short because of the disputed railway crossing.. After a brief stop , we turned and returned the same way. The children were delightful and did very well on the 8 miles trip.
We then cycled back into Guisborough, over towards Year by bank but turned off towards Eddington Woods. The views were terrific today , back across to Roseberry and out across bay, now filled with wind turbines.
Whizzing down the bank , we turned through New Marske and then on to Marske. As we passed the Leonard Cheshire home, we saw there was a family fun day and could hear the band playing. I thought our friend Pip would be playing but it was on to see the wild flowers.
After the disappointment of last years crop of dock leaves, it was a joy to see the blooming flowers.
image

image

image

A couple of ladies commented just how lovely it looks but the other part that we cleared and then were stopped from planting by the parish council, looks a mess. Hopefully, they will do something with it.
Then it was back to Marske and our friend was there.
image

We had an ice cream, talked with our friends and could then see clouds bubbling up , so headed off in case we got caught in a thunderstorm. A delightful midsummer round of 42 miles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 19, 2014

Reflections on the Transpennine trail- a personal view Part 2

Leaving Broomhill, we were following the course of the river Dearne and it was raining so the paths very muddy with very large , deep puddles that over time people had cycled around, making for steep slippery sides. Between Me borough and Conisbrough , the Earth centre that was closed has reopened and there was a lot of shall I call it , experimental music blasting forth. Then it was on through Sprotbrough and into Doncaster. The signage into the centre is good and its easy to access the supermarkets there and get back onto the track.
In Bentley, there is a bit on road , over  a railway crossing and there has been a new road bridge built a mile or so heading north. We then entered Owston Wood after opening the gates of another level crossing. This is part of an old road that nature is quickly taking over. The surface is deeply cracked with splits that will swallow a cycle wheel and the levels of the sides can differ by 2 cms. The surface was very slippery and it was trying to cross one of these cracks that I came off. Landing on the  bramble patch was a blessing in disguise, as a hard landing on the road would have resulted in greater injury. As it was, DH had to extract me as painlessly as possible but I was very scratched and bruised. This was reported to another Sustrans ranger when we got to Braithwaite.
By now , we were absolutely caked in mud but the next section was a joy to ride. It is on the towpath of the New Junction canal which runs about 4 miles up to Sykehouse and is well surfaced. Then the route is back onto roads over Topham Bridge over the river Went and then across a couple of field paths and on road again crossing over the M62. Once down in Gowdall, we stopped in the bus shelter for a break and I got the water bottles refilled by a nearby lady in a house. The minor road takes you towards Snaith and over the bridge across the river Aire. We stayed on the footpath here as it was quite busy with cars and lorries.
The minor road takes you through Carlton and then the Bursts until you come to the towpath of the Selby Canal. Again , there is a route choice. We were heading north up into Selby and we stopped to buy supplies for a couple of days. The route then goes on minor roads up to Barlby and up towards Riccall.
There’s a lovely little camp site and B&B run by the Swanns on a loop just off the A19. Its best to have your own sanitary arrangements which we have. Peggy made us very welcome as we’ve stayed there previously.(www.southnewlands.co.uk)
Riccall to York is about 10 miles of well surfaced path but watch out for a few tree roots that are rippling the tarmac in places. Near Naburn, the most heart warming sight awaited us. The Trust Hut.
image

image

No one serves you, its DIY and its all on trust that you pay what you believe its worth. Please don’t abuse it. Such a wonderful thing to do and the lady makes these super biscuity,sconey things that are just the thing a weary cyclist needs.
Carrying on up the track , you come to a small housing estate and then alongside the A64, under a bridge before crossing the racecourse and following the good signage into York.
Am I likely to use the TPT again. On the east side of the Pennines, most likely but I don’t think I will ever cycle the Dunford Bridge to Woodhead pass unless this is radically improved. Even unloaded mountain bikers were walking up this path so what chance for fully loaded cycle campers in their 60’s.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 18, 2014

Reflections on the Transpennine Trail – a personal view. part 1

On our latest cycle tour , part of it took in the Transpennine trail from Stockport to York and it was like the curates egg, good in parts, terrible in others. We have cycled it twice previously from east to west, but this time it was to be east to east.
We cycled part way to Stockport on the Cheshire cycleway, but due to loosing the way we opted for taking a train from Knutsford .  Outside Stockport station, there is no indication which way to go to join the trail. This seems to be a common challenge to cyclists using a train to get to the start of a tour. It would be a great help if there was signage to cycleways outside all station exits.
Even asking local residents didn’t help much as they are oblivious to these trails unless they actually use them. Fortunately, we found one chap who had seen the signs down in the town near the Tes*o supermarket and so after negotiating  a large busy roundabout , we succeeded in accessing the TPT and it was nice at first with a reasonable surface. However, it was short lived with restrictors to squeeze through and very poor surfaces, and even horse steps on one descent through Reddish vale. After Denton, there was further surface deterioration and it became obvious that we would not make our proposed campsite. So asking about ,we heard there was a Premiere Inn  at  Hattersley, so that was where we headed for. Part of the track had been fenced off so it was a long climb up the road, fortunately, quiet in the early evening.
The receptionist was just lovely, getting us a ground floor room and letting us take the loaded cycles in. The food there wasn’t bad either.

Refreshed after after a good night’s sleep, we cycled in rush hour traffic down into Hattersley town, but were soon on quiet roads into Broadbottom and Gamesley on steep ups and downs. At Woolley bridge , there was really thick mud to have to plough through even though someone had put a couple of wooden boards down.

image

Nothing for it but to push along on foot , as it wasn’t rideable.
After Hatfield, the way became better, following the well surfaced Longdendale trail. The views of the reservoirs built to supply the mills that were in the area, were really good.

image

We carried on uphill and to Wood head tunnels and its here the really hard work begins. There’s a very poorly surfaced, steep path , up to the A628 which has become very much busier over the years. Waiting for a gap in the traffic, we ran across the road, to even worse uphill tracks worthy of any mountain.

image

It took both of us , to take each loaded bike up , individually as there were stone ledges across the gravel strewn path. I must admit , we burst out laughing but if I had been on my own , it would have been tears of frustration.
Windle edge is the highest point on the TPT and is reached after crossing the A628 after lifting the loaded bikes over another difficult restrictor. Why in such a remote place.

image

So it was with some relief , we freewheeled down to Dunford Bridge, a small village that has lost its facilities. However, the resurfaced path down to Penistone is a joy to ride. Penistone is well serviced with shops and Julies cafe served us mega portions of chocolate cake and hot chocolate . Very well worth supporting.

image

OK

image

We carried on the well surfaced track into Oxspring, where we were then on a minor road to Silkstone Common , and into the muddy Dove Valley trail down to Do worth Bottom where we headed towards Wentworth Castle to go to Rockley Abbey farm campsite.
Next morning, rather than ride back up the hills, we used roads to get through to Hoyland and Elsecar, avoiding some difficult steps marked on the map. At the heritage centre, go through the factory carpark, everyone does and its obvious that the official track isn’t used. The Elsecar Greenaway isn’t too badly surfaced but as it was raining , it was a bit mucky.
At Broomhill, there is a choice as the various routes connect up, but it was clearly signed.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 16, 2014

Four countries tour – day 22

The last lap. We were off the Boroughbridge site by 8.30am and followed the route we did at Easter, through Norton Le Clay, Cundall, Asenby and Topcliffe before the A167 to Northallerton.
The usual brief stop for 2nd breakfast, all be it late and then off again through their back roads to Thornaby and home. Its amazing to me how many people only think of the A19 as the way to go. You get such finds too. Look at this
image

This colander was lying in the grass verge so I couldn’t pass it by. I think I will use it to grow some herbs in. My frugal friends will agree , I’m sure.
So after 912 miles we are home. The camping stuff is put away, the washer is on but the cycles are still to clean. Am I tired? Yes!!! But have had a great time, met some lovely people. Thanks to all those who helped us on the way, you’ve been great.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 16, 2014

Four countries tour – day 21

Sunday 15th June 2014

We had a lie in this morning , not getting up until just after 7.00am. The morning was dry and fairly warm but overcast. We had a leisurely first breakfast and left the site on the loop just off the A19 and cycled into Ricall after crossing the main road. Its easier than at the other end due to a dropped kerb and pedestrian island in the middle.
Once through the village , we were on the old railway path up to York. There weren’t too many people about so it was a fast ride for the most part. I have to show you something that really brightened my day. A trust cafe.

image

People select what they want and pay what its worth to them!! I talked to the lady who was bringing out some freshly baked biscuity things and she said that the vast majority of people put in more than she would expect. You can also camp on the tiny garden but its minimal facilities. I think in this day and age, this is fantastic and well worth supporting.
Shortly after , we came to Naburn Bridge and someone’s has added a cycle to the top.

image

We were soon around the race course and into York itself where they minister bells were being peeled beautifully. We walked over Lendal bridge and onto the river frontage to continue on the route past Rawcliffe  and on up to Benningborough. The road around the outside of the hall grounds is in a poor state. We stopped in Newton on Ouse and had 2nd breakfast at lunchtime. Our friends at Linton on Ouse weren’t about so it was on to BoroughBridge and the campsite. 33 miles today.
Last day tomorrow. Who all be first in the luxury of a deep hot bath?

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 62 other followers