Posted by: brendaintheboro | September 1, 2015

August Bank Holiday mini-tour

Friday, 28th August 2015

Well, the weather forecast for the weekend wasn’t too bad , so DH and I set off and cycled our usual route to the camping and Caravanning club site at Boroughbridge. It was lovely and sunny and was so nice to see the fields being harvested. Make hay while the sun shines , is so appropriate this August, as apparently it is the wettest on record. As per usual, we were also into a headwind but I still made good time ( for me) and I found that pulling my Radical Designs trailer with my Koga  Randonneur , was as good as with the Dahon Speed TR.

DS1  took a train to Northallerton and joined us later  in the day.  The site managers remembered us from previous visits and  gave us a nice pitch near the riverside.  DS1 arriving later was about 30feet away.IMG_1790 IMG_1785

He camped in his tarp and added the front piece from the  first tent I ever sewed back about 25 years ago. He took off the piece and uses it to add space  to sit under while he cooks. DH started to feel chilly so he thought he would warm up under the quilt. Guess what? He was asleep in seconds.



He hadn’t even taken off his spectacles and was snoring away so I had to snap this of him. You can see the mesh inner tent and the home made quilt too.

Saturday, 29th August 2015

The wind blew all night so the tents were bone dry in the morning , so we had a lovely easy dry pack up and set off along quiet country lanes through Aldborough with its small Roman remains museum, to Lower Dunsford and Great Ouseburn before crossing the toll bridge at Aldwark. DH stopped and the tollman said there was no charge, but we knew that having used the bridge quite a few times this year. We called at friends in Linton and were surprised they weren’t away canoeing but it was lovely to see them. Then it was on to Newton on Ouse and through the grounds of Benningborough Hall.IMG_1792

It was quiet but no doubt would   be much busier later in the day. There were a lot of black cattle in the fields. Then we had to follow a diversion and ended up having to cycle a couple of miles on the A19,which on a Saturday of a holiday weekend , was not nice.  I was glad when we got into Shipton and were able to get back onto the cycle route.


Then it was on through York and down the track to Riccall. DH finally got his birthday treat, a chocolate covered ice cream lolly!! but a look alike of a famous brand at a third of the price at 60p.

We had a lovely welcome from Peggy and Rod at South Newlands Farm and enjoyed sitting in the sunshine well into the evening. There was a beautiful sunset.


Sunday, 30th August 2015

The day dawned fine and sunny but the tents were wet with condensation as there was no wind. We packed up and left out bags at the farm while we cycled into Selby and enjoyed a church service there before heading back up the track and picking up our gear.

Then it was back up through York, but we were headed for Sherriff Hutton which is North east of the city and not on a cycle route, so cycling in the traffic was a bit fraught for a while. However, we made it out of the city in one piece and then the sky clouded over and we felt the odd drop of rain. Luckily, it held off and we pitched the tents and the run reappeared.  I spotted a coral coloured bell tent and went over to talk to the owners and have a look.


Isn’t that just lovely? Much too heavy for cycle camping but I have a hankering to try making one. Yes , I could always buy one, but where is the fun in that.

During the evening, we saw a paraglider with a small motor and a couple of hot air balloons.


Monday, 31st August 2015

About 1 am , we heard a pitter patter on the tent and very soon it became a splish splash and continued steadily for the rest of the night. Oh well, 3 out of 4 days isn’t so bad, so it didn’t matter too much  that it was a wet pack.

We set off about 8am and headed over to Easingwold, via Stillington and had a brief stop. We could have taken a slightly shorter but hillier route, but I vetoed that. So from Easingwold it was off through Raskelf, Brafferton, Cundall and Asenby. DS1 said he was enduring the ride , not enjoying it and he said he would be hopping a train in Northallerton, if the rain didn’t stop. On along through Topcliffe , and although it looked brighter in the west, the wind was freshening from the north and it continued to rain. DH asked if I wanted to get a train. NO WAY! I had started so I would finish the ride. I am a WOMAN not a wimp hehe!

So DH and I continued on , instructing DS1 to put the kettle on for hot chocolate and cake when we got home. We got home about 3pm having completed 164 miles.






Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 22, 2015

New Quilt and Bramble Picking.

I have continued to declutter my sewing room this week and was able to get a quilt finished that I started some months ago. Its the time of year to collect brambles aka blackberries, and as we knew they are ready , we rode over to a good spot and collected 3 tubs before coming back through Stockton.

I don’t think I have seen so many swans on the river.IMG_1778

They certainly are not disturbed by passing boats, powered or human paddled.

IMG_1778 IMG_1777

now here are some photos of the quilt which I used to practice some new free machining quilting techniques.

IMG_1783 IMG_1784 IMG_1782 IMG_1780

Hope you like the colours. I do.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 17, 2015

Wagon Train

Well, I have been digging out my sewing room and had 4 black sacks full of stuff I have hung onto for years and years. This is not useful stuff – that I have been passing on to friends and charity shops – so we decided to go to the municipal tip over near Haverton Hill. DS1 was given a dog trailer that he has converted to carry stuff eg. his camping gear but it meant that using both trailers we could take all 5 bags -he had one of his own.

Here we are along the cycle track on the way there.  With our morning ride and this one we cycled 21 miles today.CAM00226

wagon trailers roll to the tip

wagon trailers roll to the tip


Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 16, 2015

Saturday Sortie

This past week we had reasonable weather apart from Friday when we suffered from very heavy rain and wind. We weren’t too sure about how the tracks would be because of this and so chose to have a shorter ride.

So we headed off through Teesside industrial areas along the river. We met a young couple who were walking the Dales Way and  were finishing in Redcar later. I ,mentioned about yesterday’s rain and they said it was just as well, as the walking was through head height nettles and needed their waterproofs on for protection anyway.

Newport bridge is still being painted after the repair work and we crossed it and headed along to Saltholme bird reserve. The flowers blooming alongside the well drained path, were a profusion of colour so I share them with you.

flowering plants

flowering plants

IMG_1755 IMG_1757 IMG_1759 IMG_1768 IMG_1767

We stopped for an ice lolly and chatted to the serious bird watchers complete with huge camouflage scopes before heading back towards Stockton.


outside the visitors centre

outside the visitors centre

We called at a camping/outdoors store to buy a new ground sheet and headed for home. We hope to get a few days away at the end of the month and need this im preparation.

only 18 miles today

Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 8, 2015

Sunny Saturday

8th August 2015

We really didn’t have any idea where to ride today but knew that we had to make the most of the sunny weather. Here in the north of England, we haven’t had a particularly good summer with a lot of wind , rain or cloudy skies most days.

So at about 8.30am we left home and headed over to the river, neither of us willing to be the leader for the ride. So it was along the river into Stockton and then following NCN14 we cycled along through Elton and  Long Newton and then along the main road to continue to the Whinnys conservation area. Once through here, we rode down to Middleton St George and I stopped to talk to an old colleague I haven’t seen in about 15 years. It was so nice to see him and have a brief catch up. The road then took us through Neasham,  Hurworth and into Croft. Again, a brief discussion and we continued on the Richmond Road for a short way before climbing up towards Cleasby. However, we turned and rode down the course of the old roman road and into Piercebridge.IMG_1734 IMG_1735 IMG_1736

We stopped in the ruins and had lunch sitting in the sun on a bench. It was so nice.

There is a lot of history in this area, and the old roman road is part of the ancient Dere street which was a supply line for Hadrian’s wall. We also called and had an ice cream in a local organic café  before crossing the A67 and climbing up though Denton and Houghton le Side.


These were places we had never heard of , although we have cycled through this area many times. However, in this little village we found we either had to turn further north towards Shildon, or head back towards Darlington. It was no contest for me, as I wasn’t chasing miles , unlike DH who would have gone further. So we enjoyed a nice descent , reward for the climb but there were good views from here.

IMG_1738 IMG_1740

We passed a road known only as Back Lane and on to Burtree Road , crossing the A1M on a bridge and then came to some cycle signs and followed these around Darlington until we came to North Road which DH recognised. I didn’t at first but soon realised where I was. So we followed our usual route back until we crossed the A66 and then followed the cycle track on the main road up towards Great Burdon and then under the road which was being cleaned out of accumulated rubbish that some builder   must have dumped.

Once in Sadberge, we followed the Norton road and came into Stockton cycling along the river . We could hear the steady beat of a drum and saw the Dragon boats racing up the river.


Todays tally was  53.5 miles.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 2, 2015

A Bike and Bus Pass Micro-tour Part 3

I fully intended to cycle to Sunderland and hop a bus home but DS1 called and said he would come up by train early and meet up to ride home. So home it was going to be.

I set off after an early breakfast and cycled down through Tyne Dock and into South Shields where I met a Sustrans ranger who was out for his Saturday ride. Once I was at the Town Hall we parted ways and I continued up Beach Road in a reminiscent mood and then along the coast. There was now a brisk SW wind blowing. Why does it nearly always turn around?

DS1 phoned to ask where I was – near Marsden so he cycled along to meet me near Whitburn and we headed along into Sunderland.



These gates have a cycling theme so DS1 thought it appropriate to take my photo here. He had also brought a Yorkshire day flag to put up as well and I was so pleased it fitted in. You can also see the rain cover on the trailer here too. I noticed drivers were usually better at overtaking with this in place.

Fortunately, I know the city and the route but for those not familiar , it can be an easy place to get lost. The signage isn’t too good. However, we were soon through Silksworth and along to Ryhope. There has been a lot of new house building here and I nearly didn’t recognise the place. All the old terraced houses have been demolished apart from a few near the start of the old rail trail. It’s a tight squeeze through the barrier at the bottom but doable. Then came the slog of a climb into the wind and we stopped at Murton for a bite to eat before carrying on again.

We came off the NCN1 track at Haslam as its not nice, muddy and dirty, and then rode down to Shotton calling in to the community centre and refilling our waterbottles.  Back on the track, the trailer coped well with the ruts and manhole covers that I was worried about crossing and we were into Station town and on to the Castle Eden trail . I did have to walk one of the small hills due to the barriers.


We stopped and ate once again and then rode through Billingham to home completing a journey of 151miles in 3 days. I gave myself a pat on the back mentally and then we all went out for dinner.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 2, 2015

A Bike and Bus Pass Micro-tour Part 2

Friday, 31st July 2015

Having spent a comfortable night under my homemade tarp tent, I was awake in time to see the sunrise, briefly before the clouds scudded across the sky. I didn’t have any firm plans in mind but knew I wanted to cycle all day and get as far south as possible, so I got packed and on the road before 7.00am.

I had decided to use the B1340 which climbs gently up to Swinhoe before it turns at a right angle and then undulates across to Embleton. From there I again used the B road to Longhoughton instead of the NCN1 route but by this time, it was getting busy with traffic so I turned down to Boulmer. I started to feel a few raindrops so stopped to change from my sandals to shoes but as it was the rain stayed away all day.  I then retraced my route of yesterday and again stopped in Amble only to find the little bakery with this sign up.


For those who need a translation, the last line says ” I am very tired and so have decided to return  to my home.” hehe!

Instead I found a little creperie  – a place making pancakes and bought a nutella and banana one to have with hot chocolate from another small business. It was interesting talking to the man working there as he has retired from a similar business in Cambridge and moved up here to be near his wife’s elderly mother. He doesn’t like being retired so his helping out part time.

From Amble I rode along and picked up NCN1 at Hauxley and met a chap who warned me that the top surface has been scraped off ready for resurfacing. I was a little concerned but needn’t have been as the trailer behaved brilliantly, although a did walk in a couple of places. Druridge bay is beautiful in any weather, and just as well because the cloud cover was quite low at this point in the day.


I am pleased to report that the little ice-cream shop in Cresswell is still open and so I had to stop and support the business, didn’t I ?  She makes her own ice-cream. An elderly customer warned me about using the spine road (A189) but it is well supplied with off road cycleway and was happy to cycle through Lynemouth, Woodhorn , Sleekburn and on to Bedlington Station. By this time I was ready for a sandwich but the little shop has changed hands and is starting the sandwich bar in a few weeks time. Never mind, I was off to Blyth, where I did find a nice shop and got a sandwich and a cake for less than £3.

The new route goes along the river and passed the docks and is well surfaced so was no problem. I was amazed by the number of people who wanted to talk about my “rig” and said they wouldn’t have thought about trying it on a bus. Also I decided to phone my brother and ask if they would put me up for the night. No problem, I just had to get there.

So off again, along the lovely off road path through the dunes to Seaton Sluice. My old map shows the route from here along on off road path and so as I saw other cyclists were using it followed suit. Big NO NO.  A very irate dog walking lady, told me in no uncertain terms that this was not the route and she is SICK OF CYCLISTS!!!  I was very polite back though and told her I will report the problem to Sustrans. There is a no cycling sign but it does need another NCN1 sign at that point. St Mary’s light house is just off the coast and I understand can now be hired for weddings.


Along the prom through Whitley Bay and Tynemouth, I was accosted  ( stopped to talk to) youngsters recruiting for the Royal Lifesaving society. Fifty years ago I was one of those volunteer lifeguards.  But like many others they want money for the charity which is now paying for, what I did for the love of it.  There were plenty of surfers out but it was sad to see the old outdoor swimming pool, a total wreck.


It made my heart sing as I saw the Groyne at the entrance to the river Tyne and the upper and lower lights that were used by ships to sight in and avoid shipwrecks on the Black Middens. I crossed the river on the Shields ferry from north to south and then rode along to Jarrow to enjoy a lovely evening with my brother and his wife.


I was so impressed with the bike /trailer combo having cycled 100 miles in the 2 days.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | August 2, 2015

A Bike and a Bus pass micro-tour. Part 1

Thursday, 30th July 2015
I set off from home just before 6.00am and DS1 rode with me to the bus station as I wasn’t too sure I would be allowed on the bus with 2 large bags. It was cool but not showery and the X10 bus pulled in on time and I asked the driver if she would let me on with the 2 big bags -affirmative. So at 30p and my OAP bus pass I travelled from Teesside to Newcastle upon Tyne.



It rained on the way up but fortunately had stopped by the time we pulled in to Eldon square , where I unfolded the packages and then walked across to the Haymarket – a couple of hundred yards. At 8.00am M&S had opened and this is the only place with toilets – the metro and the bus station don’t have any, and I had to go. I locked up and asked a girl to keep an eye on my stuff and she did, waiting until I returned before leaving with her friend.
The Northumberland buses don’t only charge 30p before 9.30 am , so I had to cough up £5 .10 but the driver only charged me to Morpeth and then gave me a free ticket from there so he was very good.
A Dutch lady was going up to Alnwick castle and so we were able to pass the time chatting about various things. She is a keen walker and had come over to walk Hadrian’s wall but the weather has been too rainy and cold so she was going out to see other places. We were able to discuss some nice places to try.
I got off in Amble, unfolded my bike and got the trailer hitched, and rode down to the harbour and found NCN1.

The section of route from Warkworth to Alnmouth has a nice track but I only discovered it when I saw a chap cycling on the opposite side and soon found an access to it. There was a Dutch family with 2 sons who were on the route too. The mother was riding a Haze Pino with the younger boy on the front. We kept leap frogging each other.  I had forgotten there were some hills but managed most of them but did stop as these poppies were so lovely to see.


I avoided the off road coastal route because of pulling the trailer but did go down to Boulmer where I stopped for lunch having bought a sandwich and a couple of cakes in Amble before setting off. It was quite cool but lovely sitting on a bench near the sea. It smells lovely – salty and fresh. I had forgotten too how much I love it up here.

From Boulmer I turned and followed the road route up to Longhoughton and then towards Craster but I didn’t go into the village but turned and climbed to Dunstan. I passed the camping and caravanning club site there and was tempted to stop as there was a fresh northerly wind blowing. However, I pressed on to Embleton. I discovered I had lost the top of my flag !! Drat. A little while later 3 lads passed me and they were riding the coast and castles route and had found my map that I didn’t know I had lost !! thank you lads.
I turned up to Christon bank and through Preston only to be stopped at the level crossing at Chathill when an intercity train hurtled through. Still from there it was nearly all downhill through North Sunderland and in to bustling Seahouses. The lads were at a café and waved but I went off for an ice-cream cornet before riding the road to Beadnall.
The site has changed a lot since I was last here but I got pitched and showered and then rode to Beadnall harbour to see the old limekilns that are still used as storage space by the fisher men. I also bought a club pennant for my remaining flag pole which we managed to get on
IMG_1709 IMG_1708 IMG_1706 IMG_1695

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 25, 2015

Billie Fleming tribute ride

I had never heard of Billie Fleming until a few weeks ago. In 1938 , she rode 29,603 miles in one year averaging 81 miles a day but in the summer she rode up to 196miles in a day!! She apparently never carried water and would call in to cafes to eat. She did it to encourage women to cycle for fitness and health.  Sadly she died in 2014 at the age of 100. Her record has never been beaten and so a series of tribute rides have been organised to honour her achievement and memory.

Y, organised the ride for today and there were 11 of us women who turned out for the ride. I set off early and arrived at the meeting point a supermarket on the outskirts of Yarm accompanied by DH and DS1 who left before we set off. One of the local papers sent a  photographer along so there was a photo call (ooh!) before we set off.

The route had been planned by Y, so we set off through the estate and crossed over near Kirklevington  young offenders prison and then cycled along to Weary bank. To be honest I wasn’t looking forward to it, as last time I was there the surface was dreadful and I ended up walking it. Today, ta da, the surface had been repaired and  I was able to ride all the way up.  I think most of the others did too. I was on my heavy ( compared to the lightweight road bikes)  Koga,  so for me , it was even more of an accomplishment.

From the road junction , we turned left and headed along through Seamer, down into Tanton and then into Great Ayton. We split up in different groups for a café stop – well you have to as that is what Billie did.  I had a hot chocolate and scone at Fletchers  just outside the village. Then at noon , we cycled along to Easby and turned right up  to Battersby and on towards Ingleby Greenhow where we descended into Kirkby and along to Potto and Faceby  before crossing the A19 to go to Roots Café for lunch. Well , you have to don’t you.TABLET - WIN_20150725_134940

After a lovely lunch, we set off again through East Rounton  and on towards Appleton Wiske turning towards Worsall on the outskirts of the village. I was on familiar ground now  and it was soon down to the junction with Forest Lane.  When we got to Kirklevington village  , most chose to ride down the main road but three of us with sturdy touring bikes took a bridle way across to the Weary Bank lane, emerging at the junction with Red Hall Lane.TABLET - WIN_20150725_151211 TABLET - WIN_20150725_151238

We were soon back into Yarm and it was time to head off in our separate directions. The weather had been kind to us apart from a bit of a northerly wind but just as I was leaving  Yarm the rain started. I headed off through Preston Park and took a couple of photos of the rain passing over.TABLET - WIN_20150725_155244 TABLET - WIN_20150725_155240

By the time I got home, it as dry but I was pleased to have my waterproofs with me. Completed 55.7 miles – not as much as Billie but I am well the wrong side of 60.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 11, 2015

Paying it Forward

This morning we were up early to take DS2 to catch a coach for a weekend trip  and so weren’t too sure what we were going to do today.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and , as I had a pain in my calf for a few days we decided not to have a long ride. However , it did feel so much better, so we decided we would ride over to Thornaby and Stockton and then decide how I was doing.

We had only got to the end of Cambridge Road , when I spotted a couple of obvious cycle tourists.  Well being an inquisitive, nay nosey girl, I had to stop and chat. They had been staying in a nearby hotel and wanted to get on  a road to Whitby.  They come from Belgium and  are cycling from Inverness to London.  Yesterday had been a bit of a trial for them, as they got lost trying and failing to get through Sunderland following NCN1.  It can be a bit complicated in Ryhope and they found themselves in Seaham with no more signage. They were thinking of riding the A171  but on a sunny Saturday morning, that road can be filled with fast moving traffic and as they had a map we were able to show them NCN52 , a much quieter and scenic route.

However, we weren’t going to just leave them to find the way , so, as others have done for us , we rode with them taking them on cycle routes up to Nunthorpe and putting them on to the route to Great Ayton. IMG_1678

Good Luck Isla and Pete.

We then decided to go along Tunstall lane and then on to the village of Newby.IMG_1682

We then  went down through Thornton and Stainton before heading in to Thornaby and buying chicken and leek sausage from a lovely butchers  and then along to Stockton market  for our locally produced eggs.

Unkown to us, Stockton was having a  cycling festival and we saw a couple of friends  who had taken part in a Sportive.

When we got home , we found we had cycled more than 25 miles , so for a short ride we had a lovely morning and my leg feels alright.


Older Posts »



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 156 other followers