Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 14, 2019

Summer Adventure 2019

practice pack

Well I am back and will begin the write up of our cycle/train and ferry trip to Norway and back.

June 11th saw us boarding a train from our home town up to Sunderland. We had been checking the weather forecast  all the week before and it wasn’t too good. On the day NE winds were gusting at about 35 mph and we had to travel north.

It was lucky we were the only cyclists on the train, as the Northern trains don’t have a lot of room. For once the train guard was helpful in getting us on and at the end a chap who is a professional body guard with a physique to match helped us off.

The lift was broken and so after a wander about , another attendant showed us another lift and we were off up into the traffic. There us no rain but the wind gusting across the Sunderland bridge was a bit scary.

We avoided some of the NCN 1 track as it takes you over some rough ground and  but further along we got back onto it near Whitburn and along past Souter Lighthouse. Here the wind was really gusting off the sea and I was fearful of being blown onto the road. Later we did follow the cycle route to the Shields Ferry and this has been much improved. Its a slightly longer way but with a good surface.

The ferry ride across the Tyne was uneventful and once across we climbed the hill and along to the DFDS ferry port. Once there we were surprised to get straight on to the ferry but had to walk by , pushing the loaded bikes, dozens of motorcyclists trying to get there stuff off their bikes. Then we lugged our stuff up 5 flights of stairs. I know I am getting older as it wasn’t too easy.

We had a very nice meal on board but unfortunately , it didn’t stay down long. I was violently sea sick – something that hasn’t happened since I was a teenager!! I was OK as long as I laid flat .

Wednesday saw us having breakfast before  disembarking  . The latter part of the trip hadn’t been as rough. We used the Komoot app to navigate away from Ijmuiden, the port for Amsterdam . It was a bit difficult at first but once we got on the track it was fine. Its about 18 miles to Amsterdam central station. We hadn’t had a chance to charge the bike battery but found a really nice café that had a number of charging points that we used while awaiting our first train.

This train took us to Osnabruck and a young couple showed us we could charge the batteries on the train. Very helpful to know. We had about an hour to wait in the station and a Flixtrain arrived on our platform but it was obvious that it wasn’t moving. This upset out connections  so we had to change in Bremen and then Hamburg and we finally arrived in Flensburg on the German /Danish border at 2.00am. I have to say that the train operators were very helpful.


Dilemma – its 2.00am . What to do? We decided just to ride the night. The batteries were fully charged so had no worries there. Dawn broke with a pink tinge and we heard the first birds about 3.00am greeting the light of a new day.  We had stopped near the border so Jozef could adjust my back light. I think border control were a bit suspicious so came across to ask us a few questions

As the light expanded, the countryside was revealed as rolling and green and we stopped at about 5.00am to eat. The picnic table and bench were wet with dew.


Later at 9.00am when the sun was out and warm, we pulled into a church yard. There were no seats but that was no problem was we just got our own out .  We ate again and then dozed in the sunshine. After a while an organ began to play which we enjoyed. The grounds also had a toilet and so we  used the facilities and topped up our water bottles.

We then carried on and found a campsite at Vjela but before arriving there we had to descend the steepest hill in Denmark before climbing up the other side. By now I was tired and as luck would have it, they had a hut for the night. No tent putting up. Here was a comfortable double bed, with a kettle etc. Vjela City Camping is a very nice, if larger site.

Thursday saw us heading north in the direction of Hobro, as a site had been recommended. I wasn’t too sure I could make it that far but was willing to try. The way to Silkeborg was on really good tracks in brilliant hot sunshine. Perhaps a little too hot so when we saw an ice cream place , we were in.

We climbed eastward and the Komoot app would have taken us on a fast not too nice road. Another lady also on an e-bike  stopped to talk and showed us a better way through a forest track. After the first 100 yds , it was a well surfaced tarmac track, free of litter. She and her husband have cycled toured.

Later we found a picnic site but the sun was fading rapidly  and the first drops of rain were felt. Putting on wet weather gear, we carried on. I knew there was about another 20 miles to Hobro and there was nothing for it carry on until what a surprise!!


We were welcomed by a lovely couple who use there garden to help cycle campers. They ley us use their toilet and also charged our batteries and only wanted 30DKr as they try to help people. What a fabulous couple , they also were involved in Viking re-enactments and the husband is a blacksmith. He really looked like a Viking too with his sand -coloured beard.

Saturday saw us heading up to Aalborg  and Komoot took us there on road 180. This was a main road but had a good cycle track and the traffic when it did pass us gave plenty of room. I would have preferred a more varied route  but the way undulated from Tjele to Aalborg.

We can across an old car and motorbike show later in the morning  and had a nosey around but because of the miserable weather stops were few and far between.

We went to Aalborg Family camping which was excellent with a superb kitchen/ diner and we were able to wash clothes and get them dried. There were other cycle campers to chat with too, from France and Sweden.

Sunday saw us ride across the city to go to church where a young missionary translated for us. We were given headsets so it wasn’t a disturbance to others.  Coming back we found a PIT STOP that had tools and a charging station for e-bikes  – not that we needed them but it was comforting to know.

Monday morning was sunny and we were packed ready to go by 8.00am. I love the randomness of people you meet on these trips. A group of people , about our age, were motor homing up to Iceland. A couple from Belgium also had e-bikes and came to ask about out trip  and he was fascinated with our ISM touring saddles. Indeed , we were asked many times about them. As I hope you can see they are very short and are open.

Again , we were on road 180 with its white line that motorists respected and we felt really safe. We stopped a few times in picnic sites  as the road undulated NE. We peddaled  through Saeby and then onto the coast route with many sea side cottages until we came to the Stena line terminal.

We actually went into the truckers part and I asked about charging the batteries. No problem just stay in the truckers lounge and plug in. So helpful.

Then we joined the other cyclists and motorcyclists and boarded . We had a upgraded cabin which was great as neither of us had to climb up to a top bunk. The food was good with a very Scandinavian flavour and this time I wasn’t sea sick. Just after 8.00pm we were both fast asleep.  We had ridden about 235 miles through Denmark.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 9, 2019

Prep for summer adventure

Its been a very busy week and not too much cycling.

I finally managed to get the tickets booked for the intermediate stage of our journey .I had tried to book trains on line without success. Last Sunday I managed to get through on the phone   with Deutsch Bahn and a nice young man booked the series of trains we will need plus bikes with international tickets. He said the tickets would be in the post on Monday 1st class with Royal Mail and they were delivered on Tuesday.

So this week we set off. We are getting the train to Sunderland (weather forecast  looks awful) and we will ride up and across the Shields ferry to the DFDS port near North Shields. I have to say they were very efficient when I made that booking way back in January. They have a note of my voice sensitivity problem and we will be eating first being kept away from as many people as possible.

So after arrival in Imjuiden, we will cycle to the central railway station and catch the first of the trains. This will take us to Oberhausen where we change trains and go to Hamburg. We have bicycle reservations on both these trains. At Hamburg , we catch a local train to Flensburg but this is a local train with no cycle reservation but we aren’t worried as it will be later in the evening.

The arrival at Flensburg will be just before midnight and so we intend to ride the night – not something I have done before but a lot of the route is on cycle path . We will take a few days to get up to Frederikshavn where the ferry goes to Oslo. Stena line were also very efficient at helping on the phone. I could book on line but queried the price. I thought that the flex ticket price would be more expensive than economy but the very nice young man who took my telephone call explained that it was because we were booking with bicycles that the flex ticket was less expensive.

Now one thing I will say, travelling over land is not cheap. We could have used a budget airline and made 2 return trips for us both at a similar cost but wanting to take the e-bikes comes at a cost. Neither of the airlines flying to Norway , will allow transporting e-bikes , even without the batteries.

So we have about a 100miles of travel in Norway to get to be with out friends . We aren’t certain yet how much cycling we will do there , as it depends if Kj’s back is OK. He has had a few problems of late. We aren’t worried though.

This week I have packed and re-packed the panniers as we cannot take the trailer on the trains. We could try but don’t fancy the hassle when being told we cannot do it. We have had a practice ride with the full load – and it is full – even with tiny table and chairs both superbly made by Helinox. We have had them a good few years now. I don’t think I will be updating the blog until we return in mid- July. My friends on FaceBook should be able to follow as I will try to update as we go.

practice pack

In addition , life goes on and I have been working even more than usual in order to see all my patients and look after them before I go off.

Cycled this week 33 miles      YTD1933miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 2, 2019

Tarp Making Guru

Yes you read that right. I have never been called that before until last weekend.

You may have notice that I didn’t post last week and that is because I was at the Cycle Touring Festival held at Waddow Hall , Clitheroe where the cycle touring tribe gather. There were about 350 of us this year and there were many who had cycled


Its a fabulous weekend with such varied speakers from Tom Allen giving a follow up talk about cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats with not money and not spending more than £25 on bike and all his kit. We haven’t seen Tom for a couple of years as he is living in Armenia and helping to build a long distance walking /mountain biking trail through to Georgia with all the complication that brings. However , the delight for me was finding out that the £10 bicycle has been all over the world with different people and the last Tom heard it is in the Vietnamese jungle with a 6’6″ Dutchman.

Not all the talks were about far flung places although there was a one where the chap had been to Syria, Somalis, Afghanistan and  other “dangerous” places but came out OK even though he was nearly blown up.


Ann Wilson, born the same year as me , gave a talk about her around the world trip and has written a book called “Mainly by Bike” . I missed her talk but more on that later. I bought her book and am thoroughly enjoying the read.

This year there were  more families there and the children had their own programme varying from fixing a puncture and mending a chain through to painting bicycle bells and dyeing cloth with natural flowers and leaves collected on site.

As ever, the food was wonderful provided by Sharon, Laura’s mam who organises the whole food thing. She wants a medal as big as a frying pan. Laura Moss’s extended family come and help to keep every thing going smoothly.  The whole ethos is that we sit and eat together and make friends . I have been  for all of the festivals that have been held and we get a bottle . This years colour was green.

Here is my collection down near the Transporter Bridge statue “Waiting for me Dad”.


There were yoga sessions, camp stove cookery and panel discussions on mental health.


Now here is why I got the title. I was asked to run a talk/demo and had made a tarp to take across to show and then demonstrate the techniques. Well Graham , who is fantastic at putting tarps up , asked me for it on Saturday evening so he could try it out. Panic !! It wasn’t in the car or the tent and when I phoned home it was on the chair. On No!!!

Well, someone said, why don’t you just make one of the kits up. So I got up early to start it.

IMG_0472The wonderful Barry Godin came to film me .


Look him up on YouTube to see his cycling films- all was going well until I broke the needle. The lovely Sharon sews so send one of her daughters home to get me more needles as I didn’t have any spare. Can you believe it? I always have spares.

Anyway , they arrived and I got stitching again and Barry filmed when he wasn’t  talking to his audience about filming your rides. The tarp got a try out pitch and then Graham did his bit. I have to say I learned another new knot – the Prissic knot- which should come in useful.


It was a bit wet by this time but never mind, we just got on with it.

Graham showed us how to use the bike and no poles to out up the tarp


and here is my own made tarp being out up.


If I sound very enthusiastic , its because I always feel so energised. The lovely Libby Bowles was talking about her work with ecology and it was so packed with information that you just could not do all the talks , demo’s etc. One of the things I love is that its not for profit and so there is no hard sell by big manufactures.

I did get a short ride. I went with Kate on her specially adapted trike that she usually transports her daughter on who has complex needs including epilepsy. It was a joy except when a bus passed us and the exhaust fumes got me.


We came home on Sunday evening and had a short ride on Monday followed by the usual rides . On Friday , I went off on a solo ride to Cozy Coffee and got a good soaking  but no worries as there was hot chocolate and cake on offer. DH did come out to meet me. The rain had abated until we met up and it started to rain again .

I saw the goslings again and they are growing well. The swan is still sitting her nest but I haven’t seen any cygnets as yet. The photos I took were blurry so wont bore you with them .

so in two weeks I cycled 134 miles making  YTD 1900miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | May 19, 2019

Cycling Joy

It has been a lovey week with the weather and early morning sunshine and for most of the days I managed to get in some riding – even if only locally.

Monday was DH’s 68th birthday ( he’s caught me up again) and he went off for his birthday ride .Normally , he would be up and away by 4am but last Monday he wasn’t . He was tired!! So when I went off at 6.00am he came along the river with me and then at the Infinity bridge he took off on his own. He didn’t have a clear idea where he was going but phoned just after 10.00am to say he was in Asenby near Topcliffe, so I was fairly sure it was a ride to York and sure enough at 12 noon he rand to say he was in Rowntree park in York. Later in the day DS1 and I rode out to meet the returner after I had finished work.

On Tuesday, I saw these lovely goslings and the proud parents on the lake in Albert Park. I only just discovered it is named after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort.


On Thursday , DS1 took a train with his bike up to Newcastle and rode out to meet some CTC buddies who were cycling the Coast to Coast and then when DH had finished his ministering for the morning, he rode out to meet DS1 who was determined to ride all the way home. The menfolk in my home have put in some mileage this week,

Friday saw DH and I ride north up through Hurworth burn and off to Wingate on roads I haven’t been on for years. The places have changed from little mining villages  into villages with larger housing developments. The weather wasn’t too bad but cool and over cast. Coming back we decided that we would stop in Trimdon churchyard and have a sandwich before riding to Cozy Coffee where we got a lovey welcome and chocolate cake from the delightful Rosie who seems to know all her customers regular orders.

Saturday was just a short rainy ride up to Stockton and we kept off the river side path as there was a rowing event on. I took this from the barrage with the infinity bridge upriver. I heard the announcer telling one of the teams they were in the wrong lane. That would be so like me.


DH cleaned and oiled the bikes  and then in the drier afternoon we rode another 5 miles so that DH could make his mileage up to 300miles for the week. Me? 123miles but I am not complaining.  We also heard from C from last week that he had got back to Scotland and appreciated our guiding work through the Teesside area.

Total YTD 1766miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | May 12, 2019

Unexpected Mileage

Bank Holiday Monday was awful. It rained heavily all day so we ended up driving across to Darlington for me to get some needed sewing supplies and support a local shop in the indoor market.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were all wet or when I could have got out on the bicycle because it wasn’t too bad, I was working. So we kept watching the weather forecast in the hope of a break in the weather and we were rewarded.

The forecast was for cool weather about 8C but light winds and no rain. So it was an earlyish  start at about 8.30am and we decided to head south. We hot the school traffic in Yarm bit it wasn’t too bad and headed along to Appleton Wiske. Isnt it strange but we often do not really see what is in a place There was weak sunshine so we stopped to take off a layer of clothing and I noticed this pump for the first time. I must have ridden past it thousands of times. I spoke to a lady who told me that it had been rescued from a barn and installed to celebrate the millennium but it no longer works.P1020799

Then we rode along to Northallerton and on in the direction of Thirsk but sticking to a minor road and turned off to ride through Thornton-le-Beans.


Apparently, in the 15th century Thornton meant a farm with thorns and it grew beans hence the name. Its a nice little village with a caravan and campsite.

We continued along to South Otterington , a place we have passed through many times but we turned onto another minor road and I had planned to go through East Cowton. Those who read this blog , know a Friday afternoon café sells delicious cakes to raise money to rebuild the village hall. Well you have to help out , don’t you? So it was up towards Yafforth and Streetlam before having a sit in the now warming sunshine in North Cowton.

We had only just got our cake and  hot chocolate when  DS1 turned up.  He had been cycling with a group across to Bedale and came back this way and we returned home together . We cycled 70 miles on Friday  and all on one battery charge for me so I was very pleased.

On Saturday morning we checked the forecast again and it showed better weather on the coast than inland so off we set up through Great Ayton and along to Guisborough where we managed to find the off road route across towards Slape Wath. Just before here, we got back onto the path at the side of the road and crossed it to cycle through the woods to Boosbeck. There is a climb up to North Skelton before a steep descent into Skelton. You need good brakes for this twisting bank.

Then it was on towards Saltburn , passing Rushpool Hall  and down onto the sea front. We paused at the facilities and while there a young man came to speak with us. He had a loaded bike and was on his way home to Scotland having been cycling for 18months across the globe.

As we happened to be going the way he was we offered to guide him through the Teesside paths. Local knowledge is always useful.

The promenade was very busy , as it is 150 years since Saltburn pier was built and there was a special event  going to be on a little later. C saw the cliff lift in action and a man told us about the hydropower that makes this Victorian lift still work.


So instead of tackling  the notorious bank, fully loaded , we got through the crowds on the pier and up the donkey track. They were just setting up a music venue and found out later that our friend Pip was playing there with Marske Brass band. Shame to have missed it.

I have never ridden the donkey track but the e-bike gives me the ability to get up . The joy in cycling is restored with this bike. Once at the top , C wanted to buy some cake so we went along and the market was in full swing with some dressed in Victorian costume. I talked to a couple of the ladies who had made there own outfits and beautiful they were too. I also had a chat with “Captain Mainwairing” with his stick on moustache.


We also took C along to see the Transporter Bridge and the chaps working there were amazed that someone could ride a bike around the world, and explained how the bridge works and we saw it in action. Then we rode along the river, passing under Newport bridge and along for him to see the Barrage with its Archimedes screws pumping water back up to power the watercourse that had a number of kayakers on it.

From here we decided to go up to Thorpe Thewles  with him to get him onto NCN 1 but gave him some advice about the bits to avoid. The weather got very overcast and started to rain a bit and  he offered to buy us a drink but we wanted to get home.


One of the things we talked about as we rode along , on the off road paths, was why he had decided to take 18 months off. He was interested in what makes for happiness as part of his research work and wanted to go to Bhutan, where they have a very different philosophy. Instead of most countries working for economic growth, their government works for making people happy.


So he set off and says one of the things he has learned is that we all need to feel connected. He was offered amazing support and hospitality , even in countries that he thought , would not. His favourite places were Mexico and India which looking at the media, you would not think so. He has been pleasantly surprised that even here , in the UK, as he has cycled up he has found people to be caring and helpful. We shared some of the wonderful experiences we too have had on our travels.

So, if you want to read about his adventures you can  here on

For us it was really a pleasure to have been able to “pay it forward” but helping another cycle tourists.


this week we cycled 126miles in 2 days  and  YTD 1643miles.



Posted by: brendaintheboro | May 5, 2019

“The best laid plans……”

We had plans to be away cycle camping this weekend but it hasn’t happened.

Go back to last Tuesday, I was starting to get my things together and bent down to pull my panniers out of the under stairs cupboard in out 110 year old house. I struggled and instead of asking for help, I ricked my back. At first , it wasn’t too bad but it just got worse and I couldn’t even sleep in bed.

I am nothing, if not persistent and managed to work the next day, all be it having to be driven to attend to my patients -yes I am a bit bonkers. Still, I asked for a blessing and used plenty of ice packing and by Friday I was much improved.  I even ventured a short 15 miles ride without pain.

The weather hasn’t been too good and so I view this as a blessing in disguise. We looked at the forecast and decided to drive down to Riccall with our bikes on the back of the car. This is anathema to DH but it was the way to go. Those who  having been following for a while, will remember I tried and failed to get to Goole as I had misread the map.

So we left the cars at the campsite , we were going to and got ourselves on the track down to Barlby where we were able to show DS1 a way across the A19, on a foot/cycle bridge and rode along through Osgodby and towards North Duffield but turned right and down to Cliffe. Then we crossed the main road and along to Hemmingborough, There is a large church in this small village and then to an off-road track to Barmby on the Marsh.

Here there is a tidal barrage which helps to regulate the flow of water into the River Ouse from the Derwent, to help prevent flooding.

There is a picnic area here and also toilet facilities so useful to know about. We stopped and had breakfast that we had brought with us. It was cold and windy but we managed to get out of the worst of the wind.

Then we carried along thought the village and along through the flat lands to Knedlington . Mostly we had the wind on our backs here so sped along and then turned south on a minor road before getting on to a cycle track all the way into Goole.

Our mission was to get to the Yorkshire Waterways museum and I am so glad we got there because it is closing permanently on 15th May 2019. Such a shame.  I had e-mailed in advance and they let us lock our bikes away inside the building which was lovely of them.

The café provided hot chocolate and cake!! Later on , the lady also was providing meals as the café filled up at lunchtime.

It was interesting to look around and see the first type of boat used on the water. It did have a willow man to paddle it though.


These were made out of willow making the frame and covered in cow hide and paddled with one paddle not two pars as shown here.

There was also a display on types of building. I was brought up knowing about clinker built boats – these had overlapping wooden planks , however, I learned of another type called carvel in which the boards where linked directly one on top of the other. You are never too old to learn.


Another gallery showed some other type of art works with this lovely sculpture inspired by a ships figurehead.


There were other exhibits about life on the waterways and canals showing how they lived in small cabins and artwork that was on the working boats where whole families.


We met a very interesting man who was a retired firefighter and now is a freelance local press photographer and we spent time chatting. I realise just what a knowledge DS1 has of technology and cameras/lenses. It went over my head. Sean  told us about another museum in the town above the library , which I also got to visit. There  was some interesting  artwork here by a Victorian “Pierhead Painter” Reuben Chappell who was from Goole. He painted the ships who came into the most inland port in Britain. I was interested in the paintings and there is a town trail that has them on display but we didn’t have time to go around them all. I did like this one and was intrigued by how the paint is cracking. Maybe an inspiration for some of my textile work.


There was also some embroidery work on display that held my attention.  This was worked by local people who were interpreting an old map that is 600 years old rather like the Bayeux tapestry but much smaller in scale.

As the other two were waiting outside , I couldn’t take too much time  though.



Then it was back into the wind following back largely the same way we had come. We crossed the Boothferry Bridge.  There was a fabulous photo of the  Tour de Yorkshire Boothferry Bridge 2019 which showed the riders coming over in pouring rain led by a dark skinned rider in white while the others are light skinned in black clothing. Its a stunning photo. It was shown on TV the other day.

The M62 also crossed the river high up in the air.



Back at Barmby on the Marsh , we again stopped and a storm blew through briefly with tremendous wind gusts and hail and rain so we put on  wet weather clothing. There is a  Millenium national  cycle sign  here and I didn’t get a good photo of it. Missed the star off the top.



We did follow on through to Selby and then battled the wind back to Riccall. I was so glad that we had the e-assist as head winds were gusting at 40mph.

So this week 63 miles ridden and YTD 1517 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 28, 2019

Storm Hannah

Up North, we have been luckier than those further south and west of us. Back at work, we didn’t get as many miles in this week, but Friday, while very windy, was at least sunny and dry but not too warm.

We weren’t too sure where to ride , so decided as the wind was from the south we would head out in that direction. So the first village we headed for was Gt Ayton which like so many other places has gas works digging up the roads.

We turned down to Little Ayton and then to Easby where we turned off to ride towards Ingleby Greenhow and the towards Chop Gate ( pronounced Chop Yat in Yorkshire).  There is a climb about 800ft here up to the Clay bank car park  but because of the e-bikes , it makes it so much easier for me.


In the distance , is Roseberry Topping.


There were a lot of pheasants  bobbing about and they werent the least bit wary.

Then it was directly down again into the wind. To be honest, it was a bit scary as the wind was blustering and I had to cycle downhill. Once down into Chop Gate, we turned up towards Lord Stone’s, and it was delightful riding along amid the fields full of new lambs and verges full of golden dandelions.

We reached the top at just over 900ft and were going to go into the café but the surface has been re-laid with gravel and as we couldn’t even see the café decided not to bother. It has been expanded and now says it has a restaurant and camping site. Good views across to Teesside though. The descent is fast – 600ft in 2 miles – but with the wind behind us it wasn’t so scary.


The countryside is like a patchwork quilt with patches of green and yellow  everywhere at present.

We rode into Stokesley and stopped to rest there. We chatted to a chap we have met there before and he was asking if we were doing a long distance route this time. We told him about last weekend’s trip. He was knocked off his bike and it has made him wary of ever riding again.

We also met a couple who had cycled along from Gt Ayton but were surprised at the strength of the wind and decided that after their lunch, they were just heading home. We only had about 10 miles to home which with a following wind had us home in no time.

This week 73 miles and YTD 1454miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 22, 2019

An Easter “summer” cycle tour

What a fabulous short cycle tour we have enjoyed. The weather was exceptional for Easter time.

17th April 2019 Carlisle to Moffat

On Wednesday, we took the train across to Carlisle. We booked 3 months ago and got a good deal on ticket prices – less than half the price of the ones we bought last year. The down side, was a very early start at 5.45am. The difficulty with using the Northern trains is that you cannot book your bikes and it’s first come , first  served.  There were 3 of us and so we left home at 5.15am  to cycle the 10 minutes to the station.

I sat at one end of the train with my bike and the trailers  while DH and DS1 were at the opposite end looking after bikes and  panniers. We arrived in Carlisle at 8.35am and it was cool but dry as we headed out of town, using the Komoot app for direction.

It took us around behind the station and then out over the rivers Eden and Esk in low lying country and up to Gretna where we stopped and had breakfast sitting at Gretna Gateway. Gretna Green is the first place that you come to after crossing the Scottish border and people often eloped there to be married by the blacksmith. There is still a  popular wedding venue.

Continuing north, we came to the village of Ecclefechan and as we have ridden this way before, I knew  where we would turn  and was pleased to see that the cottage with its lovely garden is still being well maintained. I wished that the lady whose it is,  was about but unfortunately not.

Then it was off up to Lockerbie, another small Scottish town where we stopped at the Co-op to buy some food and then rode out of town passing the Memorial Gardens.  More than 30years ago , a plane was blown up by terrorists over the town  killing 270 people both on the aircraft and on the ground.

By now , the sky was brightening as we continued our northward journey. Komoot was working well and keeping us on safe roads and cycle paths as we passed through Johnstone bridge and along to Moffat out first campsite. This is almost in the centre of the town and is an easy walk to a supermarket

We hadn’t booked by were lucky to get a pitch with a hook-up so we could charge the bike batteries. I use more power than the other two but I have a spare battery , so no range anxiety. This was a good day to start the tour as it wasn’t too demanding.

Thursday 18th April aka Maundy Thursday. Moffat to Jedburgh

It was a very cold start but the climb out to the Grey Mare’s tail waterfall  at 10 miles had us warmed up. The climb was up to 1100 ft following Moffat water. We pulled in and walked up to the viewing point and I was really pleased to see that there was plenty of water coming down.


We also had 2nd  breakfast in the shelter of the carpark wall but didn’t stay too long as we didn’t want to become chilled and then had a nice decent to St Mary’s loch where there is a café and we stopped for a welcome hot chocolate. We talked with a motorcyclist intrigued by the way we are touring as he also has a e- mountain bike.

Continuing eastward, we were blessed with warmish sunshine, In the shelter of the wind it was hot but the wind took the edge off it. I have to say that the countryside was very impressive. There was yellow gorse blooming everywhere we looked and the slightly coconutty smell was divine.  There were lambs gambolling about in the fields and some very new ones and I saw hares hopping away from the road. I was amazed by the numbers of them.



The Yarrow Water runs down into St Mary’s loch and the Cappercleugh reservoir and we continued along the A708 until just after Yarrowford where we turned off and continued along a minor road. I saw what I assume is the remains of a bastle house which was a type of fortified farmhouse from the time of the border reveres. There used to be a lot of robbing and pillaging that went on along the English/Scottish borders.


Komoot then took us down a really awful path where I got off to walk due to loose gravel and rocks. I didn’t want a fall at this stage.  The route took us back onto the road and we sped along until we saw Selkirk on the horizon – high on the horizon and knew we would have another climb. So up we went and I have never been so thankful that someone was inspired to make an e-bike.

We had lunch in the town and then it was back heading eastward on minor roads and then a track. Suddenly before us was a river with a ford!!  We hadn’t expected it but there was a bridge that needed negotiating and it was a bit tricky but we managed.


From there we carried on down through Ancrum and then on the main road into Jedburgh. I have to say that most of the cars and wagons where very courteous and gave us lots of road space. I think riding with a trailer and flag does help.

The Jedburgh campsite is fairly small and not the smartest. The site manager said it was still 1970 style but it suited us and again we were given a lovely pitch with a hook-up to charge the batteries. I had used up a full battery and was on the spare .

Friday, 19th April 2019  aka Good Friday Jedburgh to Dunstan Hill

It wasn’t a cold night but when we woke in the morning, the mist fell and got thicker as the time went on.  There were lots of birds – crows I think – in the trees and as they awoke and took flight they  bombed the tent and I had to clean it up.

We packed up a  wet tent and then rode along into town and then climbed up steeply into sunshine and when we reached the top had to stop to strip off  as we were so warm – indeed sweating.

We rode past Cessford and its castle up on the hill.



Then it was up and down to Morebattle which I noticed had streets named Thimble Street and another called Teapot Street which tickled me . From here we pressed on to Town Yetholm where we sat in the sun to eat.


There is a small shop/post office and I bought bananas, my favourite fruit. The village is the crossing point of the Pennine Way and the St Cuthbert’s Way long distance  walking trails. Apparently, this was the site of many battles in former times. We met a couple of cyclists, a lady and her daughter who were out on a spin from the town. It was lovely to see a young girl out riding .

Then more rolling countryside flew along as our wheels turned and we rode into Wooler. I was there a few years ago and didn’t want to climb Chatton hill so followed NCN68 south and came across surprise ford No. 2. This was across the Coldgate water.


It was a bit of a push and then on the other side DS1 realised that a bolt that held on his rear carrier had snapped. A couple of road angels came to the rescue and helped remove the remains of the bolt. We had a spare that wasn’t quite the right size but with a bit of persuasion it when on  and with the security of cable ties, we carried on. By now the sun was blazing down and I had to stand in the shade to stop overheating. There were lots of large farm vehicles and while talking to our road angels, I discovered that all of the small farms have been bought out and arenow part of a large conglomerate.

We carried on and then realised that Komoot was trying to take us onto the A1. I wasn’t going that way so we had to continue riding onward towards Alnwick but the app rerouted us and we got to the Dunstan Hill campsite having cycled  56.5 miles. Even DH was nearly out of battery power  ( his only battery) as there had been an increasing headwind. The site was full but we were given a back packing place. One of the very kind site assistants let us put our batteries  on charge in the awing of his caravan.

There was also a Fish and Chip van on site and even though I am not a fish and chip eater , I wasnt prepared to cook having cycled nearly 60 miles. So a take out it was.

Saturday 20th April 2019 Dunstan Hill to Angel of the North Fishing Lakes

We know there is no Camping and caravanning club site down in Tyneside and so rely on visiting relatives when in that area. Fortunately , one of my brothers has the Angel of the North Fishing lakes and so I phoned and asked if that was a possibility. My other brother was full with visiting family so we plugged in a route to take us down there. On examining it , we realised that it would take us through central Newcastle upon Tyne on major roads so that was a no go. However, we decided to head down NCN 1 along the coast down to South Shields and get the ferry across the river Tyne. It was a glorious day, but typical of the North East coast with a slight haze and a cold wind blowing off the sea. However, the route is relatively flat and on paths or quiet roads ,and is one I know well having ridden it many times but I never tire of it.

We got away with perfectly dry tents for a change  so packing up was easy and we were away by 8.30am, heading south and we had only gone about 3 miles when I stopped to photograph the geological formation here. Lots of the coast is magnesium limestone but here there areP1020778 are some basalt columns.



We have seen similar columns when kayaking out to the island of Staffa years ago and also at the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland on a cycle trip some years back.

Carrying on we when down through Longhoughton and Boulmer before the off road path to Warkworth. Its easy to miss the path and DS1 who has driven it many times but not cycled it , did not know of its existence. Its just after the bridge at the bend on the outskirts of Alnmouth.


Warkworth has a fine castle and a climb up to it before the off road path to Amble. It was packed with strolling families so we kept on the road and out the other side to East Amble Cemetery where we stopped to eat . Interestingly, it has a sign that its a war graves cemetery  and there seem to be more of these appearing.



The spire is all that remains of the two churches that  used to be on the site.  Then it was off again through Low Hauxley and my favourite Druridge Bay and on to Cresswell. As we approached,  I noticed a for sale sign and my heart sank thinking the ice cream shop might have gone. Phew!! its still there and its home made ice cream too.

There was an old guy from Newbiggin on a trike and a man and his son pulled in. The Dad was pulling a Mule trailer so a discussion on trailers ensued. There are toilets just over the road from the shop so its a good stopping point.

The old Lynemouth power station still stands and when it is  passed  you turn up to Bedlington and come down through the old mining villages which have sadly lost their old livelihood. The old miners spoke a dialect of their own called Pitmatic in these parts.

We took the river path down through Blyth and onto the sea front which was heaving with people more or less all the way along through Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth. We stopped to photograph St Mary’s lighthouse.


The path is on the shared pavement  and we got some complaints saying we should be on the road. It was too dangerous with the amount of bumper to bumper cars. At one point, I pointed out the signs and told the lady that it is part of an international cycle route and she needed to read the signs that say to share the path carefully , which is what I  was attempting to do as I rang my warning bell. Give her credit, she did apologise as she hadn’t read the signs. They were all along the path.

I had to wait a short while at the castle in Tynemouth as I made better time than the others pulling their trailers. A young lean fit cyclist came up the bank wearing Lotto-Jumbo gear and I asked if he was a pro-rider. He had been but had to stop as he had developed a heart condition and now only rides for pleasure but he was interested in what we were doing.



The Shields ferry cost us £5.60 for the three of us and there was another cyclist on before us. He had taken the train to Berwick in the early morning and was cycling back to Birtley near where we wanted to go but was taking a longer route.

So we rode along through Jarrow and up towards Primrose before taking the Bowes Railway path which was reasonable in places apart from the restrictors which were a nightmare. We ended up having to disconnect the trailer and then having to lift the bikes over. This happened a number of times  before getting on to a horrible , ? being repaired , re-laid bit that was a complete nightmare. I should have been on a full suspension mountain bike. Once down at the road we turned for the lakes. My SIL was worried as she was thinking we would have been there an hour earlier andt he road option might have been better.

Again , I ate food I wouldn’t normally eat but the steak pies were a treat, if a bit well done. It was an early night for us all.

Sunday, 21st April 2019 Easter Day – He is Risen

We don’t normally cycle on a Sunday but decided as we needed to be home, we would carry on. We sorted out a route and it took us through Birtley and the outskirts of Washington ( the Original) to Hetton le Hole and the top end of South Hetton. Its surprising when approaching a place you know well, from a different direction, you dont always recognise it. This was the case when we realised we were in Haswell. We did try to find the memorial to Tommy Simpson who was a Tour de France rider who died in 1967 on Mount Ventoux. We couldn’t find it so will look for it another time.

Continuing on we pushed on to Hurworth Burn and had 2nd breakfast there and completed the ride home by 1pm.

hurworth burn (2)

In total for the week I completed 273 miles  making the YTD as 1381 miles.















Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 14, 2019

A Saxon Church and old Trains

The weather this week has been dry but cold and windy so we go out cycling most days. I had been reading about old churches and discovered that what is probably the oldest surviving Saxon church  isnt too far from us.

I planned a route using the Komoot app and found that it took us over towards our favourite café so we didn’t follow the directions but took our own route until we came to where we would have gone to Cozy Coffee , but not on Friday.

I was on a road I had never been on before but DH had ridden it on one of his solo rides and it took us onto a dual carriage way A167 which I wasn’t too happy about with fast moving  vehicles. Fortunately it was only for about  mile or so before we turned right into Newton Aycliffe where there are plenty of cycle paths.

Just beside the railway station here is a cycle path alongside the rail line – separated with a fence so it is very safe. This is 5 or 6 miles of  well surfaced path and then once in Shildon, the route took us to South Church. We were instructed by the Komoot Voice to turn up Lambton Street but unfortunately there is only a gated narrow footpath alongside a factory. There was a couple who had opened the gated but told us we would never get through so we asked advice. They told us to continue through the village and then we would have a long steep bank to descend towards Bishop Auckland.



The descent was fast and twisting and Komoot adjusted to accommodate the change. Actually, we approached so traffic lights and I recognised where I was. In a former life I used to go to Bishop Auckland for work and so I knew we wanted to be directly ahead , which it told us to do.


Then there is a cycle path that we could ride up another steep hill until we got to the turn off for Escomb. Years ago I had seen this sign for Escomb Saxon church but had never been there. So you have guessed it , another fast descent down to the valley bottom where the church is.


This is a very old settlement and the church dates back to 680AD. Obviously, it has been updated over the years but is still in regular use and the key to look around is kept on a hook outside 28 Saxon Green. I was expecting it to be an old cottage but it was a 1960’s type council house.

So its only a short walk around the green to collect the key and I went inside. There are boards detailing the things to look for.


This is the font which is used for a form of infant baptism that pours water on a baby’s head. My own belief is that baptism should be by immersion when a person is of an age to make a decision for themselves.


I was particularly interested to see that a blocked up door had this embroidered panel.

This is the altar


The opposite end


There is a stone that was robbed from a Roman place and various other interesting items.  One off them as this , where the priest kept holy water locked away.

P1020713Apparently, the church  fell into disrepair when a large church was built but in the 1960’s both needed money spending on them and the decline in attendance meant that this Saxon church was saved. I am glad it was and I love it’s simplicity.

How glad I was to be able to use the assistance of the electric motor to climb back up the hill. I had been sunny when we set off but was now very cold and overcast. Still the climb warmed us up. Once back down into Bishop Auckland , I remembered another way to Shildon as DS1 and I had once cycled that way together. Route 751 is an off road path and once in Shildon we went to the Locomotion Museum which I am pleased to tell you has free admission. If you are a train buff, you must not miss it. Train building still goes and there are apprenticeships for young people to learn the skills.



We got the kettle on and had our lunch out of the wind and the sun peeped through the clouds so it warmed up a bit.


We both went and had a quick look but it would be better to have much longer of you love to see old trains. These are just a couple I took. The first trains were developed in this area of the country and spread throughout the world.


This was a 59 miles ride and both of us were a bit tired on Saturday so we just had a ride along the river to Stockton in strong easterly winds blowing off the North Sea. When the sun did come out it was 2 top coats warmer.

On the sewing front I have made a simple tarp.


This just shows various ways to use it,

Mileage this week was 102 miles and YTD is 1108 miles





Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 7, 2019

April Showers

You know the old saying – well there were a lot of showers in our part of the world  this week but Friday, while a bit windy, was a glorious day.

I had plans to ride across to Colburn to a new fabric place that my attention was drawn to but on phoning, found it is mainly an on line shop and she wasn’t going to be open on Friday. She was going to be in Leeds so couldn’t be there for us. Still , we werent deterred and it off across that way.

I had looked at the map and found that  in Richmond there are some waterfalls and so decided that was where we were headed for.  So off we went across to Middleton St George and then along through Neasham to Croft. The route we took then climbed up  right just after the bridge and along to Moulton. The BookStop  has new books in stock in the old bus stop which I think is a brilliant idea. Sometimes there are plants for sale too all monies in an honesty box.

From there we rode down to Scorton. Many years ago , I used to visit a medical centre there but I noticed in new housing there is now a new purpose built one. Just had a look to see if any of the doctors I knew there, were still in practice. Only one still working and she was only part-time back then. Makes me realise I am older than my head tells me I am. heehee.

From Scorton , it was along through Bromton on Swale and the gradual climb up to Richmond. DS1 said he had been to the falls before but we made a slight detour down across the bridge and had to come half way back up the steep bank. Then it was across to a footpath and along to the falls.  Even though we have kayaked on the Swale, we have never been here before.P1020683

The signage called the waterfalls a Foss which is a Yorkshire word for force. The water flows across limestone strata and is reputed to be the fastest, quickest rising river in England. I remember more than 20 years ago taking DS1 to a kayak slalom event  at Tanfield. The water rose about 12 feet overnight. Although this was the Ure , the two rivers rise in a similar area and water can come down in a huge wall of water if it rains in the hills. A number of people have been washed away and down in the sudden torrents.


Friday was lovely to sit and have lunch there.


From Richmond we went back up to the market place and then headed back towards Brompton. There is a set of traffic lights that are at the top of a bank and so its a bit of a problem in heavy traffic. We crossed and got onto the pavement to avoid an awkward right turn and not to hold up traffic.

There were some heavy lorries  and when we could we pulled over to let them pass – no point in aggravating drivers and holding up a string of cars.  Guess where we headed next? Chocolate caked called out to us from the pop -up café in East Cowton. Yum yum.

Then it was off home  in time to have an evening meal courtesy of the slow cooker – spag bol. Nearly 70 miles.   Oh forgot to say, I had a tumble in Richmond  but fortunately nothing broken but I have a bruised elbow and a sore neck – a bit of whip-lash where my head hit the ground. A good excuse to buy a new helmet.

We didn’t go far on Saturday but did have a ride along the river . We found that there is building work going on  this is for drainage work for the river. I think it must be flood prevention work.


Then it was through Stockton and Preston Park so my total mileage for the week was 105 miles. YTD 1026 miles

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