Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 25, 2021

More heat and humidity

The early part of the week was very hot – for us in the NE – with temperatures of 30 C. As I spend most of my working days swathed in plastic aprons . gloves and masks it was almost unbearable. I didnt even feel like going out after work as it was so hot.

On Tuesday, DH decided to have a day cycling on his own and so left the house at 4.40am. Yes he is a bit OTT. He was in Jarrow by 8.00am and sat and chatted to my brother in his garden before setting out once more to Durham and then home via a round about route. He has never had much idea of maps and so he rode further than he needed to but was very pleased with his 113 miles ride and was home before I finished work.

On Thursday, I had to take the car in for servicing and MOT test so we loaded our folders into the car. This gave us an opportunity to have a ride across to Eppleby for a very nice fruit scone and an ice cold drink.

On the way back, we called into see Stanwick camp near Forcett that we have ridden past many times. Today , because we had plenty of time to get back, DH agreed to mind the bikes while I went for a little wander.

an English Heritage site.

This is free to enter and there are stairs leading up to a rampart. As it has been sunny and warm, the paths were not muddy but I can image how clarty it would be on wetter days. This was part of a power centre for the Brigantes tribe who ruled in northern Britain in pre Roman times. The defences were in some parts cut into rock and are nearly 4 miles long and enclose an area that is 766 acres. Following the Roman conquest, the Brigantes centre moved to the Aldborough Roman site.

the information board is well worn

I walked some way and the views were good but I didnt want to go too far and keep DH waiting.

looking south east

So once back in Darlington, Dh set off for home and I returned to the garage where they gave me cold water to drink and refilled my water bottle. Mine was luke warm with all the heat.

On Friday, Dh suggested a ride to see friends in Peterlee and we havent seen them since last year so that was out destination for the day. We rode up past Hurworth burn and had a chat to the lads we refer to as ‘Last of the summer wine’. Then it was across towards Station town but the track was blocked due to building work and we had to negotiate a steep muddy track, cross a road and then find another steep decent back onto NCN 1. It is not well sign posted.

At Shotton Colliery , we followed the local route across to Peterlee and our friends welcomed us with hugs. As it was warm we sat in the garden and were asked if we would like to pick blackcurrents . I picked well over 2 lbs and then later in the day at home made jam. Its a pity the only jars I had were huge so I only got 2 jars.

We decided to return by dropping down through Horden onto the coast road , through Blackhall and into Hartlepool. These mining villages havent really recovered from the loss of the pits.

In Hartlepool, we sat at the marina for a snack and the sky was so blue that we could have been in a southern Europe country.

Hartlepool Marina
Maritime Museum

Then it was back across the fields and to Cowpen Bewley.

Saturday, we had things to do and so just had a short ride up to Hilton and back via Thornaby.

weekly miles 89miles and YTD 3353 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 18, 2021

Make hay while the sun shines

or get out and cycle!!

The weather in the latter part of the week has been blazing hot here in the NE of the UK and I had a very full 3 days of working so we were all ready to go out on Thursday except I had to stay in to take an important phone call.

So we didn’t actually get off until nearly 11am which is very late for us. The destination was to be Wellbury , a small village near Northallerton. Its a bit off the usual routes so I have never been through it previously. However, the local CTC group ( now Cycling UK) have installed an old style CTC winged wheel logo on a pub there. We along with other local cyclists had been invited to the unveiling of the said plaque.

So off we set up through Appleton Wiske and instead of turning right through the village, we turned left and on to Wellbury.

Other cyclists were already congregating and we were happy to buy some crisps and a pint of lime and lemonade before the introduction by Janet De Bourg the local chairwoman.

gathering of the cyclists
winged wheel emblem
Janet De Bourg and Cheryl the landlady

We choose to ride back through Hutton Rudby and down through Skutterskelfe to Stokesley and home through Newby just to get a few more miles in.

Friday also dawned with sunshine and we were out early to a longer way to Cozy Coffee, the lovely little coffee bus near Brafferton. So off we went , through Norton and up towards Hurworth butn but we turned off and went on the road to Trimdon Village andinto Bishop Middlesham.

in the land of the Prince Bishops

We then carried on through Fishburn, Ferryhill and down to Chilton. It is many years since I was last there, and like other places, it has spread out with new housing.

We stopped near the library, thankful for a place to sit out of the sun and had second breakfast. Fortified, we then started off and used the cycleway down to Rushyford and then on quite lanes to Shildon. We didn’t stop at Locomotion the railway museum this time but used the cycle way back into Newton Aycliffe and with great care crossed the end of the dual carriage way into Aycliffe Village before having to rejoin the main road for a short diatnce down hill. Turning left , we climbed the hill and crossed the bridge over the A1 before getting our chocolate muffins at Rosie’s place. It was so lovely to see her looking well.

We made our way home through Great Stainton and Bishopton.

By now we had clocked up more than 90 miles in the two days so Saturday was to be a shorter day which was just as well the temperature was due to hit 30C which for us is very unusual. I warned DH in advance that I was going to swim in the sea. I tried on both my swimming costumes only to discover one was far too big and the other while loose was wearable.

So we rode to Redcar and I confidently walked to the water. I felt like I was 17 and not 70! I did enjoy the swim while DH looked after the cycles. The beach was busy with many families and reminded me of how it was in the 1960s when I was a volunteer lifeguard on the beaches at South Shields.

Redcar Beach with the now defunct steel works in the background

Then it was home through Marske and a stop to eat at Kirkleatham Museum. There is an exhibition of tapestry weaving that I had a quick look at but I will be going back in September to see in more detail.

On th e way , we rode through Lazenby village to see another CTC logo. This time not on a public house. It had been on the pub next door but when it was refurbished , it was taken down and binned. The neighbour rescued it and put it on his house. I hope he doesn’t get too many cyclists calling in.

in Lazenby village not on the pub.

So this week, we cycled 120 miles. So YTD 3264miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 11, 2021

The best laid plans——–

Well, I was back to work this week and managed to get in two short rides. I had a dental appointment on Thursday afternoon, so after the dental treatment, there wasn’t time. So we decided on a nice route for Friday and all was ready to go out early. That was until 5.00am Friday morning.

I had slept well but woke up feeling slightly sick. I never suffered with morning sickness during pregnancy and that phase of life is well behind me. As the feeling increased , I decided the bathroom would be a good place to go. Good call as just after I got there , I vomited violently. DH heard me and came along to see what was going on. A good job he did as I was about to collapse on the floor.

Well, after another bout, he got me back into bed and I slept most of the day, just waking to drink. I took a lateral flow test to be on the safe side but it was negative . Phew, thank goodness for that.

Well, on Saturday, I still didn’t feel like I was operating on all cylinders and had no appetite and a raw throat. However , today, I am back to normal. Strange how these things happen.

So 14 miles to add to my yearly total. YTD 3144 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 4, 2021

Back in the swing

Well, after we got home from the Golden Wedding tour , I was really tired. I still had time not working because we had planned 6 weeks off. DH tends not to like being away for too long, hence our carrying on day after day.

However, by the 19th June , I was recovered enough to go out cycling once again. It was one of our usual routes up to Hurworth Burn and then back via Hartlepool on a beautiful sunny day.

Then a couple of days later , we had a lovely trip out to Eppleby for a scone and hot chocolate. Then there were a few other other shorter rides. It was lovely to these swans with cygnets .

fluffy cygnets

Last Sunday, we looked at the weather and saw it was much better further north. A quick phone call to a little campsite about 10 miles saw us then quickly getting our gear together to load up the car early Monday morning.

bikes on a tow ball carrier

We got up to Oakbank farm and got set up and then went for a little pootle of a ride. This took us past this church in Closeburn.

remains of who knows what in church grounds
parish church
not a gargoyle but a scary bird

Then up through Thornhill and back across a gravel path on the golf course that took us into Cample before rejoining the same road back.

Tuesday was beautiful and we set out again to Thornhill to pick up minor roads on the other side of the A76. This took us through to Penpont. Penpont has a free tool point for minor bike adjustments. We didn’t need it . There was a road closed sign but it wasnt so we got through. The hills looked delightful.

River Nith in the background

Then we turned along towards Dunscore and picked up a larger B road into Dumfries. We were lucky in that there was a convoy system through some road works and this allowed us to get onto the A76 and ride into the town without any traffic until we were into town.

We had taken lunch with us , so sat in the sunshine outside a place called the Bridge that had a lot of picnic benches as well as being just across from a shopping centre.

Then we got onto NCN7 and then it took us off to route 10.

sculpture of Macmillan who invented the safety cycle.

The road was a fairly steady climb on virtually empty roads and tracks to Ae forest.

Belted Galloway cattle

It was good to see these cows on ‘home ground’ of Dumfries and Galloway.

near Ae

On the way from the village of Ae , we came across these cyclists. One on a handcycle that he uses offroad as well.

nothing stops this chap on his hand cycle with electric assistance

Then very soon we were flying down the road past Loch Ettrick with plenty of swimmers and paddle boarders.

stunning sunset

We went home on Wednesday in the light drizzle.

On Friday I got a real surprise when DH suggested going out to Pateley Bridge to go up to Coldstone Cut. Its near the top of Greenhow Hill and is Yorkshires Machu Picchu. Well actually, its an art installation that we have ridden past a lot of times , without climbing up. The views were stunning.

quarry behind the installation.

So , these rides have added up to 211 miles plus the 1132 miles of our trip. So that is a total of 3130 miles in total for this year.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 26, 2021

Golden Wedding Tour – Part 5

Saturday 5th June 2021

Before setting off on this trip , I had done a bit of research on crossing the Thames , as I didn’t want to ride through London. The government website showed that the crossing can be crossed by bicycle – in vans that they will be take you through in. I had contacted them and they told me to ring the day before they would be needed. If you just have a bicycle its just turn up, but with our luggage a prior warning was needed.

So after the wet Friday, it was pleasant to set off in sunshine. After using Komoot in the touring mode , which took us on some unsuitable off road paths, I switched it to road riding and we were off heading north.

The route took us to the east of East Grinstead and then through open countryside to pick up the Yew Tree way and up through Edenbridge and then a climb up to Sundridge where we stopped on a corner to have 2nd breakfast. There were plenty of other cyclists about too on such a beautiful day.

By now we had cycled a little over 20 miles and so were ready for the break in such hot sunshine.

The roads were fairly quiet despite being not too far off the M25 and after crossing it, these were the photos I took.

It didn’t seem too long before we were on the run into the Dartford crossing.

………………..
Dartford crossing – bridge and tunnel

The traffic was nose to tail all the way but the cycle track was clean sailing. We were pleased to shelter from the hot sun under a bus shelter where we could phone to tell them we had arrived.

Dartford crossing phone

We were told they wouldn’t be long and they weren’t. When they realised that we had so much luggage another van turned up to disgorge 2 cyclists who were riding the M25 route – well on the nearest roads to it. Apparently about 180 miles plus in the day. phew in that heat!

So our gear was loaded into one van with us and the other took our bikes and another cyclist too and soon we were whisked through the tunnel to the other side where we were unloaded.

luggage
other van with bikes

The shuttle left us in West Thurrock and we were soon on a cycle track as soon as we had oriented ourselves.

There was a lot of crossing roads to keep on the correct cycle way but we eventually found Chapel Farm in Orsett that I had contacted the previous day. Owner Margaret could not have been more helpful. I asked about a washing machine and she supplied us with powder and conditioner too. DH asked if they sold eggs. They didnt , as they just bought from the local shop but she brought us 6 from her own kitchen – all with out extra charge!!!

During the evening , we saw a few paraglider type things with a fan behind. Must have a proper name but I don’t know it.

blurred but you get the idea.

Sunday 6th June 2021.

our destination for this day was near Hatfield so we could visit another old kayaking friend. I had contacted Premier inn and booked a room for the night in Welwyn Garden City. So our route took us north and then swung us west to skirt around greater London. This took us through places I have heard of Brentwood, Kelvedon Hatch and Chipping Ongar. When we got to a little place with a lovely village pond, Matching Green, we stopped to eat.

Matching Green

From here, for the most part , we were on a marked cycleway all the way to out hotel. We asked about the price of a taxi into Hatfield and were told about £5. So we booked and it was actually £21 each way!! The hotel chap was shocked when we told him later adn he too felt we had been ripped off. Still we got to see AM who last year had a spinal op, was discharged into a nursing home and caught Covid and almost died. She is now a long covid sufferer. We stayed just over an hour so as not to tire her too much but she said how good it was to see us.

Monday 7th June 2021

We had decided to book a Camping and Caravanning club site at Cambridge and so we were headed north east from Welwyn. The previous day , a lady trying to take a photo of us, fell over my trailer and snapped my flag. We couldn’t get the remains of the flag out and these kind chaps drilled it out for us , so we could put the flag in again. This was near Baldock.

helpful guys at Baldock
some weird web

As we were climbing a hill , we came across this tree covered in what appeared from a distance to be covered in white blossom. Getting closer it looked like some sort of fleece but I believe it is some sort of spider webs. On amother day we saw another example of this too.

?Steeple Morden church
rolling countryside.

So , it was onward to Bassingbourn cum Kneesworth and Shepreth and then crossed the M11 and on a lovely cycle way to the campsite. We got a nice welcome from Bob who showed us to a pitch with a hook up so we could charge everything up.

Tuesday 8th June 2021

This was another early start on another sunny day which was great for us – not so good for the fields and gardens though. We headed out north easterly to cross the Newmarket road ad on to NCN51 through Bottisham and Swaffham Bulbeck and Swaffham Bulbeck before leaving the NCN route and continuing NE. We padded Mildenhall before riding through Thetford. I don’t seem to have taken any photos of this day as it was a long day. We carried on through Attleborough and Wymondham and into Norwich. It was after 6pm when we arrived and we werent expected. Neil , the assistant manager , had been left for the night to keep the site ticking over. Still, he found us a pitch with hook up and then couldn’t work computer so I ended up phoning two days later to square up with them.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021

I was tired so we decided to take a more direct route to the club site at Sandringham. They could only offer us a jumbo pitch with electric , so we took it.

Although a more direct route , it was still 50 miles heading up through Dereham and the lovely little village of Great Massingham.

Gt Massingham

We eventually got onto the Peddars Way but it wasn’t good for us and there was a flooded part so we ended up getting on to the main road for a while.. We did pass this stone marker though.

Peddars Way

So when we got there , another cycle tourist was booking in. Turns out it was another Cycle Touring Festival attendee and I recognised his bottle.

CTF friend
a restored post office 3 speed bike

We had a chat and I asked about his bike. It was a restored steel framed 3 speed post office bike and he was riding it , instead of his usual tourer just to make it different.

Thursday 10th June 2021.

It was a nice morning and we set off for Kings Lynn along a nice cycle route that was virtually traffic free. I wanted to see Andy who makes the templates for quilting. He made the templates for the lettering on our cycle tops that I made.

Andy of Crafty-UK quilt template maker
outskirts of Kings Lynn

Then , it was off through Kings Lynn itself and along the river Nene route to Tydd Gote, a lovely little welcoming camp site at the end of a country road. It was so sheltered that even most of the locals we asked didn’t know it was there. It was in the region of Wisbech. We did have to cross Sutton Bridge that we remembered from cycling the North Sea cycle route back in 2006.

Friday 11th June 2021

Our way ahead lay into Lincolnshire from East Anglia. I remembered the Heritage Centre in Bardney and phoned Barry to see if they still did B&B in the railway wagons. They don’t use the wagons in this way now but have made bedrooms in the old Engine House.

So onwards through the flat fenlands and to Holbeach where we stopped to by supplies. Then we followed NCN1 and crossed the Fosdyke and on into Boston with its stump of a church tower.

Boston Stump

As we rode across these fertile lands , we saw fields being planted in a modern way.

planting the fields

After Boston, we rode along the river Witham to Bardney and enjoyed a good night . Barry serves fish and chips on Friday and Saturday evenings and I have to say they were delicious. This is from someone who doesn’t care for this English speciality.

So we enjoyed a very comfortable evening at the Heritage Centre.

Saturday 12th June 2021

After a lovely breakfast cooked by Barry, we set off northwards through Wragby and on to Market Rasen. This town seems to have grown since we last rode through so stopped at a supermarket to restock. After this was a climb up onto the Licolnshire wolds , that we visited last year. This was on the western side though.

Then it was a nice downhill and and a couple stopped to chat.

thinking of taking a cycle tour
1000 miles

They had seen our tops and wanted to ask about the trip as they were thinking of cycle touring themselves.

We stayed on this other quirky campsite near the banks of the Hull estuary near New Holland.

Sunday 13th June 2021

Sunday was another beautiful day and the campsite manager told us a quite way to get to the Humber Bridge. Until recently, it had been closed to pedestrians and cyclists so we were glad it had reopened.

We rode into Barton on Humber and recognised the way to the bridge. I don’t know how many times we have crossed this bridge in both directions over the years. The first time we rode to Lincolnshire about 40 years ago, the bridge was still being constructed.

humber bridge

Once over the bridge, it was a fairly short ride to Beverley .

The window of a quilt teacher I know

As we left Beverley I spotted this house of a very good quilt teacher I know. We had to stop but she had gone to see her mother in a care home. The first time in over a year for her.

Then it was onwards on MCN through Cherry Burton but at Tibthorpe we got on a main road to Wetwang and then on to Sledmere. They have opened a coffee shop up now so we stopped and got some refreshments before heading up in the Wolds way cycle routeand passed Settrington Beacon.

Settrington Beacon.

Now on what I regard as home territory, I took some photos. I love these wolds.

Yorkshire Wolds

Then it was onwards to our friends in Rillington where we had a lovely meal. It was so good to meet up with kayaking friends we haven’t seen in a good few years. Friendships forged over years of helping each other to haul boats on rivers, canals and sea have been renewed on this trip.

Monday 14th June 2021

DH was so near home that he wanted to do it in one day. I agreed to try and I did it. All 73 miles of it. We rode through the Howardian Hills, another beautiful English countryside landscape. Once in Easingwold ,we stopped and enjoyed second breakfast in the market place. People stopped to chat when they noticed our tops.

So we were really on the homeward stretch and took the familiar route home through Asenby and Northallerton.

In total we rode 1132 miles on this trip. I could not have done it without my beautiful Koga traveller e-bike.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 25, 2021

Golden wedding tour 2021 – part 4.

Sunday, 30th May 2021

Libby had other guests arriving so we headed off early with her and Pip accompanying us to the Bristol- Bath cycle route. It was another beautiful day and we found ourselves on the Two tunnels route.

part of the two tunnels route.

It really was a beautiful flat route for the most part with plenty of places to pull off and just sit and admire the views.

All too soon , we were in Bath , a place we have both ridden and Kayaked through in previous years and then we rode alongside the River Avon to Bradford on Avon. It was along here that we came across Lau who was riding a folding e-bike. He had suffered a puncture so we stopped to see if we could help.

trying to help

His wheels were 20×1.75” but he had read that slimmer tyres would be faster so had a shop put on 20 x 1.25”. Maybe it was the heat, but despite our best efforts, we could not get the tyre to stay on the rim. In the end, the poor chap had to walk back to Bradford on Avon where his car was.

Then it was on to the Wiltshire cycleway as we headed east to a small site, Copse Farm at Great Chalford near Holt. It was a working dairy farm but had a shower and a place for us to recharge our batteries. It was also a short ride of under 30 miles so we were able to rest in the sunshine as well.

Monday 31st May 2021

It was another scorcher of a day as we set off southwards to cross the river Avon and then the Kennet and Avon canal before riding through Trowbridge and stopping to resupply. Then it was on through Westbury and up to Upton Scudamore alongside a very busy road. We spoke to a lady who told us if we followed the lane , we would be able to get through onto a quite road. Unfortunately, after riding down it , we came to a locked gate.

Upton Scudamore locked gate

After riding back up , we turned and crossed a bridge over the road and then rode down Warminster Lane North and crossed the road again and rode a track onto the road we had been trying to get to. Then it was through Warminster and beyond to Norton Bavant. Here we came into the AONB of Cranborne Chase and West Wiltshire Downs.

Wilthshire Downs
enjoying the views

There was quite a steep climb up , but on such a lovely day it was worth it. Then onwards south, we went to a village with the name of Sixpenny Hanley on a bit of a lumpy route . We settled in nicely once we had found where to book in at Church Farm caravan and camping park and with a hook up too.

Tuesday 1st June 2021

We had to retrace our route for a while and then past Garston Wood nature reserve and onto Bowerchalke where there was a very steep hill that almost defeated me coming to a bit of a main road where I had to stop. Never mind DH came to my rescue. I did notice water cress being grown in a ‘field’ for want of a better term.

WE then continued north and picked up the Wiltshire cycle way into Salisbury where we visited the cathedral and stopped in the shade of a tree for 2nd breakfast.

Salisbury Cathedral
very busy with visitors
beautiful stonework

We then continued east towards Winchester but the day was very hot and so we decided to find the campsite which I had not been too sure about. I had right to be. Turned out it was now run by Albanians with very little English language and it was an old Caravan club listed site with no facilities apart from a water tap and chemical toilet emptying point. They wanted to church us £30 – I said no way . There was no other patronage so they reduced it to £20.

Here is how we cope without a toilet.

our Little John

Wednesday 2nd June 2021

I needed a rest day but we werent going to stay on that site so I found another at Alton on the other side of Winchester. We had a lazy start which for us means not getting up until after 6am and headed down into Winchester as I wanted to see the cathedral. My interest was peeked by reading the Last Kingdom series of books by Bernard Cornwell.

So we still arrived early by the standard of most visitors and I had a nice chat with the chap selling tickets. I recognised his accent and it turns out , he was raised in my home town too.

Gateway to the city
High Altar
Jane Austin memorial
textile work
more textiles

I have lots more photos but don’t want to overload you with too many but here’s my happy face.

outside Winchester Cathedral.

We then wandered through the city and found a cycle hub. We bought what we thought was a 16 x 1.75” inner tube but when we needed it later turned out to be way to big at 26”. Hopefully someone might need it . If you are in the UK and need a 26” inner tube , I will send it to you.

We then did another ‘detour’ but eventually found Keeper Lodge just outside Alton. It was a quirky site with lots of old military vehicles etc and they are trying to turn it into a museum if permission is granted. The owner is also an e-bike enthusiast. There are lots of animals about the place too.

Thursday 3rd June 2021

We had contacted a cycle touring friend in Horsham so knew we had a place to stay camping in his garden. It was again another beautiful sunny day, after the coo, of the previous evening. We rode up through Alton and crossed a bridge over the Alton bypass and then along a climb over the Farnham road. Part of the way was off road which we found hard with the trailers .

view after leaving Alton
part of South down way

Then later it was down through Haslemere on the Surrey cycleway. This was better as it was on road but we got a little mixed up near Alfold Crossways. Here we were up and down roads and eventually when we had decided to try the only road we hadn’t tried, we sat out of the sun in a bus shelter to eat and drink.

Near Dunsfold Aerodrome – no way through for us
detour two near Cox Green

Eventually, we found the right way into Horsham and we so thankful to John and Claire for camping in their beautiful garden.

private garden camping

As the evening progressed John did a lovely BBQ and then we retired to bed. During the night, it started to rain which didn’t bode well for the next day.

Friday 4th June 2021

We were right and it continued to rain as we got packed up. I phoned the Travelodge in East Grinstead and booked us a room for the night. This was the day we would ride to the London Temple where we were married for time and eternity in 1971.

So although it was a flatish ride, in the pouring rain , it wasn’t the best as the rain was relentless as we headed along the Crawley-Horsham cycle route and then picked up the Surry cycleway once again. Some of the way was around Heathrow airport.The temple surprised us as it came into view as its a lot of years since we have been here.

still smiling despite the weather.
London Temple
A group of missionaries gathering before returning to their own countries

So we had a 5 miles ride into East Grinstead and I cant speak too highly of Helene and Claire who looked after us at the Travelodge. They could not have been more welcoming and did their best to make sure we got to a lovely room where we could put bikes and trailers. The perfect end to our day

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 23, 2021

Golden Wedding Tour 2021 – part 3

Bristol was a rest day. DH took the time to thoroughly clean and check the bikes over while I went swanning off.

I had arranged to meet up with another cycling friend who I met through the Cycle Touring Festival, Caroline the Poet.

I am old fashioned and always think of her as a poetess.

We met and rode up in a beautiful Victorian cemetery, and on the way we stopped to admire the view of the Clifton suspension bridge, across the city.

one of the information boards
Caroline the poetess

We stopped and had some refreshments after our riding up the hill and then had a wander around to see war graves and those who gave their lives for us today.

Then it was back down to Libby’s and we met some of her Polish dog walking friends. They were most surprised when I greeted them in my very limited Polish but said I had a great accent. Later they gifted us some Polish chocolates which over the course of the next week, we rationed ourselves to eat. They were yummy.

In the evening, we cycled over towards the Suspension bridge and picked up some take away Chinese food to picnic on the grass overlooking Clifton. It was such a beautiful evening and many others had a similar idea but everyone was very good about social distancing.

DH and Libby at Clifton suspension bridge

We also had a tour of local spots of interest. I particularly loved the old iron work and could see a quilting pattern in this balcony,

beautiful iron work
look at those house colours

All to soon, it was time to leave as Libby had other guests arriving to stay on Sunday evening. Libby has a lovey sight hound Pip that she rescued in Spain. He is the loveliest dog and rides in a backpack on her front , looking like a baby kangaroo.

Libby and Pip the sight hound

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 23, 2021

Golden Wedding Tour – part 2

Monday 24th May 2021

The morning was dry but cool as we left Culceth and headed south into Warrington, mainly on cycleways to cross a number of main roads. We got a little confused but eventually found our way to the Manchester road when we talked with a man on an e-bike going in a similar direction. Here there was a reasonable crossing and we picked up a route along the river Mersey, crossing it at Westy and then through a nice estate and across the Manchester ship canal.

second breakfast stop

By now the weather had warmed up and we found a nice picnic area to stop and have second breakfast. The route was reasonably flat for this morning ride into Kelsall. From here, to the east of Chester, we kept to quite countryside roads and small Cheshire towns and villages until we came to NCN70 the Cheshire cycle way as we headed west and then south on NCN45, the Mercian way to cross the Shropshire Union Canal.

Then we diverged away towards Tattenhall and crossed the main Whitchurch road twice before making a ‘detour’ until we got to the campsite at the Durham Heifer which used to be a pub. The owners took it over as a cafe just before the first lockdown but have managed to keep going although only opening for food on a weekend.

Tuesday 25th May 2021

From Broxton, we again followed the Mercian way along the Shrewsbury road until we came to our first flood across the road. It wasn’t to be our last due to all the rain that has fallen during early May in the north.

flooded roads

To be honest, I was a bit nervous of going through it but after DH went through , I just got on with it. The sun got higher in the sky and warmer and we came into Whitchurch to restock at a local shopping centre. Carrying on we came to an English Heritage property which I was able to visit briefly.

Moreton Corbett Castle

It is thought that there was a fortified structure here as far back as 1086 in Anglo-Saxon times. Then it was replaced by a stone built castle and during the civil war, it changed hands a number of times and was badly damaged. It continued to deteriorate and fell into disuse in the 18th C. It is still owned by the Corbett family but managed by English Heritage. It is free to visit.

We continued on through Shawbury and into Shrewsbury where we had another small campsite, Coton Hill Farm. It was very central but is no longer a farm. They were able to provide us with a hook-up to charge our batteries.

Wednesday 26th May 2021.

This was to prove to be the most difficult day of the trip being over 60 miles and over 4600 ft of climbing. It was a lovely morning as we set out. We knew we were going to a cycle touring friend in Ledbury and so had a place to pitch in his garden.

So we set off to cross the Shropshire Hills area of outstanding natural beauty and it was. The climbing was tough and not long after Broadstone, DH got a puncture in his trailer tyre. This gave me opportunity to take a few photos as he changed to tube and I did a repair.

puncture repair one

The trailers do not have Schwalbe Marathon tyres and we should probably invest in some for puncture protection. Anyway, it was onwards and upwards, rising and falling our way across beautiful countryside with Birmingham east of us and Ludlow to the West.

Nearing Knowbury, after a steep climb , we came to a church where we sat outside for lunch.

lunchtime

Then I walked a little way down the road to take this view

Shropshire Hills

Then it was down through Witton and Tenbury Wells before finding our way through Bromyard. Its strange how we get expectations of places. It was a lovely little market town that I had been expecting to be much more industrial.

I dont know exactly where this awful track was but Komoot took us down here. It wasnt too bad at first but then deteriorated to this. It was a real challenge but we made it through onto a proper track.

Then there was a much less hilly route into Ledbury where we found Geoff our CTF friend and camped in his garden. He made us a wonderful vegan chickpea curry.

camp in the garden Ledbury

Thursday 27th May 2021

We had a shorter day planned as we wanted to go to an LDS history site called Gadfield Elm. It was a beautiful sunny day and the first time, it was warm enough to wear the tops i had made for us.

It was amazing how wearing these tops, connected us with other cyclist, motorcyclist and vehicle drivers who all passed by with whoops and cheers and congratulations. To keep us on quiet roads our route took us north easterly from Ledbury but then swung south through Eastnor and then across a bridge over the M50 and down to Gadfield Elm. Unfortuantely , due to Covid , the place was locked but we could see inside.

In about 1840, Wilford Woodruff was sent to preach the restored gospel in England and at Gadfield Elm , he found a congregation of 600 United brethren. He was invited to preach to them, and almost all joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and thus the chapel was used. Then in 1842, the chapel was sold and the people emigrated to the United States to begin the journey west.

In about 1994, the old by now dilapidated chapel came on the market and some members in the Cheltenham and surrounding areas decided to buy it and renovate it as it was the first LDS chapel in the world – before any in the US. After the renovation , it was gifted to the church as a museum piece.

Gadfield Elm Chapel
entrance way
interior of the chapel

I was able to take these photos by putting the camera on a through glass setting and putting it right up against the glass.

It should have been a short ride to the campsite , Little Brangwells outside of Redmarley D’Abitot. What a job we had finding it and we clocked up 10 miles just finding the place. It was a quiet little farm site ad despite talking to people in the village, no-one seemed to know of its existence. Such seems to be the case with these little tiny sites.

There was a chap working in the area who talked for ages but this is the fun of being on the small sites.

Friday 28th May 2021

It was another beautiful day as we left the campsite and headed south towards Gloucester on part of the Newent cycling loop but then headed east and had to ride on the main road for a short while and then picked up NCN45 to the west of Gloucester. We contiued on through Epney and Frampton upon Severn until we came to the Sharpness Canal towpath which was not good towing my trailer. I did have a fall and the trailer went over as there were so many deep ruts- well more like channels in the towpath with grass on the top of each. I decided to walk along as I didnt want another fall.

a better bit of towpath Sharpness Canal

About 2/3rds of the way to Bristol , when we came across a really big flood.

flood to big to ride through.

We had ridden through a few fords and small floods but this was just too deep and unknown. It was a small road and then a Range Rover came up behind us. We had to really squeeze up into the hedge so that they could pass. We asked the driver if he knew how far and how deep it was but he had no idea. He did however, shout back that it was at last another 30 feet around the corner. We could also see it came half way up his wheels, so there was nothing else to do but turn back.

We found a sign for the 18 Filton link cycle route and followed it to cross the M5 and then head back through Tytherington. It was school leaving time and I have to report , this was probably the worst driver lack of awareness I saw on the entire journey. It was downright scary at times with high speed and close passes.

Then it was through the sprawling suburbs of Bristol to find our friend Libby’s house , to the south of the centre.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | June 20, 2021

Golden Wedding Cycle Tour 2021

OK it isnt actually our 50th wedding anniversary until later in the year but that wont be a good time for a long cycle tour so we decided to do it in May and June.

May 21st. The weather could only be described as dire – wet and decidedly chilly. Not even 10C so we left the house early in full wet weather gear . We even had on 2 jackets each!!

We took our usual route up through Yarm and then at Appleton Wiske , we climbed up to Great Smeaton and then along through East Cowton and along to Great Langton. Here we joined NCN71 and followed it across through Leeming and into Bedale. By now the rain was only a drizzle and we stopped at a bakers and bought bread buns and some meat in the local butchers to have later as a sandwich.

The route had been fairly flat but the small climbs began after this as we journeyed on to Thornton Watlass and then took the smaller quieter road to Masham. There was a car park at Hack Falls but it was just too wet to walk to see the falls.

Hack Falls car Park

The rain began to come on heavier again and as we came into the village of Grewelthorpe, the rain was pounding down. We spotted a small community run cafe in the village hall ad I went in to ask if they had any hot chocolate. Although the chap had cashed up- being such a rotten day- he let us in and made us a drink and we had a home made brownie each. It was so welcome in that rain.

After this, it was back out into te not quite as heavy rain as we climbed up to Kirby Malzeard and across the moors of Nidderdale to our first nights campsite just outside of Pateley Bridge. This small farm site, New Causeway Farm is one of the small certificated sites of the Camping and Caravanning club. We were given a warm welcome and got pitched up. The tumble dryer was offered for our use and we did dry off our waterproofs when the rain died down a bit. Across the valley we could see the ‘golf balls’ of Menwith Hill.

We were able to put up our tarp to give us more room to cook under out of the rain.

tent and tarp.

Saturday 22nd May 2021

Well, although it was cool , at least it wasn’t raining at the start of the day. We got packed up and rode down into the valley and then up into Pateley Bridge. Then the climbing began. I am so thankful for my lovely Koga e-bike that allows me to cope with hills.

I have longed to go up to Coldstone Cut but again the weather was against us. Coldstone is apparently Yorkshire’s Machu Picchu, but an art installation. Rain was now coming down cold at the top of Greenhow Hill and there was no way I was going up with a full load. So another day we will go there.

Greenhow Hill near Coldstone Cut.
God’s own country

Thankfully, just after this , is a nice long descent that goes down to Appletreewick on NCN 688. As we got lower, the rain abated a bit and it was fairly pleasant going into Burnsall and a bit later we found a bus shelter at Hippings Lane end where we sat to have a bite to eat. Carrying on we passed through Cracoe, where we once stayed on a horrible wet day, and down into Gargrave. By now , it started to warm up a bit and there were plenty of cyclists about. The local public toilets here have been taken over by a charitable trust to keep them open.

We continued on along what became NCN68, the Pennine Cycleway before turning off to cycle along to Guisburn and Chatburn and into Clitheroe. We even passed Waddow Hall where we hope to meet up with other cycle touring friends in September, all going well. In Waddington, we got a little confused but finally got on the correct route according to Komoot on the Old Clitheroe roadbut ended up climbing Birdy Brow. Apparently , this is not the best way to go and DH had to get off an push his bike. At this point I should explain he had a lot of weight carrying 4 extra batteries for us both as well as all the other heavy stuff.

By now the sun was shining as we climbed again and then I had a phone call. It was my friend Kate whose husband thought he saw us passing the road end. She thought at first he was joking, but I was ever so glad to stop and go back down to their farm. So ended day 2 on the road.

nearing the Clitheroe

Sunday 23rd May 2021

Kate asked which route we were riding and we told her we had allowed Komoot to decided. She said she would come with us across to Chorley where we wanted to take photographs of the temple we usually attend. I have to say, she did a brilliant job keeping up with us on her non electric touring bike but probably the extra weight on our bikes compensated for the empty bike she was riding.

It really was up hill and down dale heading through Ribchester and then crossing the River Ribble and climbing once more up above Blackburn.

Lancashire
a view of Pendle Hill (I believe)

Then we dropped down onto the Leeds Liverpool towpath before coming up and having to negotiate one of those really annoying barriers where we had to strip off panniers etc to get through. However, we could see the temple just across the way.

Preston temple , Chorley
Kate at the gate

Then it was round and into the temple grounds.

we cycled to temple no1

After having lunch on a bench , we said our farewells to Kate who decided to return a much flatter way home via Preston and we carried on south.

We had the promise of another bed for the night near Warrington and so rode through Chorley to pick up the Leeds Liverpool Canal again. It was alright to start with but once on the outskirts of Adlington, we had a bit of a problem finding the way back onto the canal. Eventually , we did but came across so many difficult cycle impeding barriers , that we finally had enough and found a different route.

trying and failing to get onto the cycle route.

The barriers meant we had to upload completely, get the bikes into a gate with a groove that the back wheel was supposed to fit into, close the gate and then then go through. Seems I was too busy getting through these that I didnt take a photo. Even without luggage it would have been a problem as the ‘groove ‘ was narrow ‘ and the back end had to be lifted to stop fouling the gear hanger.

Eventually we arrived at our 90 yo kayaking friend’s home to be greeted with Lancashire hotpot for tea. She is doing so well.

our lovely old kayaking friend from years ago.

These friendships, forged over years of mutual help on land and sea , last over the years. Thank you Nora.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | May 16, 2021

100 miles in a day

Finally at the ripe old age , I can say I have cycled 100 miles in a day. It happened on Thursday DH’s 70th birthday.

new slimmer me

I was surprised when he asked me to accompany him as he usually does his birthday solo. We didn’t intend to ride 100 miles but he suggested riding up to Jarrow to see my younger brother and then ride home. He did this alone last year and within a day or two had a mini-stroke which he has made a wonderful recovery from. Maybe, the thought of that made him ask me.

A kiss for luck

So we made an early start just after 6.00am and headed across to the Castle Eden walkway . It was a bit misty but not enough to dampen us. We came off the route at Shotton Colliery to avoid a stretch of the route we know can be very muddy. Up through Haswell and down to South Hetton where we rejoined NCN1 and rode up through the gorse lined track.

NCN1 South Hetton to Ryhope

As it wasn’t a warm day, the gorse didn’t smell as it sometimes does. It always reminds me of coconut,. I have to say the surface wasn’t the best but we manage well enough.

We missed a turning in Sunderland and ended up in road works but eventually crossed the river Wear on the Queen Alexandra bridge and then picked up NCN7 for a bit towards the Spire bridge. Then we came off the route and cycled up through West Boldon and picked up a local cycle route through Primrose and so to my brothers.

While it wasn’t sunny, it was alright sitting in the garden to chat and eat our usual second breakfast.. Then it was down to South Shields. The idea had been to get a Minchella’s ice cream at Ocean road where we used to go as teenagers. Unfortunately, it was shut, so I took this photo of a local hero, John Simpson Kirkpatrick.

Simpson and his donkey

He was with the Anzac forces in the Gallipoli campaign( part of WW1) and as a boy he worked with donkeys. He provided first aid and brought men back from the front working with donkeys in Turkey. Unfortunately , he was killed in action helping wounded soldiers. I can remember my great granda talking about him and taking me to see a much smaller bronze in the museum that this is based upon.

So we did get our ice cream later, on the seafront at a Minchella’s that was open. DH asked if we could go back through Seaham so as I was feeling fine, off we went along the coast .

Seaham Harbour.

As you can see , it was pretty mist along there. I have long wanted to see the Tommy statue there, so we asked and found it near the front.

Seaham ‘Tommy’

I have to say, decades ago as a teenager, I worked as part of my training at Seaham Hall. In those days , they did some of the first heart valve replacement operations, in what was essentially an old miners sanitorium. Its now a swish hotel and the sea front has been done up really well. There are new shops and cafe’s.

Seaham

So , off again we used an off road cycle track up to cross the A19 and found our way across the remnants of old slag heaps. This was an area riddled with coal mines. We emerged at the east end of South Hetton and its no wonder we have missed this turning on other occasions. There was a convenient bench so I pulled out the stove and made the cheese toasties but alas , I had left the flask of hot water at home. We didn’t want to wait for a kettle to boil so no hot oxo. Duh!!!

Then as we were nearing our turn off for Station Town, DH again asked how I was feeling and suggested riding through Hartlepool. So that is what we did and and came back through Cowpen Bewley. Unfortunately, as we neared Haverton Hill, DH got a puncture so it was in with a new tube.

Puncture repairing

So it was home just after 6.30pm. We arrived home to find that out Muslim neighbours we celebrating Eid and had brought our family a meal. It was so appreciated.

My monitor had recorded 101 miles but DH’s said 97. For me its a 100 and I hope you agree.

On Friday, I was shattered but DH was fresh as a daisy!!

We did have a short ride on Saturday to get another puncture repair outfit and came back along the river and through Albert Park. There is still work going on by the Environment agency but they havent destroyed all of the cowslips I love to see,

Cowslips

Next Friday , DH and I are leaving on an extended cycle tour to celebrate our 50 years of marriage. The actual date isnt until the end of the year but that’s not a good time for us to cycle tour. I hope to be able to maintain the blog as we go, but who knows.

126 miles this week and YTD1787miles

I haven’t been slow on the sewing front either. I have finished this centre part of a quilt using the patterns from the quilt show.

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