Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 28, 2015

Bardney Round

Last weekend, I needed to be in Lincoln for a work related conference and so as last year we decided to go and stay at Bardney, about 9 miles from the city. It is on the Water Rail trail and the Bardney Heritage centre is a great place to spend a night in the Bed and Breakfast run by Barry and Lynne. We first came across it in about 2008 and have seen it develop over the years.


Unusually, the bedrooms are actually old railway wagons that have been converted into a sleeping area with ensuite shower and WC.


There are two wagons with 2 beds each and a converted farming field wagon that sleeps 4. We think its great value at £30pp per night. Barry cooks breakfast in the station house which also serves as a café. They hire bicycles and specialist disabled cycles are available but he told me they are rarely used. A great shame as the trail that passes the centre is a lovely into Lincoln or down to Woodhall Spa.

We have cycled this trail a number of times so I decided we would sort out a route for ourselves. Unfortunately, the wind was vicious so we decided to head into the wind as it was blowing from the NE.

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It was hard work cycling on the B1202 but it was fairly quiet and a bit of a relief when we reached the turning for Short Ferry and climbed over the railway bridge before crossing a stream and on along past Fiskerton Fen.  Once in the village itself , we turned right towards Reepham.

This area of Lincolnshire is very flat and during WW2 , there were many airfields built. We passed a memorial to some

of the fallen airmen who gave their lives to defend our freedom


There were also a couple of poignant poems but the photos didn’t show up too well.

In Reepham itself , we stopped in a sheltered spot just after the railway line and enjoyed our breakfast as we hadn’t had it before leaving home and had brought it with us, cereal, fruit and yogurt in leak-proof boxes. Despite donning warm jackets, it was too cold to sit for long so we were soon off again turning left for Cherry Willingham.

We were surprised by a short hill and saw a lovely church with daffodils blooming on the bank.LAPTOP - IMG_1320 LAPTOP - IMG_1321

There was a chap standing with his painting easel, portraying the church and daffodils and I went over to talk to him. I thought it was unusual to be painting outdoors on such a day but he was hoping to enter a parish / diocese church painting competition.

Back along into Fiskerton, we turned down a lane and crossed Five Mile Bridge over the river Witham. It was drizzling a bit but we were wrapped for the weather so continued down to Potterhanworth Booths and  slogging along the B1190. There were plenty of cyclists coming towards us but they had the wind on their backs.

Back at Bardney, we were only too pleased to go into the café for a hot chocolate and scone and jam.

I had taken my folding Dahon Speed TR and the next day I was glad I had. Lincoln was holding a 10K run and despite the signs saying the roads would be closed from 10.00am , they were closed by 8.00am. Nothing for it, stop in a layby, unfold the cycle, don  my cycle helmet and ride where cars could not go. 17.5 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 14, 2015

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge Reopens

The iconic symbol of “the Boro”, the transporter bridge has been closed for refurbishment for the past 18 months and this week it has finally started to operate again. As it is free for the next month we decided today, we would take the opportunity to take a ride on the lowest bridge crossing of the Tees. Cyclists will be charged 60p  for crossing which takes about 4 minutes.

So we set off from home in a biting ENE wind at about 6C but it felt much colder as we cycled down Linthorpe Road and arrived at the bridge a short while before the first trip. On a Saturday it begins operating at 9.30am until 12 noon and then is closed for an hour before recommencing at 1-3pm. During the week the first crossing is at 7.15am until 6.15pm with an hour closed for lunch.IMG_1291 IMG_1292

It is closed entirely on  a Sunday so not so useful for cyclists wishing to cross.

There were a couple of cars waiting and 2 lads on bikes waiting to cross. The bridge now has enclosed but glazed areas for pedestrians and cyclists and its easy to see down the river as the gondola crosses the water.

Some years ago, there was an outcry when a TV serial was supposed to show the bridge being taken down and sold to the US for a casino to be built. People actually went down to see if it had been taken away !!

On the north side of the river, a new short stretch of cycle path has been laid.

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We cycled on and went up to Cowpen Bewley, a tiny little village near to Billingham. It has a  village green and a pub but nothing else. There is a plaque on the wall of one of the houses.IMG_1298 IMG_1299

As you can see it is called the Ivy House and was built in 1680 and repaired in 1995. We didn’t linger long as it was too cold. A couple of ladies were just mounting their horses and we were careful as we rode past. Its better to give then a wide berth and not spook them.

We cycled along to an unfamiliar part of Billingham   because out usual route was too  boggy  due to the recent rain. However,  we had an idea of the direction we needed to go and were soon on our way to the Norton crossing of the A19. We called into a supermarket and picked up a few items before cycling back down and along the river to Newport where we crossed the Tees again. Then it was a quick ride back through the town and home.

We soon had toasted crumpets and a warm drink which were needed to warm us up. Only 17.5 mls today.  This link may work to look at the route.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 7, 2015

A tough ride

We had been watching the weather forecast all week and knew that the wind would be the  main problem today. That knowledge helped us decide on the direction to start off on. The wind was to come from the SW , so we decided to head off for Northallerton. We cycled into a head wind for almost the entire way and  I have to say that DH really did help. I wished that he had a tractor beam( StarTrek wise) but he doesn’t but where possible on quiet sections , he put his hand onto my back and helped me along. He really is my helpmate. We had set off at about 8.30 am and it took us 2 and a half hours to get to the town centre in Northallerton having cycled through Thornaby, Preston Park, Yarm, Deighton and Brompton and covered about 23 miles. I was soaked in sweat but was determined to make it. I went into a local shop that sells haberdashery and bought some binding for a dress I want to make. I also bought some bananas from the street market and devoured 2. DH only had one. Bananas do not travel well in a pannier bag. IMAG0050 This is the old town hall and DH’s handle bar bag. We couldn’t sit around long as although the temperature was quite mild , the wind chill soon set in. So  after a trip to the local supermarket to use the facilities, it was great to set off on the return with the wind on our backs. What a difference in speed. We returned through Brompton and Deighton , where we took a right turn and cycled along through Welbury and East Rounton before crossing the A19 on the bridge they built a few years ago.  From there we sped along into Hutton Rudby and the village green was remarkably sheltered so we stopped there and made toasted cheese sandwiches on the tiny stove we carry, using up the last of the gas in an old canister. There was a Fish and Chip van  selling its wares and it must be good because people were queuing to get them. We noticed people were waiting in cars so it must be a regular feature on a Saturday afternoon, IMAG0053 IMAG0054 IMAG0055 Ignore these dates, I used an old camera and it seems to have the date  reverted to years ago. So feeling fed, we set off again down the hill and then up the other side. Well I made it half way up , the surface is bad and with the traffic  coming up behind   , I felt a bit unsafe so dismounted and walked the last bit. Out of the village. we climbed again and then had a lovely run down through Skutterskelf, Tame Bridge and on into Stokesley , having another brief stop. This run down enabled me to get up into top gear and it did feel good. We continued on climbing up and then running down to Tanton . This road was busy at this time of day, now being after 2.30pm but car drivers were pretty good , on the whole giving us room as they passed. We wanted to get 50 miles in , so cycled down and then went through Coulby Newham, down cycle route 65 and along the fairly new Linear Park that I have written about previously. We did get our chosen mileage in coming in at 50.7 miles. I was so glad to get into the shower when I got home.  What  a great  but tough day. I feel so blessed  to still have the ability to complete a trip on a day like today.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 1, 2015

Spring is coming soon.

The days are becoming noticeably longer and we have started our early morning rides when its not icy or heavy rain. We set out about 6.00am when it is first light and mainly have been riding our usual river ride but between 10-12 miles on average. We arrive home about 7.00am ready to start the day.

It is noticeable that nature is waking up. The snowdrops are still blooming but they have been joined by crocuses and just yesterday I saw my first daffodils. Trees are also budding and it won’t be  long before the catkins are out. I love this time of year. It has been quite windy at times but at least I am blessed with the health to be able to get out in the fresh air.


Yesterday, I took the opportunity to ride to Redcar with my friend A. She and I met up and I have to say she set a cracking pace along through Eston, Lazeby and Kirkleatham before we took a cycle track down into Redcar to the official opening of a new cycle friendly café called Route 1. It is just near the Clock tower in the town centre.LAPTOP - Facebook-20150301-082751

This is a private enterprise and well worth supporting. They provide employment for some young people with learning difficulties and autism. The food is good and there is indoor cycle parking so you can see your bike at all times. Because of budget cuts, Sustrans employees will be having their contracts terminated at the end of March. its very sad because they have some such good work in supporting local cyclists.

Then   at 11.00am  we went on a 6mls ride with the local ride leader. There were only a few of us and the wind was blowing quite hard as we ploughed into it along the prom. Coming back , it wasn’t so bad but the sky was really darkening and rain threatened.LAPTOP - redcarprom

On our return journey home, we were joined by Y and C who had ridden over from Yarm. There was a bit of mizzle (very light rain) in the air but it didn’t amount to much but the wind was head on all the way blowing from the west mainly.

So during the last week I have cycled a little over 100 miles so feeling good .

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 4, 2015

snow day


Yesterday, we awoke to a white world and by 9.00am there was a beautiful blue sky. As I had a free morning , we decided to have a snow ride . So the largely unused mountain bikes , with wider knobbly tyres , were got out to ride.
After the tyre pressure was inflated to 45 psi , we set off up to Devil’s bridge which is the start of our volunteer looking after the paths route.
I have to say I was a little nervous to begin but the tyres gripped well and confidence returned and we enjoyed the crisp morning air.

We rode along the linear park and on though Albert Park


Here we saw that the lake was frozen with snow lying on the ice. Ducks were sitting on the ice so I suppose they have well insulated bottoms!

Workmen were clearing the outlet of the beck as it was full of debris ranging from branches to balls.


Then it was down through town and onto the river path. We were very surprised to see virtually no snow and Portrack Marshes were clear.


The 2 little blogs on the horizon are the towers of Newport Bridge . We rode along the north bank of the river and crossed this bridge before retuning home. Only 14 miles but it’s great to be able to make the most of a sunny if cold day.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 31, 2015

short ride.

We had hoped for a decent ride today after heavy rain over night. We thought it would wash away the remains of the snow which has lingered on the cycle paths. No such luck.

We attempted to go out about 10.00am but then it rained heavily. A neighbour came and offered me some fabric she had bought but wouldn’t now use so that took up another hour or so. By this time it had faired up, a bit , so as we had our cycling attire on we set off up the good cycle track on NCN 65. There was slush and ice in unpredictable patches so we had to take great care. Once at Ladgate Lane, we turned left and rode along to Easterside estate and came down on the road. The Linear park has a place for a stream and its usually almost empty. Not today.IMG_1268

The rain and snow melt had water rushing through . Indeed DH remarked we could have gone kayaking on it today. We just home from here having only completed 6 miles. The windchill was also a factor in a swift return. So looking forward to spring.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 25, 2015

First long ride of 2015

The weather in the early part of the moth was not too good with very high, gusting winds and we had rain and snow too.  This curtailed my rides to shorter trips but the weather forecast for 24th looked fine.

We had an objective for the day and that was to reccy a field belonging to our friend Carole, to see if it might make a suitable overnight camp venue.  DS1 checked over the Optimus multifuel stove , while I assembled cheese sandwiches in toaster bags to take with us. At this time of the year, when temperatures are low, we find that the petrol stove gives the best performance. Even a mix of butane and propane doesn’t seem to burn too well.  The cold tends to inhibit the mixture gassing off to burn.

So about 10.30am , we rode from home, crossed the A19 on the footbridge and after passing Teesside Park, gained the river.  The footbridge was icy and so I took care not to slip on black ice. We decided to cross the river at the Barrage and ride along in to Stockton on the north side of the river. Unfortunately, there is still work going on and there were some walkers milling round because of a diversion sign. We rode along to check if it really was closed and it is completely fenced off temporarily. So back up the track  and we could report back to the walkers that they would have to cross at the barrage.

We went up and along past the caravan park and the supermarket to pass through the  industrial estate to Stockton. Crossing the market place, which is still being renovated , we followed NCN14 up and through the underpass towards Hartburn.

Here the traffic was busy and care needs to be taken crossing as the cars accessing the A66 take little regard to cyclists. However , once safely across we rode along through Elton and Long Newton before riding the A167 until the sign directs you into what appears to be a wood. In fact , this is the old road to Long Newton which was cut off when the newer road was constructed.  It was here we came across the remains of snow and ice, it being shaded from the sunlight.

We decided to avoid cycling through the Whinneys nature reserve because from past experience , we knew it would be very wet  even if not icy. So we diverted off NCN14 and followed the road down towards Middleton One Row instead of going to Middleton St George. I was a bit concerned , as at the best of times , hills and I  aren’t the best of friends!! As its been a while , I wondered if I would be off walking. I need not have worried. I managed to climb them all. Slow and steady wins the race.  Well it gets me up them, dropping into a lower gear and keeping my eye on something regularly spaced such as cats eyes in the road , I count the number of peddle strokes as I go from one to the next. its not for raod racers but it works for this mature woman ( old biddy.)

We had the OS reference and found the field but the gate was locked and we didn’t feel like hopping over the gate. We have since been given instructions on how to access it , so next time. I am so looking forward to camping but I do get that feeling at this time of year.

So another descent and climb had us into the outskirts of Yarm and decided to have our toasties in Preston Park.  It was fairly blowy but we were able to shelter near the bandstand.IMG_1267

It wasn’t actually too cold as we sat having a hot drink and the sandwich.  I love being out especially in the sunshine.  Soon we were on our way home and completed 27 miles getting home about 2.30pm.  I know its not far for some people but its a nice start for me.


Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 3, 2015

A hike and then bike day

Well the 1st and 2nd of January did not see us out on the roads, partly due to high winds but also DH was continuing on home improvements. Today, there was a hike scheduled up to Captain Cooks monument near Gribdale. The meeting time was 10.00am and we thought we might cycle up but it was still dark at 8.00am with a dense cloud cover, so we chickened out of cycling.  We went up there by car and met with friends from our extended church group.

The walk up to the monument is relatively easy but was muddy so I walked in wellington boots.IMG_1245

Captain James Cook was born in a suburb of the Boro and went to school in the village of Great Ayton before becoming apprenticed and then becoming a sailor. He is a local hero because of his exploration of our beautiful planet is nothing more than a wind powered sailing ship.

The views from the hill are stunning on a clear day. Today was a bit misty but even so I took a few photos.IMG_1243 IMG_1252 IMG_1247

This is Roseberry Topping another local hill.  Although the wind was blowing , it was remarkably temperate for the time of year. I have noticed a number of gorse bushes in flower, which is most unusual,

After having a prayer together we returned down the hill and where home by lunchtime.

Just about 2.00pm , the sun showed its face and by 2.30 pm it was shining brightly so I decided to have my first ride of 2015. I knew it wouldn’t be a long ride as the days are still so short. So DH left his tidying of his workshop and we went for a short ride passing through and around Albert Park.


The lake was iced over a few days ago but as the temperature has risen the ducks are swimming around instead of sliding on the ice. As you can see the sun was dropping and so was the temperature. We returned home and my odometer read 7 miles. Not far , but good to get out on the bike.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | January 1, 2015

2014 roundup

Well that’s another year gone by. We had a lovely time riding and cycle camping in Yorkshire and on our long summer tour to the four home countries. As Christmas approached , I realised that the odometer on my cycle computer was over 9,900 miles and that completing just under another 100 miles would result in a mileage of 10,000 miles in  2 and a bit years since I last changed the battery. So over the holidays , we got ourselves out cycling. Fortunately, the weather has been relatively mild and afforded a few trips out despite the really short days at this time of the year.  The first was on Boxing day, when it was a bit frosty , but we were careful and stuck mainly to roads that had been gritted and cycled across to Billingham and Stockton on Tees and back along the river to the Boro. That put another 20 miles on to the clock. The next day,  Saturday, we cycled up to Saltburn  in gentle  but cold sunshine.IMG_1236 We cycled back along into Redcar and stopped in one of the modern shelters that have replaced the old ones. It was cold so the stop for refreshments was brief and then it was back up through Cotham and Kirkleatham before returning home to the Boro.  That was another 32 miles clocked up. On Tuesday,  we got out for a ride along the river and again it was frosty so great care was taken. 15 miles. By Wednesday morning, I knew that I needed 5 more miles to reach the 10,000 miles mark. So I was determined to do it.  I suggested a ride over to the bird reserve at Saltholme and DS1 said he would accompany me. The café there is a pull for him!! So we rode down through the park and the town and as we didn’t leave until nearly 11.00am , the frost had lifted as the temperature rose and the wind increased. As we rode along the river, I kept a check on the odometer , as I wanted to photograph the 10,000. At 9999.9, a little voice said take your photo. I ignored it and woosh, it went to zero!!! I was gutted.IMG_1238 Still, that was it , I had done it. So onwards to Saltholme crossing Newport bridge and along through Haverton Hill . It was very pleasant sitting in the café and watching the birds on the lake, which had some ice on it. You can look across and see the Transporter bridge.IMG_1241 IMG_1239 We returned the same way as the wind increased and we had a push into the wind a lot of the way back. The total was 10,012 miles. I have changed the battery , so its a new year to ride. As soon as the new year storm passes.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | December 10, 2014

Companion quilts

kr As some of you know , one of my keen interests is making quilts and other textiles. This year I’ve completed two large quilts, both on a domestic sewing machine. That means piecing the fabrics together, then layering up top , wadding and backing and then quilting , all the while  coping with the size. I decided to try quilt as you go, meaning I didn’t have so much weight to push and pull about as the quilt is divided into smaller sections, quilted and then those pieces joined together.  The quilt shown above was made in blocks , quilted and then the backing , wadding and sashing all joined by machine.   TABLET - WIN_20141207_100921 (3) This one, is a companion to the first. If you look closely, you will see that the centre of the circles , was cut out , when the circles were cut out to fit the coloured circles into the centre of those blocks. These blocks are larger and this time I joined them by machine on the front. Then the backing had to be joined by hand before finishing the machine quilting and binding. TABLET - WIN_20141207_101043 TABLET - WIN_20141207_101030 this is to try to let you see the quilting more closely. Hope you like them.

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