Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 18, 2021

First Cycle-camping trip of 2021

Campsites were given the green light for opening on 12th April – all be it without full facilities. South Newlands farm, Riccall where we are well known, told us they are open for business. Well, you have to support such lovely people so we decided a 2 night, 3 day trip was in order. We kept checking the weather and decided that we would dig out our old Buffalo bags. To be honest, if I hadn’t lost the 2 sts over this past year, mine would not have fitted , but now it does whoopee!!. They are a bit bulky but having 2 trailers, it was possible to take them in addition to our regular sleeping bag.

As we set out at 6.30am (DH likes to be away early) it was very cold, hence the photo of the frost on the roof.

frost in April

We were both wearing multiple layers , so riding was fine except for cold hands at first. The weather was bright and sunny so by the time we had climbed out of Yarm, our hands were toastie warm.

The route was our usual across to Northallerton and then along the A167 , Boroughbridge road to Topcliffe. I decided to change to my other battery , as my original doesnt give such great mileage now being very well used. I knew I was down to the last cell and did not want it to run out on the ascent to Asenby. Still 37 miles is OK.

We sat for second breakfast here before moving on theough Cundall, Helperby and Flawith to Tollerton. We always used to go via Linton on Ouse but our friends have moved away from the village so this makes the route a little shorter.

The ride through York was surprisingly quiet without hoards of visitors , especially from overseas. We crossed the Knavesmire and were then on to the Planet track which I have to say is a bumpy as ever with root damage to the surface. However, there is a lot of tree felling going on. This may be to enable the surfave to be improved. I am just guessing but it does feel more open.

felled trees
DH on the Planet track

We were soon greeted by Peggy and Rod and got pitched up. We used our old Jack Wolfskin tent and one of our home made tarps.

tent and tarp

DH getting unpacked

There was a bitterly cold night but we were snug and warm . Frost lay heavily on the grass but we were soon up and away for a day out on the bikes. We had decided to ride the TransPennine trail along to Blacktoft but avoiding going into Selby because we know there are barriers and the trail surface wasnt good last time. In addition, we had been told Covid was rising in Selby so best to stay away.

So down through Barlby, we crossed the cycling /walking bridge across to the village of Osgodby with traffic whizzing beneath on the A19. We thought we knew the way, but ended up having ‘detours’ into housing estates until we found Sand Lane and we oriented ourselves on the duck pond. Then it was off east towards North Duffield but turning down into Cliffe and crossing Hull road, A63. There is a cycle track that goes along this road before turning south towards the village of Hemmingbrough with its fine large church which is at least 12century in origin. It has a spire of 120 feet, added in the 15century and I took a few photos. A chap had come to open up for the grave diggers as there was to be a funeral later in the day.

St Mary the Virgin , Hemmingbrough

From here , the road is unmade and then goes off road along to Barmby on the Marsh

TPT to Barmby on the Marsh

Luckily our trust E-bikes can easily handle this surface. The gates are a bit heavy and I am glad both of us were there to hold open for the other one.

heavy gates

At Barmby on the Marsh, the Yorkshire Derwent and the Ouse meet and a tidal barrier was installed in about the mid 70’s to help prevent flooding. The river is tidal at this point.

Just as approached , the lock keeper came out and I though he was going to open the gate for us. Actually, he hadnt even seen us, but when I called out he came back and held it open for me. Bless him. My intercom system to talk to DH was giving a bit of trouble and he went and got us some duct tape to try to remedy the problem. It did help temporarily. Then it was along towards the minster town of Howden which is near the M62 so a busy junction to cross but then all is quiet again.

As we cycled along we came to Laxton and found this lovely sheltered spot.

it was ideal as a lunch stop sheltered from the wind and warm in the sunshine. Apparently erected in 2002 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s golden jubilee. It could do with a bit of TLC.

From here, it’s not far to Blacktoft and I am peased to report that the village hall is once again open for the toilets to be used by passing walkers and cyclists. We talked to a local chap who tells us they hope to restore the drink making facilities come easing of lockdown in May.

Just after the village , we turned north and rode up to Gilberdyke where we were on the busirt B1230 but soon turned off to Eastrington and into Howden where we stocked up on yogurt. I dont know if there was some sort of problem on the M62 , but there were a few police cars blocking some roads and huge wagons were coming along usually quite roads.

Passing through Knidlington , we soon arrived at Barmby once again and stopped for refreshment once again. Its a lovely spot and Steve the lock keeper came across to chat again as we munched away.

Back at the site, it was still warm while I cooked chilli and rice for our evening meal but very soon after , it got cold again. We had a bit of a panic as DH had lost his bike key to unlock the bike and its needed for the battery changing too. Ooops!! DS1 phoned and offered to come and pick up our trailers , so we asked him to bring the spare key just in case. As it happened as we packed up, he found the key in the inner tent just as DS1 arrived.

We got underway at 8.30am and took our same route home. The planet track was quiet except for dog walkers and we stopped to photograph the Trust Hut near Naburn locks.

Trust Hut Naburn

We had a couple of food stops in Tollerton and Asenby. I toasted crumpets on my little camp stove and DH says I have converted him to having nutella on them.

I was pushing hard on the way home and so we had a stop for an orange each in Appleton Wiske before arriving home just after 4.00pm. TBH I was kn@ckered but DS1 had a meal made for us and I managed some washing too.

A really lovely time. this weeks mileage 202miles and YTD 1277 miles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 11, 2021

Winter, Spring, Winter again

Such a topsy turvey week weather wise. The Easter weekend was really chilly and we only did a couple of short rides because of that. The winds were bitterly cold from the north and on Wednesday, I didnt even venture out on the bike. However, come Thursday the wind swung round to the SW and it was a top coat warmer.

We decided to head off to Great Ayton and then extended the ride to Stokesley and up to Seamer. AS we rode through Nunthorpe village we saw a new carving that has appeared . Designated the Naughty Nunthorpe Nuns.

Unfortunately, coming down the road that is known locally as the Seamer slog ( if you ride up to Seamer) I thought it would be an easy ride. Not so as the cross winds were very unnerving and a couple of times I was nearly off. Time to head home.

Friday , saw much less wind but again from the north. So unlike usual when we go out into the wind, this time we decided to head down to Northallerton. There was some wind assistance but not too much and we a slightly different way to Yafforth and along to Danby Wiske. There are so many lambs in the fields and it is a delight to see them jumping around or feeding with tails wagging.

As we approached the village, we were into the wind and went into the church yard to sit on the south side in the lee of the wind. It was so warm with the sun shining, I had to take my jacket off!

Danby Wiske parish church

I had a peek inside.

There also appears to be a rookery in nearby trees.

Time to get moving again after 2nd breakfast, the rode along through Streetlam and East Cowton but now the wind increased in strength and it became decidedly colder. As we looked north we could see rain clouds bearing down , so I suggested going to the old disused bus shelter in Appleton Wiske. It is now filled with a small communal library but there was still room for us to take out our Helinox chairs and I made our cheese toasties. The rain came down and so we donned our rain gear. Just as we left, the sun came out but so did hailstones!!

So we rode home well satisfied with over 60 miles.

Saturday, was cold and we rode 27 miles through Middleton one Row and to my friends field were we helped unload some stuff and cooked on a BBQ before heading home.

all in all a good week of 134 miles in bitterly cold winds a lot of the time YTD 1075 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | April 4, 2021


On Maundy Thursday, I am pleased to report that I had my 2nd Covid vaccine without any of the side effects I experienced on the first round. Mind you , I didn’t push myself to go cycling not wanting to stress myself. On Good Friday, we did have a short ride to see , if I was OK. I was fine so we made plans for Saturday.

DH suggested doing the run to Durham but the other around than we had done a couple of weeks ago. So 2nd breakfast and lunched were prepped on Friday night and we were able to get an early start, using the Castle Eden walkway to travel north. It had dried out than last time so we didn’t get the bikes filthy.

DH wanted to keep off the track from Station town to Shotton Colliery. I agreed as it was still early but I do not like the road. It was busy even at early on a Saturday morning. Still we got up there unscathed and turned for Haswell Plough. Just after the garage, there is a good cycle track alongside the road which climbs up and then on quite roads down through Littletown and on to Sherburn. We didn’t stop saw the NCN signs that took us through an estate and then on to a lovely off road track. I was so pleased to see this view of Durham Cathedral.

Durham Cathedral

We met some chaps who had cycled up from Willington and going down into Durham so we followed them in. It took us in across a bridge near what I seem to remember was the old baths where I used to train with the Northumberland and Durham swim team about 55 years ago on a Sunday afternoon. Happy days. Sadly now in a state of dereliction .

Then we went over Old Elvert bridge and up to the Cathedral grounds. This too brought back happy memories of visiting with my great grandfather and seeing St Cuthbert’s tomb. Also times when we would go to the Durham Miners Gala.

Unfortunately, we could not go inside as visitors are not allowed.

As I write this, a memory of being a small child and Granda Pears lifting me to touch the knocker and him explaining it to me. Funny how the feeling flooded back.

We went and sat in a spot sheltered from the gusty wind and ate 2nd breakfast, DH offered to take my photo. It was very dull but here it is.

in my ShowersPass jacket to keep the wind off.

As we sat I looked up and saw this.

Newly Painted

I was looking up at this and I think this is portraying the Lambton Worm. This is a song a grew up singing as its a northern song about the time of the crusades and a fearful worm who ate sheep and cows and little bairns (children). When sung in the local dialect , you can hear the association of language spoken many centuries ago with Norse influence.

So after this , we went through the market place and found our way on to the track again. We realised that the hill we descended on the last visit, was very steep – good job we were on the e-bikes .

We rode along the Brandon to Bishop Auckland old rail path and the sun started to come out.

Then it was up through Bishop and past the new hospital towards West Auckland. There was a point where the track seemed to disappear but DH knew he had been there before. So we rode on a nice path alongside the road and up to Shildon. We hope the railway museum will soon reopen.

We decided to go back through Newton Aycliffe and then down into Brafferton but as we passed Cozy Coffee , we noticed Rosie in the field. She is sprucing up the seating but still doesn’t know when she will be able to reopen. However, she invited us to sit there, rather than the bus shelter while I made the cheese toasties.

Then realising the time we came home the shortest way, as we wanted to be home for the start of the General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. What a great way to end the Easter weekend celebrating the birth of the Saviour.

Miles this week 108miles and YTD 941 miles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 28, 2021

The wind didn’t stop us entirely

It’s been a funny sort of week with lots of wind but we still managed to get out for most days but only short rides for the most part.

On Monday , DH decided to give the e-bikes a thorough clean as they were going down to Cyclesense in Tadcaster later in the week for a service. So I used my Dahon Speed folder with the Swytch kit for my early morning rides. Sometimes in sunshine and others not but always windy. These were the usual up the good cycle track and various permutations.

On Thursday, we put the towball carrier on to the back of the car and with the bikes securely loaded headed off down the A1. The system for booking the bikes in , is really good. Put them in the shed and phone the number to tell them they are there. Then the mechanic comes and takes them into the back of the shop.

We had a wander across the bridge and to the supermarket to buy something to make a sandwich and use the facilities. Then we walked along the footpath to the old rail viaduct.

viaduct over river Wharfe

We crossed over to the other side and went along to see where it emerged – it was opposite one of the breweries. So we turned and retraced out steps and went down some stairs but it was too muddy/boggy for us to go any further. Then I remember news items from some weeks ago, when they mentioned flooding. It must have been huge as the river on Thursday was a good 20-30 feet below the ground level.

if anyone knows the name of this flower please let me know.

So we climbed back up and walked back. Then i had a call to say the bikes needed new rear cogs and chains but we would have to have 36-11 rather than the 34-11 that were fitted. Apparently , spare parts are in short supply at present. So now I have a slightly lower gear but that’s fine by me.

Friday was really blowing a hoolie so we only cycled across to the chapel to do a couple of things and then along to do some shopping.

We checked the forecast for Saturday and it seemed to be a bit better. So prepped and ready for the day cycling , we set off just after 8.00am. I should have known when we set off, that it was going to be a windy ride. Our destination – Eppleby to see the daffodils.

Well all went ok until we crossed the bridge at Croft and started to make the turn for Stapleton. Roadworks and a complete road closure. Duh!

So we carried on past Croft motor racing circuit and then turned towards Scorton. As we rode along , we came to a diversion sign ( obviously for motor vehicles) and rode along to Moulton on a road we haven’t ridden before. Then up to Middleton Tyas and then under the A1 and up to Melmerby all the time into a wind that even required DH to use battery assist.

So we carried on towards Forcett which was another climb into the wind. Just after the turn , my battery registered zero but as it was mainly downhill, I didn’t bother to stop and just carried on until we came to a big climb. Then we stopped and I changed the battery.

On into Eppleby and we bought some of their lovely home made scones and sat and ate second breakfast. Then i took some photos of the village and the daffs. I do love to see them

Eppleby village
different varieties prolong the blooming stage

I think its the colour that delights me.

So then it was off again but as we were returning with the wind mostly on our backs we flew along without any need of assistance. I was surprised to see 24mph at one point.

We rode back through Piercebridge and then crossed the A67 and continued up by Walworth before again turning to run with the wind into Darlington.

We had a stop for cheese toasties in Sadberge but in a bus shelter to be protected from the wind and it was cozy in there. Then off home.

We arrived home having cycled 64 miles and and I decided to put in some washing. As I scooped up the dirty cycling gear, I didnt realise I had also picked up the TV remote and washed it too!! Its currently sitting in a bag of rice drying out – we hope. Remind me when I am tired to take extra care.

So this weeks mileage 94 miles and YTD 833 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 21, 2021

The Spring Equinox – well nearly

I got myself mixed up with dates and thought yesterday was the equinox when in reality its today and I am not out cycling. Still I am able to report on my longest cycle trip of this year on what I believed to be when the days are the same length.

Actually we had a couple of long rides but yesterday’s was the best.

On Thursday, we did one of our usual circuits but the opposite way round across to Darlington and up to Brafferton. Cozy Coffee is still sadly closed so it was a food break in the bus shelter before heading home . Still , it was a ride of 43 miles.

Friday , was a mizzly day and we had other things to do but we discussed a possible route after consulting the weather forecast and decided that Durham would be a good choice.

So off out in the chilly but sunny morning at 8.15am we headed across through Stockton Market place and then using cycle tracks and Darlington Back Lane made our way to Bishopton. By know it was warming up , so DH needed to take off a layer but I just opened my jacket up.

Then it was along to Newton Aycliffe and along the path to Shildon. Last time we were there, we could see work going on both in the museum (Locomation) and in nearby places. It turns out that George Stephenson’s Rocket, the first railway engine was being moved there from Darlington. Seems there is a bit of rivalry between the two towns.

However, I could see they have finished restoring what I believe is the engine shed.

Engine Shed

Also, although still fenced off I got this shot of cottages and a close up of the red plaque.

Hackworth Cottages
Hackworth lived here

Interestingly, according to the world wide web , he was born in Wylam and there is Stephenson’s cottage up there too. Hackworth was the first superintendent of the first railway that transported passengers. From there, railways were built across the globe.

From here, we rode up to Bishop Auckland and there is a steep climb before an equally steep descent to South Church. We pulled in here as I needed to take off a couple of layers.

St Andrews Church, South Church.

It looks like a big church and when I looked it up , its reputed to be the biggest parish church in the Durham Diocese.

We were soon through Bishop Auckland and crossed the Newton Cap Viaduct to get onto the Bishop to Brandon rail path. We were pleased that it was in fairly good condition after the bad wet winter, Coming into Willington, we stopped by a monument I haven’t seen previously. It was probably seeing Canadian, French and UK flags flying that drew my attention.

an interesting read

I was also drawn to the bronze artwork.

Willington on route NCN70

We stopped and had 2nd breakfast not long after – the usual fruit, cereal and yogurt.

Continuing on we passed through Brandon and picked up the Lanchester walkway which was partly well tarmaced and rough and stoney in places. There is a warning of a steep bank and DS1 had warned us that there was a narrow bridge at the bottom. He was correct.

Although I was nervous, I have good brakes and took the descent well. This photo shows the last bit and the hill is probably about 200 yards long in total.


Once in Durham, we tried follow to follow the route signs but unfortunately , as is common here in the UK, the way has been blocked by building work with no sign of a diversion. So it was find a way through.

Durham City
Durham Weir

We went over the Penny Ferry Bridge we have crossed previously and found our way up to Claypath and Gilesgate. Once up there , I knew pretty much where I was except there has been so much building work gone on. Still we finally found out way to Sherburn and had a cheese toastie before heading off to out usual route down NCN1 through Shotton Colliery and Hurworth . Burn. It felt so good to be sat without having to bundle up in warm clothing and enjoy the day. Let’s hope this is the start of things to come.

BTW just though s few months ago , I said I had embarked on a weight loss programme. I am pleased to say that so far I have lost 1st 3 lbs and I feel so much fitter for it. DS2 remarked this morning that when I got home I was much less tired.

So this week I cycled 151miles and YTD is 739 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 14, 2021

March Winds

It really has been a week of wild winds and rain. My niece living further south in Yorkshire even has snow.

It is however gratifying to see all the spring flowers bursting forth and I also noticed blossom on trees so spring should be here soon. it is also noticeable how the days are lengthening too. In the meantime , multiple layers of cycle clothing are needed to keep warm while out on the bikes.

We haven’t really ventured far because of the winds. The Koga World Traveller e-bikes while heavy give some added stability but cross wind gusts can still give me a fright. We altered routes to avoid known areas where I have been shaken up before.


More and more daffodils are dancing in the breeze.

My thoughts are beginning to turn to where we can go cycle camping as soon as we are able to stay away from home. I think our friends at South Newlands Farm , Riccall will be first on the list.

I did get a quilt finished and passed on to a friend who works on a maternity ward at our local hospital and has done all through the pandemic. It was made totally from left overs and she is thrilled to bits with it.

So this week I achieved only 61 miles but for YTD 649 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 7, 2021

Chilly rides

I was working the early part of the week so it was just short local rides. Son no.2 came with us on Monday after I finished work but the weather has been too cold for him the rest of the week.

On Thursday, despite the dark grey sky , we decided to try and gt a longer ride in. Where to go? It is always a question and he usually leaves the planning up to me. However, this time he suggested going over to Shildon. So riding across through Bishopton and Great Stainton , we arrived at Newton Aycliffe. Near the railway station , we joined the track that parallels the railway line. We noticed that this isn’t sign posted and its not marked on Google maps as a route but it is there and well used by cyclists and walkers. Everyone we met smiled and greeted us which was lovely.

Arriving at Locomotion, the place was well closed and they wouldn’t even let us sit in the car park. We wouldn’t have stopped long as it was so cold.

old trains at Locomotion train Museum.

Going further on , it is evident that they are using this downtime lockdown to get on with more building work.

This hut reminds me so much of the station colours in Norway. The British did go and build the railways over there. This area is the home of railways with the Stockton and Darlington line being the first in the world

We came back across and down past the still closed Cozy Coffee and got into the bus shelter on the corner in Brafferton. Out came the stove and we made our usual cheese toasties and hot water from the flask to make Oxo. This was so welcome to warm up. Then we returned home via Darlington.

Saturday dawned and it wasn’t quite as cold so we decided to head out to Swainby. We chose to go up via Hemlington lake and take the shorter way there. It didn’t feel as cold as Friday so we decided to go across along the loop road to avoid the main A172.. The views were lovely.

There is a short section on the main road before turning off through Faceby. Then I noticed that there are new lambs in the field.

new lambs

I was going well and so we decided to have a stop in Ingleby Greenhow. We hadn’t intended to go for a longer ride but did have some biscuits and a flask with us.

Then it was off home through Gt Ayton . I spent the afternoon quilting so it was a lovely day.

Mileage 107miles and YTD 588 miles

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 28, 2021

Springlike Weather

The mornings early in the week were grey and chilly but the afternoons got out brighter.

Encouraged by Timmy Mallett, younger son (DS2) decided he would come cycling. He is on the autistic spectrum and gets very anxious. Some years ago he was mugged while out cycling with a friend , and his bike was stolen and he hasn’t cycled since. Encouraged by what he heard last week, he decided to give it a go. In fact he did 2 rides with us during the week and was very pleased with himself.

Smiling all the way

He did have to borrow his brothers helmet , as over the years , the lining of his has distorted.

On Friday, DH and I did our longest ride of the year in full, wall to wall sunshine. It is glorious to see the catkins and Pussy willow budding as we pass along the river. We took a different route across to Northallerton going via Hutton Rudby and Deighton . Once at Northallerton after the facilities stop , we headed on to Romanby village.

Romanby Village

On the opposite side of the square, were swathes of crocuses.

insects on the crocuses

If you zoom in you can see a bee on the bottom left flower.

We stopped and ate second breakfast here. As I am loosing weight (on purpose) I didn’t have our usual cereal fruit and yogurt but chose to bring chicken slices and cottage cheese .Just as sustaining but far fewer calories

We cycled on to Yafforth and looked to see if there were any spring lambs in the fields on the way to Danby Wiske, but none so far. With less foliage on the trees, I was able to take a photo of the church.

Danby Wiske church

From here it was a fairly usual route to Streetlam and Pepper Arden to descend into East Cowton. Hopefully, it wont be too long until the pop up cake and drinks cafe will reopen.

On Saturday, we were hoping for a bit of a longer ride with DS2 but he wasnt up for it. DH and I went off cycling to Saltburn – again in wall to wall sunshine. We know it wont last so we are making the most of it. I have to say that both Redcar and Saltburn were packed with cars and people walking on the beaches.

Hazy headlands

We didn’t hang about and rode back to Kirkleatham stopping outside of the old hall now a museum unfortunately closed.

Kirkleathm Hall

While there, a couple of people working on the nearby Covid testing station came and socially distanced ate their lunches. Apparently, they were sent up from York while a group was sent from Newcastle down to near York. They said , it just doesnt make sense. I understand though because the people who do the organising often have little to no idea of the geography of our country. Its like cycle tracks can be put in by local authorities and the planners have never cycled or they would not make such obvious blunders.

So on that cheery note , I will give the stats for the week 135 miles and YTD 481miles.

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 21, 2021

Brighter Days

I shouldn’t be surprised by British weather but the thaw came so suddenly and we went from -5C over night to +5C and then later in the week to 11C during the day. It was almost spring like today.

The day light hours are lengthening too so giving more hours to get out and cycle after work. Somedays, were just short rides along the river or up to Hemlington lake but we did get out to Middleton one Row on Friday. The wind was very strong though with gusts in excess of 40 mph. Passing open spaces in hedgerows was a bit unnerving.6

We did find that one of the cycle tracks we use occasionally has been blocked off.

cycle track blocked.

We went another way . on a separate ride and went to where the other end of it is. As I thought , it is marked as NCN1

this route is no more.
in the upper right near the stone wall a similar fence has been erected

On one of the rides, we came across a new sculpture

Sammy the seal

The week has also been busy with talks every day from the Cycle Touring Festival. There was a fascinating one by Paul Cheese who rode 5000 miles around the UK recording sounds. He is a musician and music producer so look him up on You Tube. After listening to his talk, we were riding across Stockton Market and there is a fountain there. It was the first time I have every been aware of the musicality of the water splashing. Fascinating.

Tonight at 8.00pm Timmy Mallet is talking about riding his e-bike on the Santiago de Compostella and painting. He has published a book so I am looking forward to that.

So this week, those small mileages have amounted to 83 miles. 346miles YTD

Posted by: brendaintheboro | February 15, 2021

Proper Winter Weather

In my childhood, we would have very cold snowy winters and this is just wat has happened in the past couple of weeks.

The wind blew in from the NE bringing with it more snow than I have seen in about 10 years. So I only cycled 5 miles during the week. I have been busy stitching away and one of the things is a part for a block of the month. This is called a Mariner’s Compass.

Mariner’s compass clock

Please ignore the manky ironing board cover.

Here are a couple of photos to show how bad the rain was prior to the snow.

normally virtually empty outlet into the Tees
flooding across the bird reserve

So only 5 miles this week and YTD 263 miles.

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