The Beeb’s (BBC) weather forecast is fairly accurate and so we looked to see what it was likely to be for Saturday. Cloudy and wind. Oh well, we are committed to Sustrans’ cleanup days for all the other Saturdays in March, so if we want a longish ride, this has to be it.
We were sorted and left home just after 8.00am and headed down to the river and along through Stockton Market, where we had to negotiate the redevelopment work, before getting on to route 14. This wends its way up through Hardwick, crosses the A66 approach roads and after that its into the village of Elton. There were road works in Long Newton but as it was early in the day, the temporary lights changed on our approach so no need to stop. Then its through the cycleway onto the main road for about .75miles before the route crosses carriageways and disappears onto an old farm road . Its easy to miss the signage here. We were overtaken by 3 lads on roadbikes and I remember thinking that the poor state of the roads with potholes must play havock with such slender rims.
So , the way through the Whinneys is out of the question at present due to water logging , so round through Middleton St George and along to Neasham. There’s a steep hill and its surface is awful. A roadie passed us at speed, and stopped at the bottom. He had buckled his wheel on the descent.
We had decided on going through Barton so rode through Hurworth and Croft before turning right onto the minor road to Barton village which is just off the A1. We took a right turning up past the church and over the bridge to meet the B6275. We turned left for Melsonby and then along to East Layton and West Layton before heading north to Caldwell about 1.5miles to Eppleby.
This is a photo of me acting silly as I came out of the shop after buying crisps and home made cheese scones. The shop and tearooms opened last year and we try to support these little places. It’s a very pretty village but sadly we were too early for their daffodils on the green. They will be in full flower by next weekend and look magnificent.
We parked ourselves in the bus shelter and I got to work on my stove.
Smoked cheddar cheese toasties and crisps and then the cheese scones which heated up nicely in the pan.
Those toastie bags get well used.
By now we had completed 35 miles so we had to decide which route to take home. Well,we opted for riding toward Mansfield but turned onto the B6275 down to Piecebridge, a short distance on the A67 before turning left onto the raid that leads up towards Walworth. We did have a short ‘detour’ as I took us a wrong way. I’ve done it before!!! So why did I do it again. Anyway, we were soon on the way back through Ulnaby and onto the B6279 down through Cockerton and into Darlington. DH asked if I wanted to go the long way home? No thanks , we were nearly on 50 miles.
So back over the bridge, along the muddy track into Middleton St George and then retraced our route to Stockton. It was home via the river and the park and we clocked up 65 miles.