We awoke to the sound of rain hammering down from a leaden sky. Oh joy, a ride home in the rain!
Just look at the rain laden clouds floating over the valley. This was at about 6.00am and by 8.20am , I donned my waterproofs to walk over to the dining room for breakfast and like magic, the rain cleared and a weak sun came out.
We had breakfast early as we wanted to get to church in Stanley, County Durham. One of the other volunteers joined us and as he has knowledge of the area , warned us to avoid going through Consett. He called it the Burmuda triangle for cyclists as the signage paid for by a well known supermarket, but put up by workmen with no knowledge of the area, is a nightmare.
So, we retraced our way , just as we did on our outward journey yesterday. That meant climbing a steep hill, first off in the morning but I did it. Here’s a view across the valley.
The roofs of the youth village can be seen on the right of the photo. We got to route 7 and began following it towards Stanley and there was some interesting artworks along the way but I didn’t have time to take photos of them. We were trying to get to church for 10.00am but it was about 4 miles longer than we expected.
However, we arrived a bit late but enjoyed the talk we heard.
So after the sacrament meeting, we got back onto the saddle and went back to route 7. It started to rain again as we left and so it was waterproofs on. Its a lovely track down into Chester Le Street, well surfaced and downhill for us.
We saw this unusual use of an old bridge pillar. Can you see the face?
Then joining route 725 , it was on through the town and on a minor road and along through Great Lumley and across a bridge over the A1M.
The road was not quite so hilly as up near Consett, but still had some stiffish climbs along to Pittington .
It had stopped raining so we stopped and set up our Helinox chairs as the wooden benches were too wet. So we ate lunch and then set off again , up through Haswell Plough and on to the road to Shotton Colliery where we picked up route 1.
Soon, we met an Australian couple cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats by a circuitous route. We advised them on avoiding the bad part of the track and explained we will be helping to clean the track in a couple of weeks.
We were now on what we regard as home turf and it was down through Hurworth Burn ( it started raining again) down the Thorpe Thewles track and on to the last big climb. DH gave me a helping hand as a car was behind us on this single track road and he didn’t want me to have to stop. He knew I wouldn’t be able to restart riding up the hill.
So we arrived home just before 5.00pm to be greeted by a lovely roast chicken dinner made by DS1. It was so welcome after our 50+ miles home.