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.
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.