We looked at the weather forecast for Tuesday and it was good with only light winds. Even better was the fact that I had a work free day, so we decided we would make an early start to head for Barnard Castle.
It was just after 6.30am when we rode the quickest way to the river, crossing the A19 on a footbridge to Teesside Park. There were hardly any cars about so it was easy to get along and into Stockton. We followed NCN14 up though Hartburn and we were soon riding along to Elton and Long Newton and along to Middleton St George, to pick up the track into Darlington.
We were surprised to see a new cycle/footpath bridge has been built just after the college were the old footpath still exists. There has also been a new stretch of cycle path alongside the dual carriageway which made getting up to Blackwell much easier except on a corner where that is still being built.
By now it was about 8.30am , and the traffic into Darlington had come to a standstill which was good for us as we needed to cross it to get down to the roundabout at the junction with the A66. We turned left here and then in Stapelton we turned along to Cleasby. By now it was time for breakfast and it was lovely sitting near the green to have a bite to eat.
It was still quite cool but by the time we had climbed out of the village, we decided to stop and do a bit of a strip!! We also had brought our new cycling sandals and I have to say they were lovely and comfy to wear, keeping feet much cooler than our gortex shoes.
Then we continued on through Caldwell but went wrong somewhere and we ended up in Forcett before we realised we had “made a detour”. So we backtracked up to Caldwell and found our way using the NCN165 signage found our way to turn off for the bridge over the Tees to Whorlton.
The bridge has wooden boards and when a vehicle passes over , it sounds like thunder. I was really pleased with myself because the climb up out of the valley has a very sharp bend in it and I have always walked it previously. Not today. I climbed it without having to get off. Result!! I think it may have something to do with a 20plus pounds weight loss , this year.
Then out of the village , we passed rode along past Barnard Castle public school and Bowes Museum.
Once in the town , we rode along to the castle and sat in the grounds finishing breakfast and while DH talked to a caravanner , I went off and bought some ice cream. Some volunteers are planting up veg boxes so that people can take the food for free later in the year. Great work.
I went to a supermarket and changed into my capris length pants as it was even warmer and I reapplied sunscreen too.
Then it was back to Whortlton but turning up so we could cross the A67 and return by a different route. Little Newsham was the first village we came to an then a little way on we crossed a ford but on the bridge before entering Langton. Then it was off towards Headlam and through Summerhouse. The A1 is soon reached and the road goes beneath it. Back in Cockerton, we had another brief stop and some ladies from the Methodist church filled my water bottle for me.
We decided that we would return home via Sadberge, Bishopton and Redmarshall and were home just before 5.00pm having completed 75 miles.