Friday 29th July 2016 – day 2
Well, I was ready to go by 7.00am but unfortunately the clothes I left in the drying room could not be accessed. The room wasn’t opened until 7.30am. Still I was ready to go and was away soon after.
Almost from the beginning, I had climbs. I rode down into Bellingham and then turned left towards West Woodburn which is about 4 miles west. The map says lowland route but it was still a stiff climb. It maybe lowland in comparison to some of the surrounding countryside but I still needed to walk but this was compensated for by a steep drop into the village. Then it was fairly level through East Woodburn but then I was climbing again and had to get off and walk. There were lovely views though. This was about half way up this climb.
Not long after , a farmer asked me what I was doing up there on my own. He couldn’t believe I was headed for Wooler and said I wouldn’t make it. He had a flat bed truck but even though I said I would accept a lift to the top, he didn’t offer. So I just carried on. I was counting 100 steps and tried not to stop walking until I had completed them. Sometimes it was only 50 or even 25 steps. Never mind though, I got to the top. Victory over myself.
Then there was another lovely descent to the A696 and then it was a right turn onto a cycle track alongside this main road. I crossed the road near Raylees Farm and immediately began to climb again and then a swoop down into the village of Elsdon. By now it was after 10.00am and as I flashed past a sign, I saw there was a café. This sign said Impromptu Café so I turned up left. I saw a house and thought that would be it, but it was being renovated. I spoke to a lady called Helen who is an electrician and she pointed me in the right direction. We had a chat as she owns a Brompton and has done a bit of touring and said I was an inspiration and took my photo. What me an inspiration? I look to the likes of Emily Chappell as they do so much more.
The Impromptu Café is so called because the owners were asked to provide sustenance to passing cyclists and then they began to get runs lists and wondered why so many said impromptu. That was where they decided on the day , where they were going. I sat outside in beautiful sunshine and had scrambled eggs on toast, moist fruit cake and 2 mugs of hot chocolate. I was a little disheartened because I had only ridden/ walked 17 miles so far and it was 11.30am.
So I set off climbing again up to just before Hepple when I turned off for Holystone and then stopped to rest in Harbottle. I sat and had a sandwich in the bus shelter but they only have 2 buses a week these days. So another shortish climb and then a downhill to Alwinton. I decided to stop following route 68, Pennine route and used the map to avoid dropping to the river , to just climb back up again. There was a nice ride along to Netherton and then I took a road towards Whittingham but turned on a very tiny road towards Glanton.
It was interesting to see a solar panel farm just after the ford. Some of the road surface was terrible but I persisted and from Glanton decided to ride down into Powburn. I was almost ready to ride the main road but good fortune was with me. There was a bus due in 10 minutes so I folded up Speedy and hopped on with bike and trailer and used the bus pass to get into Wooler. There was a lady on the bus who was most concerned how I would manage to get to a campsite. It was only when I started to get the bike unfolded at the bus station, that she understood I could manage.
So I had about a mile ride up to the Highburn campsite . It wasn’t as well appointed as Bellingham but adequate . A good , if not tiring day. about 39 miles and over 2800ft of climbing.