Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 6, 2018

An Unexpected Tour 2018 part 1


We had hoped to go cycle touring this summer with our dear friend from Norway but unfortunately a few weeks before departure he developed a heart condition  and couldn’t make it. We had our ferry booking made and didn’t want to change it so on Monday , 4th June 2018, we hopped on a train up to Sunderland and then rode into a drizzly headwind  up the coast and through South Shields, using the pedestrian ferry to cross the Tyne and get aboard the DFDS ferry to Imjuiden in the Netherlands.


The waiting area isnt too cycle friendly , but once aboard they were very friendly and helpful. I forgot to take my phone off the bike and a young officer escorted me down to the lorry deck where I promptly fell over a motorbike parking strap and came down heavily on my knee. The young man was horrified, but I assured him I was OK. At least I could walk but did develop a huge bruise and lump later on. Still we ate well, booking in advance for the discount and slept well on the overnight crossing.


Tuesday 5th June 2018

We got off the ferry and found our way into Imjuiden where we discovered the bridge across the river was closed to bicycles. A Dutch couple returning from a cycle tour in Scotland, showed us the way to the river ferry, which because of the diversion , was free. We were passed by another couple but then they turned off , only to reappear as their GPS had taken them the wrong way. They were from Stockton on Tees near us and we chatted away until we got to Alkmaar where we parted company. They were using B&Bs for their tour, while we were hoping to camp mostly.

By now , we were hungry and found a Turkish café near the river and had a lamb filled bun that was really tasty. The weather had been grey and overcast but then by lunchtime it was sunny again.

Then we set off again for Hoogwoud  and got set up at an SVR campsite. This is camping on small farms , or what were small farms. A couple there had a special caravan that they pulled with a tractor. Apparently, tractor rallies are very popular in the Netherlands.





Wednesday 6th June 2018

The night was punctuated by the noise of frogs and we awoke about 6.00am and had a lazy pack up as the tent was very moist – most of which we dried with a wrung out cloth- before we got away. We had decided  to head for Enkhuizen  but then were told that the bridge/dyke was closed to bicycles  for repairs to the track at present. There was a bus but it was unlikely to take us with all our luggage.  What to do? We didn’t want to ride through Amsterdam as its like the M1 for bicycles so we decided to head up to Den Oover and across the long dyke. Don’t ask me to say it, as its very difficult .

As the sun rose, so did the wind – right into our faces. We had some time in a forest which was lovely as we got some shelter. Once in Den Oover , we located a bakery and bought Apple cake  and bread.  We started across the dyke but pulled over to eat the cake and I am glad we did. It was a real slog. We stopped at the monument to Lely and ate again. We were passed by a few cyclist on recliners but not sure if they had electric assist.


I took to counting the white marker dots up the centre of the track  in order to keep plodding on. They had changed the way a lot since we road the North Sea Cycle route in 2006  and the campsite we used then is no longer.  We found another SVR site in Witmarsum and it was very quiet. The SVR sites have really good facilities with spotlessly clean toilets and showers. On such a hot day, into the wind, I had sweated buckets , so a shower was most welcome.  This one also had  curly haired pigs.




Thursday 7th June 2018

The day started warm and just got hotter. We decided that riding into the wind was a fool’s game and headed roughly SE along descent tracks and small roads through the village of Witmarsum and along to Bolsward where we found Jumbo supermarket to stock up on essentials. This includes fruit bread as we love the stuff in the Netherlands, Jozef was sheltering from the sun and I was sweating buckets yet again. We then rode to Sneek (pronounced Snake)  and stopped for ice cream.

We followed a route to Skearnegoutum but missed a turning and where deliberating which way to go when a chap suggested riding up the Sneekermeer ( a lake)  and it was lovely. We had another picnic stop but it was so hot the bread was drying out before we could put meat and cheese on to it.

The route wound its way up through Jirnsum and into Grou where we stopped at a marina campsite. It had a pool, so we had a swim  . We thought the pool was shallow and later found out it was a children’s pool. Well you could say we are in our second childhood, This was the cheapest site of the tour at 9Euro but we did have to pay 50C each for showers – still great value.

it was great to see this elderly lady on the paddle board being helped along  near to the ferry site.


Friday 8th June 2018

Although the sun shone very early, it was soon overcast but warm. That led to heavy dew so we dried the tent off as much as possible so it was almost dry as we finished packing up. We have the system for packing the trailer really well and if the tent is dry it all goes inside the radical designs trailer.


Inadvertently, we ended up going back through Jirnsum instead of heading into Akkum. The beauty of the Dutch Knoorpunkt system is that if you go wrong , you can use the nodes to get back on track.  At Nes , just outside Akkum, we saw loads of white washing hanging in the streets – only white washing and some very old fashioned underwear too. We couldn’t find out what it was for but some sort of festival.

We passed through Oude Shouw and turned east to Aldeboam where we stopped for 2nd breakfast. After that, it was off towards Gorredijk but turned off just before to Tewispel and along to Lippenhuizen.  We turned roughly SE  but I was getting  bit sore on the backside and when we stopped for lunch at about 2.00pm I looked up a nearby SVR site. This was betweeh Elsloo and Bolil so we peddled off and  got set up in some light mizzly rain.

We find these small sites , off the beaten track to be really friendly and people were interested in what we were doing. People are quite direct here and this was the first time I was asked our ages – but not the last. I got some washing done and as  the rain had abated , I was able to get it on my little line



We then walked down to a restaurant and sat down to a three course meal. It was a very Dutch meal and very nice but unusual t be served rhubarb with beef stew. A bit pricy but as we hadn’t bought any food, it was worth it.

Saturday 9th June 2018

The rain poured down through the night but we were warm, dry and cosy. This didn’t stop us getting everything packed inside the tent. Then we packed the wet tent and got away from the site near Elsloo just after 9.00am. We had a false start was we had to turn back to go through Zoravilied and south towards Diever where we stocked up on food.


Then our way was mostly through forested areas on well laid tracks through Spier  and Wijster. WE found a beautiful, newly installed bench and had 2nd breakfast sitting under trees. In Wijster, we made another “detour”  and had to back track about a mile. It was then on through Meppen to Aalden and an ice cream stop in a small café that the Netherlands has so many of. We than followed signs to Emmen which is near the German border. There is a small mini camp site just on the edge of town which was ideal for us. We had already determined to take Sunday as a rest day.

Sunday 10th June 2018

Our faith is important to us and we determined to get to church and the campsite was only 1 1/2 miles away.  It was lovely meeting with other Latter-day Saints .


Then we rode back to the site and I had a chat with the campsite  owner who is also a cycle camper. He had been away cycling in Wales a few weeks ago. I passed on the first of the cycle touring festival bookmarks to him. We spent the rest of the days chatting and I got a bit of knitting done too.

We also discussed our options for more travel, so as the wind forecast was still from the NE we determined to follow the Ems Cycle route as we had the book of maps from a previous year.

203.7 miles for the week.


Today , we found our dear friend is fine and doesn’t need any treatment for his heart. So happy









  1. That looks like a very good trip in spite of the wind and weather. We had a very enjoyable bike tour in North Holland a few years ago and enjoyed the cycle friendly conditions.

  2. Very interesting, thank you. I drove a lorry to Alkmaar.

  3. Would love to have seen that washing on the line! Who are the couple in the photo? Sounds like you had a good trip.

    • the couple were camped next to us and were really kind to us. great trip

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