Posted by: brendaintheboro | March 21, 2021

The Spring Equinox – well nearly

I got myself mixed up with dates and thought yesterday was the equinox when in reality its today and I am not out cycling. Still I am able to report on my longest cycle trip of this year on what I believed to be when the days are the same length.

Actually we had a couple of long rides but yesterday’s was the best.

On Thursday, we did one of our usual circuits but the opposite way round across to Darlington and up to Brafferton. Cozy Coffee is still sadly closed so it was a food break in the bus shelter before heading home . Still , it was a ride of 43 miles.

Friday , was a mizzly day and we had other things to do but we discussed a possible route after consulting the weather forecast and decided that Durham would be a good choice.

So off out in the chilly but sunny morning at 8.15am we headed across through Stockton Market place and then using cycle tracks and Darlington Back Lane made our way to Bishopton. By know it was warming up , so DH needed to take off a layer but I just opened my jacket up.

Then it was along to Newton Aycliffe and along the path to Shildon. Last time we were there, we could see work going on both in the museum (Locomation) and in nearby places. It turns out that George Stephenson’s Rocket, the first railway engine was being moved there from Darlington. Seems there is a bit of rivalry between the two towns.

However, I could see they have finished restoring what I believe is the engine shed.

Engine Shed

Also, although still fenced off I got this shot of cottages and a close up of the red plaque.

Hackworth Cottages
Hackworth lived here

Interestingly, according to the world wide web , he was born in Wylam and there is Stephenson’s cottage up there too. Hackworth was the first superintendent of the first railway that transported passengers. From there, railways were built across the globe.

From here, we rode up to Bishop Auckland and there is a steep climb before an equally steep descent to South Church. We pulled in here as I needed to take off a couple of layers.

St Andrews Church, South Church.

It looks like a big church and when I looked it up , its reputed to be the biggest parish church in the Durham Diocese.

We were soon through Bishop Auckland and crossed the Newton Cap Viaduct to get onto the Bishop to Brandon rail path. We were pleased that it was in fairly good condition after the bad wet winter, Coming into Willington, we stopped by a monument I haven’t seen previously. It was probably seeing Canadian, French and UK flags flying that drew my attention.

an interesting read

I was also drawn to the bronze artwork.

Willington on route NCN70

We stopped and had 2nd breakfast not long after – the usual fruit, cereal and yogurt.

Continuing on we passed through Brandon and picked up the Lanchester walkway which was partly well tarmaced and rough and stoney in places. There is a warning of a steep bank and DS1 had warned us that there was a narrow bridge at the bottom. He was correct.

Although I was nervous, I have good brakes and took the descent well. This photo shows the last bit and the hill is probably about 200 yards long in total.


Once in Durham, we tried follow to follow the route signs but unfortunately , as is common here in the UK, the way has been blocked by building work with no sign of a diversion. So it was find a way through.

Durham City
Durham Weir

We went over the Penny Ferry Bridge we have crossed previously and found our way up to Claypath and Gilesgate. Once up there , I knew pretty much where I was except there has been so much building work gone on. Still we finally found out way to Sherburn and had a cheese toastie before heading off to out usual route down NCN1 through Shotton Colliery and Hurworth . Burn. It felt so good to be sat without having to bundle up in warm clothing and enjoy the day. Let’s hope this is the start of things to come.

BTW just though s few months ago , I said I had embarked on a weight loss programme. I am pleased to say that so far I have lost 1st 3 lbs and I feel so much fitter for it. DS2 remarked this morning that when I got home I was much less tired.

So this week I cycled 151miles and YTD is 739 miles


  1. Good cycling. You may be being a bit optimistic about the weather to come.

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