Your Trips

Bordering on the sublime

November 12th, 2012 by mark

Monday eighth of October 2012

Up at literally the crack of dawn and a  frantic ride down to the station fuelled by porridge. Caught the train to Leeds fine,  very crowded. Got the bikes on the Newcastle train okay.

Arrived at Newcastle station at 9:30 and then had the most expensive bidon filling session ever…

Set off for the quayside and soon found the path by the banks of the Tyne – it was bl**dy freezing! We had to stop to put on our cold weather gear.

Now nice and toasty we set off again. Riding along the river side was delightful. We were soon at Tynemouth which was surprisingly chic. Stopped by the castle and had teacake and coffee.

Then we headed on up the coast with the sun beating down. Passed through Whitley Bay and then to Blythe. Seaside towns,  industrial landscapes and sandy beaches: we saw them all.

Soon we were riding along to Druiridge bay, waves crashing on our right and sheep and horses on the left. Arrived at Amble where we got fairly lost. After circling the town twice we managed to pick up the right route and continued onto Warkworth.  Passed the castle and rode along a very busy road. We then discovered the coastal path right next to the road, so quickly changed onto that.

Very quickly we saw Almmouth ahead of us glistening in the sunshine with the sun of the dunes and on the sea as well. It was a pretty sight. Rode into town and found the Red Lion pub where we were staying the night:  very warm welcome from the landlady. Room was really gorgeous. A quick bath and then down to supper. Ravenous!!!!

Which was a pity really, because the portions were tiny.  The food was good but it would have fed only the average sized vole.

Facing a net calorie deficit after the meal we had no option but to trawl the streets each search of more chips. These we found in the Sun Inn; Yum Yum.

Back to the hotel and a very early night. 9 o’clock asleep, despite the noise from the kitchen and we stayed in bed until 7 AM.

Today’s ride is in memory of Michelle Turnbull whose memorial seat looked down onto Alnmouth and its epitaph read: “I am not gone. Find me here.” Lovely.

Memorial seat to Michelle Turnbull

Tuesday 9th of October

Down to breakfast at 8:30 really really tasty and still ravenous from last night.

Paid up and packed up and we were off by 09:37 (ish). Sunny but oh so cold. Headwind too. However riding was utterly delightful. Leafy lanes with views of the sunny sea. Great view of Dunstanburgh Castle.

Decided to go off-piste and took a detour to Beadnell where we stayed many years before. Then coast road to Seahouses for lunch. Took the windy, windy route to Bamburgh and then on a loop inland. More ups and downs today but never that hilly. Crossed the A1 near Belford with its short but steep (17%) climb (!!) and then swooped down to Fenwick and the A1 again to get to the Holy Island causeway road. Crossing the causeway was great and we soon arrived on the island to a warm welcome from our hotelier Sean, at the Lindisfarne Hotel. Washed and changed – and ready for off and out.

Walked past the priory and then west to St. Cuthbert’s Island. The most brilliantly sublime sunset then followed. A ‘wow’ moment. Totally awesome. A peaceful and spiritual spot.

We then headed for t ‘pub for supper. Crab salad followed by steak and ale pie. Yum.

Wednesday 10  October

Jocular ecumenical ladies at brekkie Causeway clear no fear. Windy path over the mudflats, bombs up!

Cow fear over Berwick cliffs. Up and over Berwick – café desert! The long and winding and occasionally straight as an arrow and never ending road to Kelso. In and out of Scotland a lot! Tired legs. Nice B&B (Abeeyside) with lovely garden. Calories needed so pasta fest with added haggis. Then to bed.

Thursday 11 October.

Delicious breakfast and early start. Mild and no wind – in shorts! Floors Castle utterly invisible. Lovely church at Makerstoun. Scary Smailholm tower and the Eildon Hills in the distance.

Swooped down to Dryburgh (abbey unseen) and crossed the Tweed (again!) Proper loo stop at Newtown St. Boswells (wee with a roof).

Secret road to Melrose, kept clear of the queen of the fairies. Carrot cake and coffee fuel up for second half.

Cycle path confusion but we kept to the official route and so glad we did. Scenery in Tweeddale was majestic. Cycling by the river, full of fly fishermen. Trees rustling, leaves on the turn.

As we rode up the valley the hills rose up on either side but our road was kind. Riding through  Elibank Forest. A moment to savour.

Rain started but very light and no issues. Arrived at Innerleithen where our landlady at the excellent Glede Knowe found us! Another gorgeous B&B.

Anchovy laden pizza from Fiko, filled me up washed down with Tallisker and red wine. Wonder why I was so dehydrated?

Friday 12 October

Lashed it down overnight. Still raining at brekkie but stopped when we set off. Rivers in full spate, had to ride through a flood outside Innerleithen. Slow and easy climb up the Moorfoot Hills – freezing strong wind. Got to the top and an amazing view over Midlothian, with Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth and beyond laid out beneath us.

Last 20 miles passed quickly – riding on cycle paths laid along old railway lines. Under a tunnel at Arthur’s Seat to Linda’s singing. Through the Meadows and up the Royal Mile to the castle and the finish. Photos taken we descended to the mound and a harum-scarum ride through the streets. Got to Dean Village and wondered where the B&B was: our bikes were resting on it! :-)

Bellsbrae is an amazing B&B. Over 400 years old.  Walked over to Stocksbridge and secured a table at Karen’s Unicorn (tiny). Met Alan and Donna in the Antiquary pub next door for a few beers and then had nice food (but v  slow service).

They gave us a lift back to Bellsbrae and we went to sleep in the world’s comfiest bed to the sound of the Leith Water running in spate outside. Lovely.

Ride Stats:

222.29 miles ridden
9.9 mph average speed
22 hours 20 minutes 15 seconds ride time
33 mph max speed.
10,636 calories burnt.

Red Lion Hotel, Alnmouth
Lindisfarne Hotel, Lindisfarne
Abbeyside B&B, Kelso
Glede Knowe Guest House, Innerleithen
Bellsbrae B&B, Edinburgh
Brent & Linda Walker