Cycling Northumberland and the Scottish Borders, September 2012

 

Route difficulty calculated using cycalc

 

 

We started our holiday at Stamfordham from the home of friends of ours…

 

Martin, Jeanette, David and Stevie bid us a fond farewell…

 

Day-1 took us from Stamfordham to Thropton: 33-miles graded mild-C.


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As always, The Border-Lands and Northumberland are “a best kept secret” for cycling: very little traffic!

 

It was a relatively easy first day. We arrived at our first night’s accommodation (The Three Wheat Heads) in time for a relaxing pint…

 

Day-2 was to be a little harder, 28-miles, grade Full-C, but that was without the headwind we were to experience…

 


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We cycled from Thropton to Byrness via the beautiful valley cut by the river Coquet through The Cheviot Hills: a route I had long intended to do!

 

Again, more quite roads…

 

Past a farm with lots of piglets…

 

And in to the Coquet Valley…

 

Refreshments at, perhaps, the most remote tearoom in Northumberland: Barrowburn…

 

And the road continues deeper, and deeper, into the Cheviot Hills…

 

The hill and the headwind take’s its toll!

 

Climbing out of the Coquet Valley, heading south to Byrness. Can you make out the Roman Fort on the hillside, one-third of the image from the left?

 

Upper Coquetdale is a military live firing range: but not on this day! The long straight run to Byrness, and the Forrest View Inn, for the evening.

 

Day-3 was to be the hardest day: 33-miles, grade mild-D.


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The route took us from Byrness to Newcastleton, almost entirely off road, through the width of Kielder Forrest…

 

Not many photos: one forest image looks much like any other.

 

It was a hard day for a number of reasons: made harder due to the headwind, but also made harder as a result of track closure! It was only after cycling 25-miles that we came across a sign, deep in the forest, stating that the track was closed due to forest work – the suggested diversion took us over another hill!

 

We stayed at The Grapes Hotel, Newcastleton

 

 

The following day, day-4, was a pleasant 28-miles grade mild-C. We cycled to Jedburgh, and for once the wind was occasionally in our favour…


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We saw lamas…

 

And an impressive castle: Hermitage Castle

 

Big landscapes everywhere…

 

And more deserted roads through The Scottish Borders…

 

We had a very relaxing night at the Glenbank House Hotel

 

Day-5 took us to Wooler, 33-miles grade mild-C…


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The weather continued to improve: the wind subsided, and the sun came out…

 

The Scottish Borders was a violent place 400-years ago: the Border Reivers controlled this area, Cessford, from this castle…

 

Back through the northern Cheviots on our way to Wooler…

 

Back in to England…

 

And the beautiful Cheviot Hills…

 

The summer floods had swept away the bridge we had intended to use; we therefore had to resort to a footbridge…

 

At Wooler we spent the night at The Tankerville Arms.

 

The following day, day-6, and the weather took a turn for the worse: we started in drizzle and ended in rain. We cycled from Wooler to Warkworth, a route that should have been 33-mile, but we reduced it to 28-miles because of the weather…

 


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We popped-in to look at a very old church, restored in the 14th century: Holy Trinity Church, Old Bewick…

 

The weather resulted in not many photos being taken. We spent the night at The Warkworth House Hotel, and the following day the weather was much better.

 

The river Coquet wraps around the village of Warkworth, and the northern entry into the village is via this ancient fortified bridge.

 

The old bridge is for foot-traffic…

 

Warkworth Castle, built by the Normans in 12th Century, dominates the village…

 

A wide-angle view of the castle: every child’s idea of the perfect castle!

 

Anyway, as lovely as Warkworth is, this is our final cycling day, and we must head-on. With 34-miles, grade mild-C, to go, we were treated to nice weather…


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Quite Northumbrian roads…

 

Past Bolam Lake…

 

And finally, full circuit…

 

 

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