Saturday, 18 July 2009


Finally reached mum's and dad's house - my home (as well as edinburgh!) - at about 5.30pm on thursday 16th july. We came into norwich and through it on cycle paths and roads i'd never ventured on before, which i thought was quite apt. At the last minute, we chose a shortcut and approached the house from up hill instead of down, so surprising everyone! After numerous photos taken by the Evening News photographer, we got down to celebrating! Altogether i've cycled 477 miles to get here, accompanied by anne for about 220 miles and kate for about 210 miles. Well done everyone! And much love to my mum... the inspiration for my journey. :)

Alison and Joe

Here's our hostess Alison, at the old red lion, with joe the cat. She gave me sponsor money, and before we set off, told us to fill our pockets with bread and dates and nuts for lunchtime. So generous. We then looked around the ruined castle (of castle acre) and headed off at about 11am (again!) on the homeward stretch. At this point I noticed that my bike computer had already clocked 437 miles!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Kings lynn

We managed to turn up only 9mins late to meet my brother andy off the london train! Demonstrated our navigational skills by promptly getting lost on the cycle paths, but swiftly rectified our mistake and reached the amazing old red lion in castle acre at about 7pm. Had a lovely meal in the ostrich (pub!) and then chose which dorm we wanted to sleep in! Absolutely amazing building, garden and village.


Just to prove that i did actually cycle!


You can't see then very well, but this couple were heavily laden with stuffed panniers, including a tent. They left boston after us and overtook us twice! Hardcore!

Wind, wind, windy, wind

It got a bit windy after boston! It might have been flat as a pancake, but it was very hard work cycling against it (i.e. Most of the way to kings lynn).

Boston Stump

Celebrating its 700th birthday this year. Stayed at the park lea Guesthouse... Elaine and Richard very lovely and have a garage for bikes... Including motorbikes. Had real probs blogging from here. Very patchy coverage. Set off from here at about 11am, after managing a couple of blogs next to the church...

The road behind!

Them Fenland roads

The road ahead... a bit demoralising!

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Good day to you ma'am!

Lots of artwork to entertain us along the bike path between bardney and boston! We thought this one most appropriate and couldn't resist this pose! And it's worked so well! I can't help laughing every time i look at it!

Route no. 1

Made it to sustrans route no 1 in lincoln. Lincoln to boston here we come!

Knaith Hall

We just had to stay at Knaith Hall... And it was everything we hoped it would be... Amazing house, lovely church and marvellous hosts! Rosie's cooking was delicious, accompanied by some stimulating conversation. And Pickle the dog was adorable! We found it hard to drag ourselves away and didn't get started until 11am on tuesday!

Lunch stop at hooton pagnell

First day of 2nd leg: stopped here after some long climbs and strategic jelly bean stops! Shortly after this pic, we got our first soaking and then several others throughout the day. Went thro pontefract- no liquorice - what's that about then?! Wondering what happens to time between 2pm and 5pm... It seems to vanish!

Test run

Having probs with blogging!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009


This was a bit of a surprise on the cycle path! Had to unload to transport all our stuff down there.

Cycling in the middle of the canal

What a nice way to leave leeds... Cycling on the trans pennine cycle path in the middle of the canal. It's lovely! We saw ducks, a heron, diving black headed gulls and a stoat. No roadkill! And lots of friendly people.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Leaving leeds!

Leaving leeds!

After first and second breakfast.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Roundhay Park

Made it to the train station for 5.45pm to meet Kate. My top speed on the way was 31mph! That was a good downhill bit! Kate and I got the train to saltaire, to stay with jane, went out for some food and slept soundly. Sunday was rest day. Got up late, went to salts mill and saw the Hockney paintings, bookshop and enormous bike shop. Saltaire is really picturesque (it's a world heritage site). Then took off to leeds to take photos of the old house and other places that mum and dad and my bro's frequented, eg Roundhay Park. We were also lucky enough to meet up with Bernadette, whose family was part of our extended family in gledhow. She had some lovely stories to tell, and had a few old family photos to show us too. A lovely day.

There are always more hills!

Just when you thought they must be flattening out by now...

St wilfred's church on Duchy Road

Where my dad was a committed volunteer (what did you do exactly dad?). I spent about 3hours wandering around harrogate in the sunshine, taking photos. Then i had to dash off to meet kate in leeds station.

11 Ripon road

Used to be an eye clinic and mum and dad used to live there.


Made it to Harrogate! Anne and i parted company at Grewelthorpe (just after Masham), so i completed the rest of the journey to harrogate and then leeds by myself. The trials of the journey had taken their toll (sticky brake, dodgy gears, numerous punctures and very dodgy unexpected dual-carriageway dash didn't help), so Anne took the opportunity to go off on her own mission. I felt rather low for the first few miles by myself, but my spirits were soon lifted by a fellow cyclist who drew up beside me and chatted for a while. He was totally impressed by the whole ride and just before he cycled away, he reached into his pocket and handed me a fiver for the cause, which made my heart sing.

The road ahead

Kind of goes down and up again quite steeply... It helps to notice this and get in the right gear in time!

Sue and George Furby

Our fantastic hosts at the garden house b&b in Masham. Masham's home to the theakston brewery, so tasting the local brew was a must!

Breakfast in Masham

Spot the breakfast - It's quite well camouflaged!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Golf Balls Can Kill

So, if you've managed to escape being blown up, or flattened by a tank around Cattrick Garrison, you're still not on safe ground! Do these people know anything other than death?! And golf. And finally... we really did see a baby calf being born in a field not 5mins away from this place. It tried to stand up a few times, with cows clustering all around it. They were very excitable, bless them.


Just in case we were in any doubts as to the possibility of injury in these badlands- we ourselves could have joined the flattened roadkill posse!

MoD restrictions

Had to modify our route a bit around Cattrick Garrison, cos 'map my ride' allowed us to pick a scenic route right where we could have been blown up!

Richmond castle?

Toasted teacakes and hot chocolate took priority over sleuthing for info about the local history at this stop! We were mightily impressed by this fortification tho!

Hedgerow Country

It's really nice to see, and cycle through the small country lands with hedgerows on either side. They're mostly hawthorn with elder (in flower), and i'm sure i've seen some elm in there. Occasionally there's some sweet smelling honeysuckle too. Mmmm! And Anne found some teeny tiny wild strawberries by the side of the road in a wooded stretch. Cow parsley's definitely outnumbering the meadowsweet now, and we've gone from moorland to rolling hills with patchworks of different colours; green hay meadows with wild flowers, bright yellow mown meadows, golden ripening barley, dark green potato fields, bright green corn and green pastures with cows and sheep dotted about them. There's also an abundance of estates; grand houses with pastureland and enormous, spreading mature trees scattered throughout. And stone built villages with a pub and a church in each one. And in the larger towns, there are thriving market squares that some still have markets in at the weekend (the rest of the time they're a car park!) It's beautiful. We've declared Richmond the friendliest town so far. People spontaneously started conversations with us, and in the tearoom where we stopped for a wee refreshment, we actually had someone approach us to ask if he could make a donation! So i haven't carried my empty collecting tin 200miles for nothing!


Just one of the gorgeous small villages we're passing through.

Barnard Castle

Lunch stop!

High Force waterfall

Went a bit the wrong way this morning, partly due to middleton in Tees being a bit obscured on the google map (so we missed the fact that there were in fact two rivers) and partly cos we didn't check that although we were on the B6277, we were going in the opposite direction to barnard castle! So, we got 5 miles on before i was absolutely certain we were on the wrong road. But luckily this took us to High Force waterfall, which is the highest one in England. So we went and had a look. After our 10 mile warm up, we were back at middleton in Tees, and found the right road (really well signposted and has the bridge inn on it!?). Think that's been the best bit of road so far- it has rolling hills, with the pace of a mountain bike trail, but a bit smoother and not so many obstacles! Almost a euphoric ride for me, contrasting nicely with yesterday's emotional and physical trial. However, note to self: don't eat kippers for breakfast, as they'll repeat on you all morning. That and the sight of roadkill makes for a queazy ride!

Middleton in Teesdale

A terrible photo of middleton in Tees... It's very pretty! So glad to see this place after our 3400ft cumulative climb! Nearly missed dinner in every pub, but luckily was guided to the Bridge Inn... It's owned by the community and the profits go back into community projects. They're a Community Interest Company. Had to share a bed at the b&b, cos there were no twin rooms available to book online (it's a popular place for walkers)... Got a bit of a funny look when we checked in!

More Moors

Lots of these. Basically we went over the pennines yesterday. Very steep climbs, but amazing views and long downhills too!

This was once a fluffy bunny

Roadkill. When you're going uphill forever, you notice this every few yards. It makes me feel a bit sick... And it's not just rabbits... We've seen shrews, lapwings, hedgehogs, badgers, small birds, crows all in various mangled states. Bleugh!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

The ford at Stanhope

Bit too deep to cross on potentially wobbly bikes, i think!

The moors

Lots and lots of hills today. Especially between hexham and stanhope. This was near(ish) the top (so far). Missing my lowest gears, Rod!

Guess what...

Where we found out that the bike man in Hawick changed the back wheel's innertube, which there'd been no problems with at all... whoops... At least Anne found something lodged in the tyre, which may have been the problem...

Curious cows at Hadrian's Wall

The right road

As opposed to the wrong one... Luckily we hadn't gone too far!

Demesne Farm bunkhouse

Pretend baby in the bunkhouse

You can switch these ones off at night!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


One of our floral travelling companions. It's everywhere!

Kielder Water

Had to zoom through this beautiful place. But made it to bellingham for 7.30 pm. Covered 61miles today altogether. Sharing a bunk house with group of teenagers with pretend crying babies, and sharing room with 71 year old lady walking pennine way.

Border crossing

Made it to the border at Deadwater! Felt like we were doing some kind of illegal border crossing- going the back way!

What's the verdict, doctor?

Left Anne's bike with lovely bike shop man to find out why she keeps getting punctures and to sort out sticking brake. There's not really anything wrong, except the mismatch between shraeder wheel rim and presta innertube. In the absence of little black hole converters (technical term) he's sold us some new shraeder innertubes. Seems to have done the trick! He also advised us to take a different route to bellingham- bit longer, but less hilly. We left here at 2pm, with about 50 miles to go.

Lunchtime in hawick

Sandwich shop man used to live in norfolk and loves it. Thinks it's the best place in the uk! He's emigrating to australia.

Moral support

After innertube nightmare, we thought anne might need a lift to hawick. After flagging down lots of cars, these guys actually hung around to make sure our plan z actually worked! It did and we cycled on.