Corbridge to Hawick

Another beautiful morning greeted us when we left the Wheatsheaf this morning. The wind had dropped and although it was cold we could see that the sun was going to be with us for a good part of the day.

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Heading first along the Tyne valley and then up into the North Tyne toward Bellingham was a great way to start our journey today. The picturesque rolling fields and hedgerows of Northumberland were amazing to be riding through with hundreds of newly born lambs and a myriad of bird life.

We met Gav, our biking friend, for a spell up until Kielder village where we bid him farewell as we pushed on for the border.

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It was a great feeling crossing into Scotland and we spent the rest of the afternoon reflecting on our journey so far.

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With the final long downhill into Hawick complete, we were welcomed into the B and B with a cuppa and a biscuit.

The Wedding

A beautiful sunny spring day in Corbridge signalled our first rest day and more importantly the day of Anna and Mark’s wedding. The service in Prudhoe Methodist church was perfect and was followed by Anna and Mark’s arrival at the reception in Corbridge in a beautiful classic VW camper van.

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The reception was superb in every way: great food, great chat and lots of laughs. A bit of dancing loosened up the leg muscles, before we had to tear ourselves away for a far too early start the next day.

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The day was fantastic and we wish them every happiness in their new life as Mr and Mrs Fenwick

Kendal to Corbridge

This was always going to be a big day and it did not disappoint. We began, a little weary from our 70 miles the day before, with the 10 mile climb up to the summit of Shap Fell on the A6. It had got cold again overnight, and the wind was up again. It took us a while but as we rolled into Shap village and saw the signs for Penrith, we reminded each other of the lunch stop in Melmerby proposed yesterday by Barbara who had mentioned the outstanding village bakery. So with about 20 miles to go before this legendary eatery we got our heads down and made for Penrith.

Things were going well up to about 3 miles from Melmerby and the beginning of the climb up Hartside pass. As we bowled down a hill just outside Langwathby my saddle suddenly disappeared from beneath me. The bolt holding it to the seat post had sheared off. Later I was reminded by Cate of the lunch from the previous day, which I had to confess could have been to blame. However, we had a dilemma now. I had no spare bolt, we were in the middle of nowhere, and there was no way of getting a taxi as we had no reception. A good deal of head scratching later I noticed the bolt holding my front mudguard on was the only option, it worked and we were free to go to lunch, a close shave.

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The lunch was great and it fuelled us up Hartside with no problem. Dealing with the icy temperatures coming down the other side was another matter and we were glad to get a cuppa in Alston.

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From here it seemed best to head down to the Tyne Valley and across to Hexham and then Corbridge. This took a while longer than we thought as when we finally got into the Wheatsheaf Hotel we had been on the go for nearly 12 hours.

Ainsdale to Kendal

We had a fantastic night with friends in Ainsdale and a huge thanks to Michelle, Chris, Dan and William for looking after us and providing us with a great meal, comfy bed and laundry service.

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Today’s destination, Kendal in the Lake District began with a long but fast peddle along to Preston and then the A6 up to Garstang. Here we arranged to meet up with our friend Barbara who had parked at the end of the route and peddled down to our rendezvous. We made quick time to Lancaster and headed west for a proper lunchtime cafe on the front at Morecambe.

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The views over to the Lakes were spectacular and stayed with us as we gradually made our way north along the banks of the Lancaster canal.

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Barbara’s sustained encouragement and the substantial lunch from the Coffee Pot cafe brought us safely within a stone’s throw of Kendal and as we entered this busy Lakeland town we said our goodbyes and found the B and B for the night.

Shrewsbury to Ainsdale

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We had an early start for this flattish ride up to Chester and along the Wirral into Liverpool. Just as well as the total looked like topping 80 miles. With much of the route on A roads the morning was spent with our heads down and high visibility vests fluttering in the breeze.

Turning to ride due west towards Liverpool the wind was behind us for the first time in the trip and we made good time coming into Birkenhead with enough time for an amazing cake and a cuppa at the ferry terminal.

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Crossing the river Mersey was a fantastic experience. It signified arriving in the North and to an area we both know well. It also meant that our friends could show their support which was very much appreciated. First to greet us were the Tamburros, who waved us through Crosby…

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A little further up the road a spectacular display greeted us and the commuters who were headed home from work. Helen’s mum and dad had pulled all the stops out for their MacMillan themed blockbuster.

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Just when we though it was all done, we were met by a guard of honour, dispatched from Ainsdale to see us home for the last few miles. All in all quite an amazing afternoon for which we were incredibly grateful.

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Almonsbury, the Malverns and route 45

Back to winter then for our ride on Monday to Great Malvern and our friends, Lizzie & Tom.

The wind had picked up over night and was to remain our constant nagging companion for the day. As we made progress through more beautiful villages and countryside on the way to Gloucester we chatted about the generosity of the people we had met so far on the trip.

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By the time we got to Gloucester there was a pressing need for coffee and lunch, we found both in the docks.

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The afternoon passed by and we rolled up to the foot of the Malvern hills. It was great to see Lizzie and Tom who welcomed us with open arms and a nice bottle of red. Our eternal thanks goes out to them.

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Back to spring again as we left for Worcester from an alpine Malvern. I was stoked up for the day with poached eggs of premium quality from our hosts and we had a route mapped out in the form Sustrans number 45 all the way to Shrewsbury.

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The day whizzed past and after lunch in Bewdley we got into some lovely traffic free trails in Wyre forest. The only problem was that our off road speed was quite slow, so come Bridgenorth at 5 pm we still had 20 miles to go.

We cracked on into Ironbridge and then tried to get out of the gorge which took its toll on our legs.

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Rolling into Shrewsbury at 7:30pm was not quite the plan but after such a great day we could hardly moan. Anyone for a curry and a pint?

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Happy Easter!

A bright and early start this morning meant breakfast with some Spanish spiritualists in Glastonbury. We had a great stay at Pilgrims B & B in this great little town and would recommend it whole heartedly. Our hosts, Clare and  Brian were so accommodating and generously donated to MacMillan, thanks guys.

It was a beautiful morning riding out of Glasto

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and after a stiff climb up from the Levels and a roll into Bristol we cycled underneath the iconic Clifton suspension bridge

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before  making our way past the historic birth place of the Rev. C Clinch, and on to Avonmouth.

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With a few navigational adjustments in the numerous industrial estates along  nations cycle route 41 we eventually stood scratching our heads at a cross roads. The consensus was 10 miles to go until we saw the sign for Almonsbury hiding behind the hedge, just 2miles to go…Bingo!

Rolling into the Bowl Inn was the easilest miles of the trip so far and the reward was several pints in the sun and some more amazingly generous people willing to donate to the cause.

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What a great day and for tomorrow, it’s off to Great Malvern and Lizzy and Tom.

Glastonbury

Well we have made it to Glastonbury,one of the most spiritual and mystical locations in the UK. I have to say that yesterday afternoon, crawling our way onto Dartmoor with a headwind of 30 miles an hour I thought it would take a miracle or at least some celestial intervention to get me through to Mortonhampstead. Luckily we made it, and believe me that was the hardest day’s riding either me or Cate has done…ever. For the statisticians out there, 10 hours, 2130m vertical climbing, 4000 cals and some lemon meringue pie was the way of things.

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Today a bright and early start for the 75 mile leg to Glasto saw us leave the pretty but lethal Devonshire hills behind and make for the border with Somerset. After an early morning navigation through Exeter, we travelled through some amazing little thatched villages and eventually came down to the Somerset levels then to Glastonbury and a warm welcome at our B & B.

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Land’s End to Fowey.

What a great start to our trip. The sun stayed out for most of the day and even though the temperature remained quite low it was beautiful to travel through this lovely county.

Lunch was provided courtesy of the post office at Fourlanes with a perfect pastie from the local bakers. It was lovely to eventually meet up with our friend Diane for the afternoon’s riding where a brief detour to her parent’s farm provided a welcome cuppa.

The final part of the day was hard going as the relentless short sharp climbs kept coming, but eventually we rolled into Fowey. 65 miles and 1600m of climbing done! 

Good morning Cornwall

After a great journey through the night, we woke to a cold but sunny Penzance. Now, stood at Land’s End with the whole of the country ahead we feel lucky to be able to take part in this adventure. Thanks again for all the support.

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