England cycle trip 2023 (1)

Rainbow in Northumberland (England) between Wark and Bellingham. It's not the best composition as it was taken from the position where I could stay the driest.
Rainbow in Northumberland (England) between Wark and Bellingham. It’s not the best composition as it was taken from the position where I could stay the driest.

I traveled to Northumberland (in the north of England, almost on the Scottish border) for an event at the end of March. Getting there consisted of a train journey to Newcastle and some cycling to the destination. I was a bit dreading the bicycle space reservation. However the call to LNER customer service was quick and unproblematic. And so I was able to get on my bike in Newcastle at 12 o’clock on time on a Friday and saw that the surrounding hills are a bit higher than those near where I live.

However, there were two setbacks: The wind blew in my face and contained water droplets. Luckily, the rain wasn’t a problem as it didn’t last long and the wind and sun allowed for quick drying. It rained a few more times over the 70 km, but only so much that I only got a little wet on the outside.

I left Newcastle on Hadrian’s Way (bicycle route 72), a cycle path that initially led along an old railway. The tarmac was questionable in a few places but mostly fine. After the railway line I continued along the River Tyne and finally along small roads until I turned north just before Hexham.

When planning the route, I wanted to avoid big roads, but what I wasn’t aware of was that the small roads had a lot of altitude. They don’t go all the way over the tops of the surrounding hills, but 80% are hard enough. And so I went up twice before I got back to the river. Since the traffic here is much less dense than at home, the main roads would have been OK. But I only noticed that when I had to use it for a short time and was much less overtaken than expected.

Elevation profile of the Newcastle cycle tour. I could have saved myself the hill to Anick and in front of Low Brunton.
Elevation profile of the Newcastle cycle tour. I could have saved myself the hill to Anick and in front of Low Brunton.

On the way I was able to talk to another cyclist, because we were traveling in the same direction at a similar speed. However, there were not many people on the road overall, so this encounter was lucky.

The interesting thing about the rain was that you only had to find a tree trunk to stay reasonably dry. At the end of March the crowns were still empty, but the wind was so strong that the rain came from the side and not from above. I was lucky enough to find a tree in time during the heaviest showers, also because the landscape was so wide that you could see the showers a few minutes before arrival. Rain and sunshine created the beautiful rainbow in the cover photo.

SRTM relief map with GPS data
SRTM relief map with GPS data

One response to “England cycle trip 2023 (1)”

  1. We love Northumberland and also drove on the small roads, by car though. We found that many of the hilltops of roads were very short, so that going too fast would cause the car to lose contact with the road (we didn’t šŸ˜‰ ). Some of the young lads make use of that effect with their motorbikes. The rainbow is beautiful!

    Like

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