FRIDAY 14TH April 
BELLINGHAM -TYNEMOUTH PRIORY. 50 MLS



Cool and cloudy a good breakfast and we were loaded and on our way Re stocking in the village shop. A new film and last minute adjustments. We were all a little subdued as we cycled out of Bellingham "Last day". The sun was trying to get out as we cycled east surprise surprise the wind is an easterly, how many easterly winds do you get in this country, well at least two, both times I'm cycling east on the coast to coast and the reivers.A couple of miles then we start the climbing and pushing but the views are rewarding,

Looking back towards Bellingham


 The Reivers is well signed. We slowly cycle east. After a week of battling the elements with just the bike and your gear it is strange it becomes a way of life and you don't want it to end. We cycle through a muddy farm yard and slowly down to the A 68 Colin is working out how long it would take him to go straight home to Bishop but Karen will be at Tynemouth. We cycle slowly towards the coast, through some wild countryside we have a steady ride through rural lanes and we are thinking we are doing well till we arrive at a crossroads at the bottom of a hill and yes the route goes left up a long long hill RYAL bank it was a ride then it was a push.

If in doubt its uphill


What goes up must come down and we can rally down to the village of Matfen a pleasant village with a pub and at last we can enjoy a lunchtime pint sitting outside - Colin photographs the event- Once in a full week.

At last sitting out


We cycle towards Stamfordham and we get to another pub with a sign outside REIVERS welcome so we accept his hospitality. The holiday and the ride is nearly over we start switching mobiles on waiting for the call re collection. As we approach Darras hall there is a steady stream of expensive Mountain bike riders all clean with clean gear we are travelling as  mud splattered veterans.
We cycle along the back of Darras hall with the extremely upmarket properties through Ponteland and a cycle track alongside the Golf course we are caught by a Clown on a second hand racing bike who starts to impress us on how and where he cycles. There he is with pop bottle taped to his bike and jam jar bottom specs old raggy jumper eventually he cycles off to annoy someone else.
We cross the A l and hit the built up area its funny all the vehicles and people after days of solitude it felt very strange. It was just head down through the council estates and cycle lanes slowly to the coast where we were programmed for a 6pm finish. We hit Whitley Bay sea front and cycle together towards Tynemouth Priory we can see it in the distance but is still a fair way.

A deserted sea front


 We all go in together a downhill finish with a Crowd waiting to greet us our fame is spreading.

The End of another epic


Again a strange feeling when you stop a sense of achievement and pleasure but also an empty feeling because once again an epic ride is over. It was along way to Tynemouth we fought breakdowns the weather, stray dogs but once again we get with a smile on our faces.

Next year I think we will have to delay until May. The weather will be better??

The next ride will be the Millennium ride so we will have to give it some thought. The West Country, The North Sea Ride. Wherever we will definitely get something under our belts yet again.

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Observations - Finishing thoughts
Yet again a good holiday despite everything the weather threw at  us.

Best Digs - CREETOWN
Best Pint - CREETOWN

Best Pub - Commercial Inn Annan (ONLY JOKING Colin), The New Bazaar Dumfries.

BEST BREAKFAST- CREETOWN

BEST MEAL - Personally I liked the Solway cafe Annan but then I was ready for a nosh. The Bird in Hand at Johnstone was good despite the outside entertainment.

BEST STOP - The top of the Nic 0,Balloch so I could get my breath back and you knew it was downhill for miles.
BIGGEST LAUGH - Keilder and the Snow. Eating chips in a public loo on Troon sea front sheltering from the elements, Colin's purchases in an Ayr Charity Shop committed to Poetry. .

WORST PINT - We had to go on Lager in some parts of Scotland that speaks volumes.

There were no bad digs this year.

AWARDS

GRAEME - THE SECOND YEAR RUNNING -

THE NIC 0 BALLOCH TO NEWTON STEWART SPRINT CHAMPION.
COLIN - POET Laurete" NOMINEE" - CULTURE VULTURE COL.
MAL - BORDER FORESTS "CYCLING IN SNOW" CHAMPION.
(MY OTHER BIKES IN A SNOW DRIFT IN KIELDER)

1999 Introduction 1999 Day 1 1999 Day 2 1999 Day 3 1999 Day 4
1999 Day 5 1999 Day 6 1999 Day 7 1999 Poem  


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