Saints and Sinners ride

Day 1

Darlington to Seahouses

via Berwick and Holy Island

 

 

The plan was for us all to meet at Darlington Station by 9 am at the latest. Guess we were all keen as we arrived 8.45.

Lee lives near so cycled up, Amanda took Stephen, and Karen took Colin and Christopher. Bike racks are a great invention.

Naturally Christopher and Stephen had to call at the platform cafe for a Sausage and Bacon roll.  Colin checked with the ticket control to ensure the bikes were booked and best place to stand ready for the train. Told only stops for 1 minute so have to load them quick.  East Coast are very good and do take bikes on trains free of charge, despite all the urban legends saying about problems. All that is required is that they are booked at the time of the ticket booking.

First little hiccup Christopher's carrying strap on his back pack snaps. Hope that's not an omen! 

 

Final Checks

Stephen Entertains to pass the time while we wait

 

As the train pulls up we are in position ready, The guard van opens the door and we quickly place the bikes in the stands and secure them with the broad Velcro straps.  Even though it was quick and easy we still don't have time to walk down to the carriage were our seats are booked. So we hop on at the first open door and have to walk down the corridor. Still have time for a quick photo, Thanks Karen, even got the First Class label in the pic. Got a few comments when that went onto face book.

Colin Checks the tickets for the 20th time

All aboard First Class now for the long walk

We walk right down the train to the front for our booked seats, only to find a young girl had claimed them despite the reserved tickets being clearly displayed, she had herself and her luggage spread all over our seats. Don't think she was very happy when we asked her to move but we had reserved them and we wanted the table that was with the seats. So finally seated and out comes the map to check with Christopher and confirm the route options. I had a map from the 2006 Trip we had done (was it really that long ago) but had bought the most recent one to show the latest variations on the route.

Route agreed and we could relax, looking out the window, posting pics to face book via the free East Coast wi fi of the stations we passed through and looking over the coast thinking how we would be cycling back down over the next 2 days.

 

Passing Durham

Stop at Newcastle Upon Tyne

 

Arrive at Berwick upon Tweed bang on schedule, we had walked up the train so we were ready to jump off as it stopped, still a bit hurried as the train doesn't stop for long.

Bikes on the platform train pulls away, so we find the toilets and then the exit, it was well hidden all cycling kit on and bags on our backs ready for the off.
As we exit the station one of Stephens work colleagues and family comes over to wish us luck, nice touch and with dry sunny day to start the ride we cycle up a small bank to the top of the main street. Stephen says no need for the map so we follow him, Naturally we take a long way round to get on route after one wrong turning into a car park. Christopher we will use the map from now on.

Over the old low bridge and along the waters edge on route,  through Spittal and out on the coastal path. As we climb on the rough track it gets warm so we stop Colin strips down to shorts and top coats come off or zipped down. The route wanders along close and a little way in from the coast, a lovely day for cycling and spectacular scenery. We arrive at a gate that needs to be opened, Stephen volunteers as he likes to be riding out in front. He pulls it so hard it comes away from its hinges, we all file through then hold his bike so he can put it back on its hinges, look how strong I am he says as he steps back and falls through the cattle grid, well his foot and leg go down, right through the grate, when he tried to pull it back out it started to pull his shoe off, sorry we don't have a photo we were all laughing so hard.

11.30 only 1 hour into the actual peddling  and our accident prone cyclist had taken us into a car park, smashed a gate and fallen down a cattle grid. While we were stopped Colin reached for the map he was carrying and found he had lost it, not bad all this within the first hour of cycling. 

Photo stop after map debacle. Crossing and old military range, We decide we will all follow Stephen in case there are any land mines, he will be sure to find them

 

Luckily it was the old map and Christopher had the new one safe. Good choice to let him keep it. Quick check to be sure we were still on route and carried on towards Holy Island. Its a great route and follows a flat  path through the fields along beside the hedges. Of course this time of the year the thorn bushes have been cut and yes we have our first puncture of the day, just short of holy island Lee has a flat. He is the mechanic this ride so quickly repairs his puncture and we are on our way.

 

 

Lee fixes his puncture

Approaching Holy Island Causeway

We arrive at the cause way bang on schedule and Lee and Stephen have a race across to the island. Lee wins but on the phone apps they have "Strava" says Stephen was the quickest. They bickered about it for the rest of the weekend, like an old married couple. Colin and Christopher have amore leisurely ride enjoying the scenery, also noting the wind was at our backs so we know what that would mean for the return. We have a lunch break with sandwiches from the old post office, then do the touristy bit, with pics and visit all the historical sites. Colin is asked to take a picture of a couple at he statue, English Husband and Oriental wife, Hope the photo turned out OK for you, I'm not the best photographer.

Statue of a real saint ( St. Cuthbert )

'Parish Church of Saint Mary the Virgin'

They have to have a downhill race from Lindisfarne castle

 

 

 

 

Come on lads next stop Bamburgh castle but we have to go round

 

 

 

 

We cycle back over the causeway, into the wind then follow the track beside the road, meandering down towards Bamburgh, Christopher picks a route that hugs the coast rather than the sustrans one that  goes inland, I though this was supposed to be the Coast and Castles. We arrive in Bamburgh and have an ice-cream. Admire the castle then I phone the B&B. Mary answers and I give her the ETA. 

 

Bamburgh Castle from the lower car park.

We cycle along the coast road lovely and flat but still into the wind. Arriving in Seahouses at 5 pm. Colins planning had no timings for arrival as Holy Island was an unknown. Mileage was planned at 37, actual was 37 spot on .

Our digs are next to a cemetery, so we all dig around our repertoires for relevant jokes. We certainly did that one to death (sorry couldn't resist). At least we thought we would have a quiet night for sleeping.  Wrong.

Mary answers the door at the B&B lovely pleasant lady, shows us where to put the bikes. Nice and secure in the garage. Then up to our rooms, 
Christopher and Stephen take the front room, which is larger of the two but has the smaller en-suite and views over the main road. 
Colin and Lee are left with the back room. Smaller of the two but great en-suite shower and  and views over the nice large garden.

We all get ready and head down to town for a look round. Mary gave us some tips on best places to visit. We chose to have  Fish and Chips at Pinnaccles. That's the one visited by the Hairy Bikers. Although they close at 7pm we are not rushed out and had a lovely meal, then we had a walk around the harbour and into the Old Ship Inn. Used the wi fi in the bar for facebook uploads, then into the beer garden for views over the harbour towards the Farne Islands.

Dusk falling over Seahouses harbour

Early night in a comfortable bed, we could hear Stephen and Christopher talking and laughing as we fell asleep.
About 1 am Christopher and Stephen are woken by some banging and clattering from the other guest. Seems she came in late and was quite noisy in here return. 

Colin and Lee slept through it so looks like we picked the best room.

 

Route

Day 1 Day2

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