Tag Archives: A697

End to End Day Eight – home made bread, busy roads with delightful breaks, iconic Tyne Bridge and Angel of the North, much needed meat and fresh veg

Wooler to Chester le Street – 60 miles

453 miles completed – 562 still to go.

After a lovely very homemade breakfast at The Old Mill (much recommended) and Pete hanging around to discuss Paulette’s porridge recipe with her (“your porridge was the best I have ever tasted”) we carried on south down the A697. This continued to be a long straight and fast road and as we moved closer to the A1 the number and frequency of very big lorries on this narrow road did seem to increase making it feel quite dangerous – we had to concentrate hard on working together as a unit and staying on the white line.
We took a couple of breaks – the first in response to a “cafe open” sign – this one included an”emporium”full of all sorts of amazing goodies from antique china to a rich variety of furnishing fabrics. I was handed a gaoler’s key for the loo and asked to try to make sure I did not lock someone in when I finished and re-locked.

At Long Framlington, a pretty village, we stopped again for a very nice sandwich, freshly made at David Carr’s award winning Grocery. Such a kind team – they let us use their staff loo and wished us well with our trip. David has run the store for over 40 years and still gets up at 3 30 to receive the milk!
Finally the road joined the A1 for a short while – perfectly safe with a proper protected cycle lane – and then we took the more minor A road into the Britain in Bloom winner, Morpeth. An attractive town, full of flowers, selling my favourite Aveda tea -and we enjoyed sitting in the sun in the square listening to a talented busker, with whom Pete tried to have a conversation while he played.

On to Newcastle via the airport -we found our way to Wilson’s Cycles to buy some gels for me and for our regular tyre pressure check. Unfortunately their pump’s gauge was broken and so they were unable to help with this. Pete used our hand pumps instead but we had to guess the pressure. We hope we can do this more accurately when we reach York.

Pete’s Garmin guided us safely through the rush hour traffic of Newcastle on cycle paths and over the iconic Tyne Bridge  (Pete: “I am sure there is more traffic here than in London “). Then down the A167 and past Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North. Finally into Chester Le Street and then a couple of miles west to The Moorings Hotel. This has good facilities and, more importantly, their Rib-Eye restaurant. Our bodies were telling us now that they wanted meat and fresh veg and it was just wonderful to have their home made burgers (although it is possible that Pete overdid it on this front), salads and veg. Much chat over supper about the anticipated rain for our 80 mile route to York planned for tomorrow – waterproofs, we think 😦





End to End Day Seven – Edinburgh ring road, Dalkeith, dangerous A68, Steve, wonderful A697, Thirlestane Castle, Judy, into England, The Old Mill, Wooler

Edinburgh to Wooler 75 miles

393 miles completed – 622  to go

Early breakfast at Travelodge (they do at least do this from 7 am) and off round the inner Edinburgh ring road (B701 following green RR signs for cyclists travelling eastbound) The route caters fairly well for cyclists- although the road surface is poor in places. Into Dalkeith for a coffee and cookie – sizeable town now giving the impression of significant disadvantage.

Started to lose my chain off the front rings (over shifting). With the nearest bike shop at least 35 miles away, plan B involved Pete finding the appropriate video on Google which would show him a. which little screw to adjust b. which way to turn it and c. how far to turn it without making the situation worse – brilliant! Took a while but eventually fixed and on our way.  Saw a pony in a field full of ragwort.

Once off the ring road we had to take the A68 South. If you are cycling and have any choice I would suggest you avoid this road. Very busy, very straight, very narrow and many many large lorries in both directions. In a lay-by we me Steve and his Braty Wagon. He was just so kind insisting on giving is free food and drink and telling us all about the four jobs he held down working 100 hours a week. However, he did make us promise, wherever possible to use the pavement or side path on the A68 because of those lorries.

We duly followed his good advice – but a real nightmare since the path, where it existed, was lumpy and bumpy in the extreme or very overgrown while the road itself was newly surfaced – but he was right, there was no room for us on that road. We had also been climbing over the xxxx hills so all in all a difficult experience.

After a very slow 15 miles or so we turned onto the much nicer A697. Now this was lovely, Still fast traffic and big lorries but not continuous both ways so there was plenty of space for the traffic to pass. Also we came down off the hills and began to make much faster progress – Pete informing me of things like “28 mph on the flat there, Mum”.

2.30 pm and turned off the road for lunch at Thirlestane Castle. Here we met Judy, who not only made us the most enormous delicious sandwiches, she also took our photos for the Thirlestane Castle Facebook page – and then told us about her incredible journeys round the world to support animal rescue initiatives. She is off to help elephants in India next spring – amazing! And good luck, Judy!

Still 35 miles to go but the road was now very fast indeed  – The Tour of Britain uses the same route in September.  We stopped  briefly in Black Adder at 50 miles and Cold Stream (the full of history border town) at 60 miles. Very beautiful Border countryside.

Over the River Tweed – and then … The England border! Wooo! And into Northumberland.

Still a fast road although the hills ahead were approaching rapidly. Last three miles and we hit the hills as we climbed up and into Wooler, our destination at 75 miles.

Arrived at the Old Mill to a very warm welcome from Patrick and Paulette for whom nothing was too much trouble. As our bicycles were slotted into proper bike stands in the garage I apologised for being so sweaty and grubby. Patrick kindly said he had seen much worse and told us that they had had to call a paramedic for their previous cyclists!

Later – Mum to Pete: Petie, can you stop talking now for a bit – I need to go to sleep.

Pete to Mum: Mum, before you die, can you make me a list of the adventures we have shared so I don’t forget them!