18.08.2011 - 24.08.2011
On waking on my last day in Scotland I was greeted by a fresh dog poo just outside my tent, thanks to the inconsiderate dog owner for leaving me that present. I broke camp and headed for the border and the Northumberland coast. What a gem this coastline is, the beaches are sublime and there were even people sitting on them, unlike in Scotland. I now regret not taking the detour to Lindisfarne, it would have meant over five miles down a road and then five miles doubling back. My reason was to make it to a friend of my sister who lives in Newcastle. I was stunned when I came around a corner and saw Banbourough castle. I freewheeled down the hill in awe of the scale of the structure, forgetting to take any video, but stopped and had lunch on the cricket pitch next to it. What a venue to play sport.
I decided to follow the National Cycle Network path number 1 for a section of this coast and wish I hadn't. It was more of a goat track than a cycle path. Although some of the paths are excellent, others are less than desirable to ride on. The view and route was lovely but I was carrying far too much weight on my bike to be riding along this path, still I persevered and made it through. The distance into Newcastle was further than what the road signs were saying, this was making me later than what I had said to Sara, I was getting hungry, then I went through Whitley Bay which had the smell of curry for about 2 miles. Eventually made it to Sara's and met her 9 year old, Adam, who is good friends with my nephew, Noah. Adam showed me his new drum kit, what a great mother, I was never allowed one. I wonder if she is regretting it now?
I left Newcastle and headed for South. For 60 miles there was not very much to look at apart from the transporter bridge at Middlesborough.
After Redcar the route took me onto the North Yorkshire moors and the lovely town of Whitby, which is where I stayed that night. After Whitby there was less than 20 miles of the North Yorkshire moors left. Once off the moors it was mostly flat all the way down the East coast.
If you read my Twitter feed then it would become clear that I was not a fan of Hull or the surrounding area, my sister phoned me to make sure I was out of Hull as she worried for my safety.
After leaving Hull I Tweeted "I think this is a typo, surely it should say Jesus or Hull, choose. Its the only way I would choose Jesus!"
I did not really enjoy this part of the ride from Scarborough to Kings Lynn, partly due to the flat ride and also due to having a stomach complaint. I had no appetite at all, I would go to a shop for food and wonder around looking at food knowing that I needed to eat but not seeing anything that took my fancy. This was very worrying as before I would eat everything and needed to consume approximately 6,000 calories a day. I later found out that there was a strange life form growing in my water bottle that I used for my carbohydrate drink. Once this was cleaned and sterilised then my problems ceased.
I was not looking forward to Norfolk, thinking it would be flat and after spending the last few days on the flat I was finding it monotonous. I was pleasantly surprised by Norfolk, it is not flat, there are slight hills that meant freewheeling was possible. I got to the North coast of Norfolk and was looking for somewhere to camp and cook my evening meal when I could smell something delicious. On rounding the corner I could saw a restaurant called The Yurt at Drove Orchards in Hunstanton. This was a 14 metre yurt, the largest I have ever seen, on asking if they took cards I went to the toilet block to wash for dinner. The taster menu for a starter was nice and the sardines for my main was delightful, washed down with a very pleasant Sauvignon Blanc. I have just found out that the restaurant is no longer there, but they are looking for another venue, I would definitely reccomend finding the new venue as the experience was wonderful and reasonably priced.
The following day I carried along the North coast of Norfolk and on reaching Cromer I was looking at the back wheel of my bike when I realised not everything was how it should be.
This was the case on four of the rear spokes, I called the shop I had bought the bike from only a few months earlier. John at Spa Cycles in Harrogate was most helpful he even said "I've bloody told Dawes that that rim isn't up to the job." He arranged to have a new rear wheel sent down to me, I just had to get to a bike shop that dealt with Dawes bikes (it was a very nervous 20 miles avoiding all the bumps and potholes I could). I was sent to Streetlife in Norwich, which was good for me for two reasons. Firstly the pub across the road did very cheap rolls, which was why I went there, and they had the largest selection of real ales I have ever seen. My only regret is that I could not try them all. Secondly, a friend that lives in Wymondham, had invited me to stay, but I had replied that he was too far inland for me to detour. Strange how things work out sometimes, I had to have a day off and wait for the wheel to be delivered and even had a place to stay, with a friend to catch up with. Thanks Ian.