Day 39, 25th June 2011, Cocksburnpath to Morpeth

We left this morning in a cold light drizzle and solid overcast to ride up a big hill. This was an appropriate ending for our riding in Scotland.  This is not to disparage Scotland, the weather gives it the mystical quality that is so beguiling.

As we got to the crest of the hill we had a spectacular view back north up the coast.

Glistening in the sunlight was the nuclear power station at Torness, right on the coast, only there was no sunlight.

A few miles further north we could see the steam billowing out from the cement factory, as they dehydrated the lime for the cement, presumably using the power from Torness, thereby establishing a tiny carbon footprint.

We pressed on today, as last night we decided to check the ferry timetable out of Newcastle, only to find that the Sunday night ferry was booked out.  This is unprecedented in or experience, and we believe it may be due to a major bike race in Newcastle that has attracted the major teams from Europe. They will have come with vans full of equipment, and the teams and officials will likely need the ferry to get home.

The upshot of this is that we will catch a ferry out of Hull, and that will require a train trip.  We are not going to ride from Newcastle to Hull as we have already done that. So we had to get closer to Newcastle tonight than we had planned, to allow for the trains.

We made a point of riding as close to the coast as we could, all on road.  We crossed the national cycle network route 1 numerous times, but decided to ignore it.  The first time we saw it this morning we were riding on a perfectly good road, and the sign suggested we ride up a nearly vertical rough gravel track.  So we didn’t.

This was generally easy riding after the first hill, on gently undulating country, farming country, with fields sloping away down to the sea.

We rode over one shallow ridge, and came upon Bamburgh Castle.  It just appeared at this point.  It is pretty impressive, and makes Edinburgh Castle look pretty ordinary by comparison.

As we rode south, the population density increased, and so did the frequency of delightful, quintessentially English villages.  It is Saturday, the weather was pleasant, so people were out and about, sitting outside the pubs and coffee shops, just enjoying life. 

While this was a long ride on a long day, just under 130km, it was not difficult.  The country was a pleasure to ride through, the weather immediately improved when we left Scotland, and we rode in balmy conditions in light clothing for the first time in ages.

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