Night ride along Hadrian's Wall

colly

Re member eR
Location
Leeds
What a great ride. I really wish I'd seen it before I did. I only noticed it a few days before the off.:sad: I would have loved to have joined you.
Terrific write up too. :thumbsup:
Maybe you will make it an annual event !!
 
OP
Telemark

Telemark

Cycling is fun ...
Location
Edinburgh
What a great ride. I really wish I'd seen it before I did. I only noticed it a few days before the off.:sad: I would have loved to have joined you.
Terrific write up too. :thumbsup:
Maybe you will make it an annual event !!
I am sure it wouldn't take much to convince @mcshroom to do another repeat run :hugs:(or at least something similar ...) ... pretty please?

T
 
OP
Telemark

Telemark

Cycling is fun ...
Location
Edinburgh
Great write-up and pictures Telemark.
I've shared them with the "sleepy" ones :thumbsup:

.
:thumbsup: Have you tried getting the "sleepy" ones to sign up to CC? (I'm afraid I lost track who's on CC, YACF, both or neither, Friday evening there were too many new people all at once after we left the Griffin, and introductions were mostly made in the dark :blush:)

T
 
OP
Telemark

Telemark

Cycling is fun ...
Location
Edinburgh
I've mentioned it to them (actually I suggested yACF where I'm more active) but they all have what they call "lives" whatever they are.
Their loss I think.

.
hmmm ... not convinced :whistle:... I'd say it all depends on how much time you choose to spend on your "internet life" ... personally I am mostly keeping an eye on the "informal rides" section, and again mostly local ones. CC Ecosse has been great for meeting a friendly bunch of cyclists from all over the place, and this recent foray south of the Border :ph34r: was no different from that point of view:cheers:. My few minutes on here a few times a week are time well spent in that respect. The writing-up of epic rides takes a bit longer :blush:.

T
 

mcshroom

Bionic Subsonic
Great pictures!
Who was riding the trike?
How did it do up the hills? I fancy trying one, could take the kitchen sink on trips on the back basket :laugh:
The trike rider was 'Sleepy' from YACF. He rode up to meet us at Hexham so I didn't see him on the steep hills, but knowing how much audaxing he does on the thing I can't imagine he had any problems. Apparently learning to steer trikes without falling off is not easy at first, and that trike has two brakes on the front wheel but none on the back two.
 

Ergle

Über Member
:thumbsup: Have you tried getting the "sleepy" ones to sign up to CC? (I'm afraid I lost track who's on CC, YACF, both or neither, Friday evening there were too many new people all at once after we left the Griffin, and introductions were mostly made in the dark :blush:)

T
Excellent write up - has the makings of a regular event
 

CafGriff

Active Member
Location
Plymouth, Devon
:thumbsup: Thanks for the photos, @mcshroom!

Here we go ... starting again at Greenhead.

The road steepens as the buildings run out, and there is a parallel cycling and walking path that is separated from the road by some bushes. We all ignored it as the roads were completely deserted, but it's quite handy during normal waking hours, especially at weekends when all the Wall tourists are out in their 4-wheelers. I was very happy to be off the road in April, as fast moving traffic and cyclists wobbling uphill in their granny gears don't mix all that well. [The road surface on the cycle track is nothing to write home about, sadly, but it's sufficient].

Where the hill finally flattens out at the top, there is a wee turn-off to the Roman Army Museum and the B&B where we stayed on our spring tour, and had a very nice and hilarious evening meal with a group of walkers going the opposite way, but I digress. There was yet more police presence, this time a patrol car parked with a friendly police woman asking the obvious questions as we waited for everybody to conquer the hill ... what were we up to? and of course why? ... We had quite a long chat, but eventually headed off along the very straight B6138 along the Wall which was completely deserted, apart from some owls hooting somewhere off to the right.

[The official NCN72 turns off the B road at the next opportunity and sweeps down the hill again to the small town of Haltwhistle, which claims to be the Centre of Britain and has a number of shops and hostelries to feed and water hungry cyclists. Another reason for the diversion of the official cycle route away from the Wall is that the B road gets rather busy and motorists drive faster than they should, ignoring the restricted visibility due to the various dips and rises. That's what our B&B landlady had told us, and turned out to be spot-on when we did a wee diversion off the NCN to visit the spectacular Roman Fort & museum at Housesteads ... - if I had to choose only one Roman site to see along the Wall, Housesteads was my favourite.]

I think it was somewhere along this undulating B road that we came across a solo cyclist going the opposite way - we all said hello, like it was the most normal thing in the world to go cycling in the middle of the night :crazy: and carried on cycling. At this stage, it might have been around 2 AM (?), I was starting to wonder when I might begin to feel tired, but Cathy, another 1st time night rider, and I agreed that we couldn't possible have been more alert and alive than we were feeling. Maybe because it was all new to us and such an amazing experience, or because the temperature was dropping and stopping us from getting sleepy?

After another quick stop near the intriguingly named Twice Brewed Inn (and Once Brewed Hostel), where a slack chain was sorted (no names mentioned :angel:), we soon left the deserted B road and headed down the 6-mile long descent to Newbrough along the Stanegate road. We were spread out again, and after I dropped back from the front group to add more layers, I was suddenly all alone. I could occasionally see the twinkling red lights of the front group ahead, and the yellow glow of the group behind just over my personal horizon, but this made me even more aware of just how quiet it was, apart from another owl, some sheep bleating off to the left, and suddenly a rather loud noise, from an invisible donkey that must have been startled by the strange flashing lights disturbing its peace.

Another quick stop to regroup resulted in a search for a dropped glove, which was eventually found on the other side of a wall and restored to its owner by a kind gentleman hopping over the wall, and the silence interrupted by a polite sounding cough from the field over the wall, very loud in the complete silence and darkness outside the circle of lights surrounding us. "What was that?" We shone a light over the wall, and found a herd of cattle just a few metres away :rolleyes:, panic over.

Next stop at Newbrough, to search for a front light that had worked itself loose from somebody's handlebars, luckily it was found just a few metres behind, but I don't think it survived the fall. We used the break to scoff some homemade flapjack, which lightened my load quite a bit. From there it wasn't far to Bridge End, where we turned sharp right to cross an old stone bridge south over the South Tyne, just before its union with the North Tyne. [It was here that we turned off north on our Roman forts tour in April, to Chesters, just a few miles up the road, where we randomly came across a re-enactment group of Roman foot soldiers and cavalry spearing cabbage heads on stakes in full gallop, and a small museum completely stuffed with artifacts rescued by a local landowner who bought up several Roman sites in the vicinity to protect them from being robbed out for stones - well worth a visit if you are passing during opening hours.]

We shot up the slight incline beyond the bridge, past a signposted left turn for the riverside cycle route, but I assumed that this was intentional, grateful for the additional heat generated by the extra effort, as I was feeling quite cold at the time. We stopped where the road met up with the dualled A69 and some fast moving delivery lorries thundering past, to wait for Mcshroom, who was leading from the rear at this stage ... and decided to turn back to re-join the NCN72 by the bridge.

A little further on, on the edge of Hexham, we crossed over the railway line, and quickly reached the 24-hour supermarket that was our main planned food stop, it must have been a little after 4 AM. Just outside we were met by the very wide awake 14th night rider, who had made his own way to Hexham on his rather fetching trike (sorry don't know the forum name :blush:). We all piled in and did our shopping before congregating in the deserted cafe, where we scoffed an interesting assortment of foods, I saw sushi, sandwiches, rather colourful iced doughnuts, bananas, a large yoghurt pots very politely emptied with the folded up lid used as a spoon replacement, etc. Soon the first heads started to nod, and one body was stretched out on a row of chairs, fast asleep within seconds.
View attachment 30207
Sleepy in Hexham
View attachment 30208
More nodding off ..
View attachment 30209
And more ... while others were wide awake!

I was starting to warm up quite quickly once the food had found its way into my system (lesson learnt: body needs feeding if it is supposed to function properly in the middle of the night). But I still followed the example of somebody else and went on another shopping trip, to buy a pair of tights to wear under my rather ancient and thin Ronhill tracksters - I found some rather nice thermal tights which were perfect for the rest of the ride. Somebody (yoav?) mentioned that the lowest temperature he measured during the night was 3-point-something degrees.

Around 5:20 we were on our way again, leaving the bright lights of Hexham behind and heading back onto the NCN72 towards Corbridge. I thought I could make out a very slight brightening in the sky to the east, but wasn't sure whether this was dawn starting to break or just an artefact of the slight mist reflecting our lights. Near the entrance to Corbridge Roman Town [another site looked after by English Heritage & well worth visiting - I'll stop the tourist ads now] we came across another couple of well-lit cyclists going in the opposite direction, not sure if they were early commuters. In Corbridge itself, we met the early commuter bus to Newcastle and a few more delivery vans and lorries, but after the hill at the eastern edge of the town we soon turned off onto a wee road again.

By this time there was an orange glow on the horizon, and we could see the silhouettes of hills, trees and Prudhoe Castle with some very picturesque bits of mist floating about. It really was magical, words can't do it justice. The wee road was twisting and turning, and there was a sudden steep uphill, which caused somebody on a fixie to start weaving across the road rather unexpectedly, right in front of me (no names mentioned ;)). I stopped and then had to walk a few steps to the top of the wee hill as I was in the wrong gear :blush:, whereas said fixie rider keeled over at 0 speed, fortunately the only injury was to pride, rather than rider or bike.

We then stopped at the entrance to a field, to wait for everybody to catch up, enjoying the views, and the very earnest discussion on the workings of free wheels and fixies and what happens when a bike of either of those persuasions goes backwards, which was rather funny, and indicated that maybe some brains were starting to show the effects of the lack of sleep...

Dawn View attachment 30211
Demonstration of freewheeling backwards
View attachment 30212
At Ovingham, we crossed a pretty spectacular old bridge on stilts, clearly not built for modern traffic, but just about wide enough for single cars, as long as they weren't too wide... demonstrated by one car following us across. Immediately after the bridge, the cycle path heads off road and east along the Tyne, before crossing back north again after a few km, over another impressive bridge, this time a single span metal one. We stopped there for quite a while for photos, chatting and watching some rather large fish jump out of the water to catch insects, and I am pretty sure I saw a bat hunting close to the water surface, too.

On the single span bridge
View attachment 30215

Tyne looking west from single span bridge
View attachment 30213
Tyne looking east from single span bridge
View attachment 30214

By this time the first dog walkers were out in force, and most of us switched off at least some of our assorted bike lights, as they were definitely no longer needed to see by. The cycle path meandered along through woods and fields, with the sun rising as we neared Newcastle. Along the river, several herons were flying about, and we went on a slight detour due to some of us rushing ahead in our eagerness for breakfast - by this time I had been looking forward to a nice hot cup of tea for hours :cuppa: ... we passed by a very closed looking cafe in an industrial estate, where on last year's ride coffee and tea had been available, but sadly not this time. We pressed on around another bend or two in the river, and under the A1 motorway bridge. The path then left the river again and we cycled along a massive multi-lane road, on a shared pedestrian/cycle path that crossed over said lanes a couple of times via pedestrian lights and a big roundabout. As it was only 7:30/8AM on a Saturday morning, we didn't really have to stop or wait anywhere, as there was only the odd delivery vehicle or car around, but I was thinking this must be pretty unpleasant during rush hour. Soon we turned back to the riverside with its wide pavement, along the tidal mudflats of the Tyne with lots of wading birds, ducks and gulls enjoying the early morning sunshine, and a fair number of cyclists and walkers doing the same, but on firm ground. The famous bridges across the river finally came into view, and suddenly we were at the Quayside, our breakfast destination. We parked up and shared bike locks before piling into the place, where the only other customers were a couple of fellow riders who had decided to meet us at for breakfast after their own night ride rather than doing Carlisle to Newcastle.

That first long-anticipated mug of tea was SOOO good, followed by a massive breakfast and more tea. We compared photos, sent messages home to report our safe arrival. Some headed on to the Hub, a cycle cafe just a bit further down the river (how was it, @mcshroom ?), after a while. But inertia claimed most of us, and we just stayed and chatted some more or rested our eyes for a little while, before it was time to head to the train station and our separate ways.
100+ km, at a rolling speed of somewhere between 10.x and 12.x mph, depending on whether one was mostly at the front or rear of the group (sorry about the mix of units, I'm only repeating what I seem to remember). CharlieB was even recording "lap times", which caused much amusement, until he explained that the laps were 10 mile stretches ... but that's for him to explain!

I'll leave the photos for another night, Photos now added, bed is calling again ...

A massive thanks again to @mcshroom for the idea in the first place, and for organising us all!
This definitely won't be my last night ride :hyper:...

T

P.S. I dozed a for bit on the train between Newcastle & Berwick, but didn't actually go to bed until just after 10pm, and slept like a log :smile:.
How wonderful this trip sounded, I am full of envy :ohmy: but well well done for doing and sharing!! Well done and pat on the back for the organisor:highfive:
 

alans

black belt lounge lizard
Location
Staffordshire
I've just found this thread.
An excellent write up with photos that have that "tells a story" quality.

I did have this ride on my do-it list but logistical & £ obstacles prevented my attendance.:sad:

This thread suggests I must try harder next time if it the ride is repeated


Slightlyoff-topic...
the who/what/why input from the Constabulary reminds me of an amusing interaction with same at approx 0300hrs in a 24hr petrol station during a night ride from Derby to Skegness.The dialogue began with the PC saying " on a bike ride then chaps?" followed by replies which demonstrated that the WPC had a more developed sense of humour than her colleague. who got reetgrumpy.
I suppose it was one of those you-had-to-be-there situations to fully appreciate the funny aspect of a full time score of cylists 3: Panda car crew 0
:wacko:
 

CafGriff

Active Member
Location
Plymouth, Devon
Hello Everyone!!
I've just got my computer back after having a ' I don't know what type of problem' with it. I'm wondering how the Sustran Trails are around the West side of the country? Starting from Lands End moving up through ... Perranporth, to Launceston, Silverton, Cheddar,Bristol,Grosmont, Bucknell, Ratlinghope, Hatchmere, Preston, Windemere,Hesket Newmarket, Dumfries,Troon, Lochranza,Oban,Inchree,Glen Nevis, Loch Ness, Dornoch :laugh: :hello: Firth Bridge, Melvich and eventually John O' Groats.
I'm looking to finalise my route for end of March begginning of April.
I just need to know - early doors - whether or not, the trails are still intact now, washed away never to be replaced, at least for the purposes of my 'epic'.
Happy New Year Peeps !!! :hyper: :wahhey:
 

Fubar

Guru
:thumbsup: Thanks for the photos, @mcshroom!

Here we go ... starting again at Greenhead.

The road steepens as the buildings run out, and there is a parallel cycling and walking path that is separated from the road by some bushes. We all ignored it as the roads were completely deserted, but it's quite handy during normal waking hours, especially at weekends when all the Wall tourists are out in their 4-wheelers. I was very happy to be off the road in April, as fast moving traffic and cyclists wobbling uphill in their granny gears don't mix all that well. [The road surface on the cycle track is nothing to write home about, sadly, but it's sufficient].

Where the hill finally flattens out at the top, there is a wee turn-off to the Roman Army Museum and the B&B where we stayed on our spring tour, and had a very nice and hilarious evening meal with a group of walkers going the opposite way, but I digress. There was yet more police presence, this time a patrol car parked with a friendly police woman asking the obvious questions as we waited for everybody to conquer the hill ... what were we up to? and of course why? ... We had quite a long chat, but eventually headed off along the very straight B6138 along the Wall which was completely deserted, apart from some owls hooting somewhere off to the right.

[The official NCN72 turns off the B road at the next opportunity and sweeps down the hill again to the small town of Haltwhistle, which claims to be the Centre of Britain and has a number of shops and hostelries to feed and water hungry cyclists. Another reason for the diversion of the official cycle route away from the Wall is that the B road gets rather busy and motorists drive faster than they should, ignoring the restricted visibility due to the various dips and rises. That's what our B&B landlady had told us, and turned out to be spot-on when we did a wee diversion off the NCN to visit the spectacular Roman Fort & museum at Housesteads ... - if I had to choose only one Roman site to see along the Wall, Housesteads was my favourite.]

I think it was somewhere along this undulating B road that we came across a solo cyclist going the opposite way - we all said hello, like it was the most normal thing in the world to go cycling in the middle of the night :crazy: and carried on cycling. At this stage, it might have been around 2 AM (?), I was starting to wonder when I might begin to feel tired, but Cathy, another 1st time night rider, and I agreed that we couldn't possible have been more alert and alive than we were feeling. Maybe because it was all new to us and such an amazing experience, or because the temperature was dropping and stopping us from getting sleepy?

After another quick stop near the intriguingly named Twice Brewed Inn (and Once Brewed Hostel), where a slack chain was sorted (no names mentioned :angel:), we soon left the deserted B road and headed down the 6-mile long descent to Newbrough along the Stanegate road. We were spread out again, and after I dropped back from the front group to add more layers, I was suddenly all alone. I could occasionally see the twinkling red lights of the front group ahead, and the yellow glow of the group behind just over my personal horizon, but this made me even more aware of just how quiet it was, apart from another owl, some sheep bleating off to the left, and suddenly a rather loud noise, from an invisible donkey that must have been startled by the strange flashing lights disturbing its peace.

Another quick stop to regroup resulted in a search for a dropped glove, which was eventually found on the other side of a wall and restored to its owner by a kind gentleman hopping over the wall, and the silence interrupted by a polite sounding cough from the field over the wall, very loud in the complete silence and darkness outside the circle of lights surrounding us. "What was that?" We shone a light over the wall, and found a herd of cattle just a few metres away :rolleyes:, panic over.

Next stop at Newbrough, to search for a front light that had worked itself loose from somebody's handlebars, luckily it was found just a few metres behind, but I don't think it survived the fall. We used the break to scoff some homemade flapjack, which lightened my load quite a bit. From there it wasn't far to Bridge End, where we turned sharp right to cross an old stone bridge south over the South Tyne, just before its union with the North Tyne. [It was here that we turned off north on our Roman forts tour in April, to Chesters, just a few miles up the road, where we randomly came across a re-enactment group of Roman foot soldiers and cavalry spearing cabbage heads on stakes in full gallop, and a small museum completely stuffed with artifacts rescued by a local landowner who bought up several Roman sites in the vicinity to protect them from being robbed out for stones - well worth a visit if you are passing during opening hours.]

We shot up the slight incline beyond the bridge, past a signposted left turn for the riverside cycle route, but I assumed that this was intentional, grateful for the additional heat generated by the extra effort, as I was feeling quite cold at the time. We stopped where the road met up with the dualled A69 and some fast moving delivery lorries thundering past, to wait for Mcshroom, who was leading from the rear at this stage ... and decided to turn back to re-join the NCN72 by the bridge.

A little further on, on the edge of Hexham, we crossed over the railway line, and quickly reached the 24-hour supermarket that was our main planned food stop, it must have been a little after 4 AM. Just outside we were met by the very wide awake 14th night rider, who had made his own way to Hexham on his rather fetching trike (sorry don't know the forum name :blush:). We all piled in and did our shopping before congregating in the deserted cafe, where we scoffed an interesting assortment of foods, I saw sushi, sandwiches, rather colourful iced doughnuts, bananas, a large yoghurt pots very politely emptied with the folded up lid used as a spoon replacement, etc. Soon the first heads started to nod, and one body was stretched out on a row of chairs, fast asleep within seconds.
View attachment 30207
Sleepy in Hexham
View attachment 30208
More nodding off ..
View attachment 30209
And more ... while others were wide awake!

I was starting to warm up quite quickly once the food had found its way into my system (lesson learnt: body needs feeding if it is supposed to function properly in the middle of the night). But I still followed the example of somebody else and went on another shopping trip, to buy a pair of tights to wear under my rather ancient and thin Ronhill tracksters - I found some rather nice thermal tights which were perfect for the rest of the ride. Somebody (yoav?) mentioned that the lowest temperature he measured during the night was 3-point-something degrees.

Around 5:20 we were on our way again, leaving the bright lights of Hexham behind and heading back onto the NCN72 towards Corbridge. I thought I could make out a very slight brightening in the sky to the east, but wasn't sure whether this was dawn starting to break or just an artefact of the slight mist reflecting our lights. Near the entrance to Corbridge Roman Town [another site looked after by English Heritage & well worth visiting - I'll stop the tourist ads now] we came across another couple of well-lit cyclists going in the opposite direction, not sure if they were early commuters. In Corbridge itself, we met the early commuter bus to Newcastle and a few more delivery vans and lorries, but after the hill at the eastern edge of the town we soon turned off onto a wee road again.

By this time there was an orange glow on the horizon, and we could see the silhouettes of hills, trees and Prudhoe Castle with some very picturesque bits of mist floating about. It really was magical, words can't do it justice. The wee road was twisting and turning, and there was a sudden steep uphill, which caused somebody on a fixie to start weaving across the road rather unexpectedly, right in front of me (no names mentioned ;)). I stopped and then had to walk a few steps to the top of the wee hill as I was in the wrong gear :blush:, whereas said fixie rider keeled over at 0 speed, fortunately the only injury was to pride, rather than rider or bike.

We then stopped at the entrance to a field, to wait for everybody to catch up, enjoying the views, and the very earnest discussion on the workings of free wheels and fixies and what happens when a bike of either of those persuasions goes backwards, which was rather funny, and indicated that maybe some brains were starting to show the effects of the lack of sleep...

Dawn View attachment 30211
Demonstration of freewheeling backwards
View attachment 30212
At Ovingham, we crossed a pretty spectacular old bridge on stilts, clearly not built for modern traffic, but just about wide enough for single cars, as long as they weren't too wide... demonstrated by one car following us across. Immediately after the bridge, the cycle path heads off road and east along the Tyne, before crossing back north again after a few km, over another impressive bridge, this time a single span metal one. We stopped there for quite a while for photos, chatting and watching some rather large fish jump out of the water to catch insects, and I am pretty sure I saw a bat hunting close to the water surface, too.

On the single span bridge
View attachment 30215

Tyne looking west from single span bridge
View attachment 30213
Tyne looking east from single span bridge
View attachment 30214

By this time the first dog walkers were out in force, and most of us switched off at least some of our assorted bike lights, as they were definitely no longer needed to see by. The cycle path meandered along through woods and fields, with the sun rising as we neared Newcastle. Along the river, several herons were flying about, and we went on a slight detour due to some of us rushing ahead in our eagerness for breakfast - by this time I had been looking forward to a nice hot cup of tea for hours :cuppa: ... we passed by a very closed looking cafe in an industrial estate, where on last year's ride coffee and tea had been available, but sadly not this time. We pressed on around another bend or two in the river, and under the A1 motorway bridge. The path then left the river again and we cycled along a massive multi-lane road, on a shared pedestrian/cycle path that crossed over said lanes a couple of times via pedestrian lights and a big roundabout. As it was only 7:30/8AM on a Saturday morning, we didn't really have to stop or wait anywhere, as there was only the odd delivery vehicle or car around, but I was thinking this must be pretty unpleasant during rush hour. Soon we turned back to the riverside with its wide pavement, along the tidal mudflats of the Tyne with lots of wading birds, ducks and gulls enjoying the early morning sunshine, and a fair number of cyclists and walkers doing the same, but on firm ground. The famous bridges across the river finally came into view, and suddenly we were at the Quayside, our breakfast destination. We parked up and shared bike locks before piling into the place, where the only other customers were a couple of fellow riders who had decided to meet us at for breakfast after their own night ride rather than doing Carlisle to Newcastle.

That first long-anticipated mug of tea was SOOO good, followed by a massive breakfast and more tea. We compared photos, sent messages home to report our safe arrival. Some headed on to the Hub, a cycle cafe just a bit further down the river (how was it, @mcshroom ?), after a while. But inertia claimed most of us, and we just stayed and chatted some more or rested our eyes for a little while, before it was time to head to the train station and our separate ways.
100+ km, at a rolling speed of somewhere between 10.x and 12.x mph, depending on whether one was mostly at the front or rear of the group (sorry about the mix of units, I'm only repeating what I seem to remember). CharlieB was even recording "lap times", which caused much amusement, until he explained that the laps were 10 mile stretches ... but that's for him to explain!

I'll leave the photos for another night, Photos now added, bed is calling again ...

A massive thanks again to @mcshroom for the idea in the first place, and for organising us all!
This definitely won't be my last night ride :hyper:...

T

P.S. I dozed a for bit on the train between Newcastle & Berwick, but didn't actually go to bed until just after 10pm, and slept like a log :smile:.
Only just found this, nice write-up T and something I would love to do - perhaps not this year though, think I've used up all my brownie-points going to Islay!

Maybe next year...
 
Top Bottom