Note, when originally conceived this tour travelled from the north (Berwick upon Tweed) south to Appleby in Westmorland. However, difficulties with organising transport have resulted in the route being reversed and we will now start in Appleby and head north to Berwick.
Updated – Wednesday 13 June
The tour starts at the MacDonalds restaurant located in the Metro Retail Park, Gateshead. The restaurant is opposite ToysRus. Please arrive at 06:45 latest as the minibus and van need to leave at no later than 7 o’clock.
Updated – Sunday 10 June
The tour ends in Berwick, as mentioned previously I have booked a room at Berwick Youth Hostel for use by the group to shower and change clothes before catching the train home to Newcastle.
Unfortunately I have not been able to get tickets for everyone to catch the same train home. As such the group will be split in to two, with one group of nine catching the train at 17:53, and the second group catching the later service at 18:52. The train journey takes approximately 45 minutes.
Final recce now completed, today Anne and me cycled the section of the route that passes through Wark Forrest. At a distance of just under 8Km (4.8 miles) and taking 40 minutes, the trail can be challenging/ technical at times, it is a mix of rutted forrest trail and long sections of rough gravel, both climbing and descending. Whilst being mildly difficult and demanding focus there are some highlights to be seen, including smooth newts (carefully study the muddy puddle photograph, halfway up the left side) and also large red damselflies (female).
Wark Forrest Route and Smooth Newt
Updated – Tuesday 15 May
Training rides, I have published the dates for these, please click here to view them.
During the recent Berwick Tour I was able to complete a recce of the route between Wooler and Norham, and as a result of this work I have decided to alter the lunch stop location. It will now be Etal Castle rather than Norham, Etal is a quiet village, providing a decent parking area with easy access to public toilets.
In addition to the above, I have booked a room for our use at Berwick YHA. This will give everyone the opportunity to shower and change clothes before catching their train back to Newcastle, I thought this would be as we cannot guarantee weather conditions on our final day of cycling. Note, towels can be hired at the hostel, at £2 per towel.
Updated – Saturday 28 April
A full recce of the route between Appleby-in-Westmorland and the town of Wooler has now been completed, the final leg (Wooler to Berwick) will be recce’d as soon as is convenient. In the meantime, here is what was discovered during this trip.
The journey to Appleby will start at the Metro Retail Park MacDonalds branch, and will head south on the A1 to join the A66 at Scotch Corner, there will be a comfort stop at Brough, where toilets and tea and coffee can be purchased. The journey to the start of the tour at Appleby takes a further 15 minutes to travel. Note, there are no toilets at the start in Appleby.
The cycle route exits Appleby and heads north through Dufton and many other hamlets to Melmerby village for lunch, the terrain along this section is mostly easy cycling along quiet lanes, there are a few climbs, but none of these are very challenging. The countryside is very beautiful and the lanes are quiet for the majority of the time. Unfortunately there are no public toilets at Melmerby, however for the price of a cup of tea, toilets are available in either of the two cafes in the village.
After lunch the route continues north toward Renwick before starting the climb to the summit of Hartside, this section of the route will be familiar to anyone who has completed the Coast to Coast challenge. Tea and coffee will be available at the carpark of the cafe, sadly the cafe itself was burned down earlier this year and remains derelict. After the Hartside climb the route follows the C2C as it descends into Alston for our first night.
The route on the second day heads north once again to Haltwhistle for lunch, hugging the river bank for many miles the terrain is mostly along quiet lanes and disused railway tracks, and crossing the spectacular Lambly viaduct. There is one note worthy short but steep climb on this section of the trail. Toilets are available at lunchtime, in Haltwhistle.
After lunch the route heads eastward sharing the Hadrians Way trail for a few miles before leaving it and heading north again to cross the Military Road at the recently opened visitors centre ‘The Sill at Hadrians Wall’. After which the route continues north and enters Walk Forest and through the remote moorlands and finally on to Bellingham, the location for our second night.
Day three, the longest day of the tour and as such requiring an early departure, continues heading north through a mix of moorland and meadows, lunch will be at the remote village of Alwinton, where there are public toilets available.
After lunch the route once again continues north toward Wooler, again following minor roads, gated lanes and taking in the picturesque valleys and rivers of Northumberland. Our third and final night is spent in Wooler.
Draft Itinerary, this will be updated once I’ve completed a full recce.
Day 1, Appleby to Alston (33 miles).
Catch a minibus to Appleby, an early departure from MacDonalds (Metro Retail Park). Collect bikes, deposit luggage in the van and cycle to Melmerby for lunch. Please bring a packed lunch with you. After lunch the route heads to Alston via Hartside, not via the direct road route. Accommodation and our evening meal will be at Alston House.
Day 2, Alston to Bellingham (43 miles).
An early departure today, the route heads to Haltwhistle and onto Bardon Mill for lunch. After lunch the journey is more or less north to Bellingham. Accommodation in Bellingham is spread amongst various local B&B’s and Guesthouses, our evening meal is at The Cheviot Hotel.
Day 3, Bellingham to Wooler (45 miles).
Another early start for what is our longest day in the saddle. The tour heads north east to Wooler, with lunch taking place somewhere convenient between Bellingham and Wooler. This will become more apparent during the full recce of the route (taking place in May). As in Bellingham, our accommodation is spread among various B&B’s and Guesthouses, our evening meal will be at The Black Bull.
Day 4, Wooler to Berwick (30 miles).
A more relaxed start to the day today. The route to Berwick takes in Norham for our lunch stop before continuing on into Berwick to catch the train south to Newcastle.