Craster to Rothbury
And on the third day, they arose from their bed and ascended unto their bikes, well.. not until they’d had a decent breakfast. Given the relative amount of ascending on today’s journey, we were going to need it.
The predicted mild weather did not come to fruition but instead we were faced with cool temperatures feeling even colder with a bracing head wind. The initial part of the journey took the troops towards Alnwick, the county town of Northumberland taking its name from the river Aln.
If anyone was wondering what kind of terrain we were to be faced with, the short 11% climb up Clayport bank near Alnwick Gardens was only a warm up. Dave 🌊🏠 taking the best time. Confusion arose again when the leading group failed to understand “take the first right” and had to be called back to the Lemmington crossroads. After climbing for the previous couple of miles, the 8% descent provided some exhilaration for all the effort.
The climbing soon resumed and coupled with the head wind, it made the going quite tough. Turning south-west near Whittingham we followed the old roman road towards Lorbottle. While passing Callaly, it was finally time for Mike to stop and change his inner tube, not to mention a breather for everyone.
Repairs complete, the journey continued through Cartington and Thropton before reaching the cafe stop at Rothbury. A small town on the river Coquet with a population of around 2500. Only one small cafe was open and it was quite busy so we headed for a nearby pub (as you do). The Queen’s Head provided us with our own private room and ample bike parking space. What more could we ask for. “Barry Manilow live in concert?” Funny you should say that.
The return route, while still quite hilly, was tempered by the now following wind. The first climb out of Rothbury is Cragpit Hill, 5km at average 4. 4% with ramps up to 17%. This time Mark claimed the best time.
Returning to Alnwick, Neil and Mark got held up when the pedestrian crossing lights changed against them. When they realised it was Carol 🌊🏠 they started to jokingly harangue her for forcing them to stop. A couple of elderly ladies on the opposite side seemed quite shocked at the “abusive cyclists” not knowing that they were all “friends”.
Later back at the ranch, there was a long queue to use Alison’s massage machine to relieve aching muscles. It was also time to replenish liquid levels before heading out to dinner at the renowned Jolly Fisherman pub.
After a wonderful meal we all returned back to Dunstan Hall with a final attempt to polish off the remaining “refreshments”. Music and jokes abounded as we celebrated our last evening of a brilliant weekend. Already looking forward to the next one. Suggestions anyone?