Lapwings and a viaduct

The scenery today really changed over the course of the day. We spent much of the day cycling through moorland with the rabbits, sheep and birds in shades of brown. As the day closed we were on a reclaimed railway line that made great cycling as we edged closer and closer to Consett and the start of a much more urban environment.

We cycled through a number of ex-mining towns, Nenthead (where we’d spent the night), Allenheads, Rookhope and Stanhope. Cycling out of Nenthead we paused to take a photo of the lovely pub we stayed at, The Miners Arms. Erik also had some work done on his bicycle next door, at North Pennine Cycles.

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We crossed boundaries, from Cumbria into Northumberland and then into County Durham, posing at signs of course on the way! We saw and photographed a fossil tree in Stanhope as well as having a very nice lunch in the Bonny Moorhen.

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The first of two real highlights of the day was just outside Rookhope were we came on a derelict fluorspar mine (Grove Rake). We scrambled down the hill to the mine building and had a look around and took some photos of the mine winding gear. The mine was in operation until 1999, but looked like a Victorian relic. I found a really cool rusted bolt in the mine debris to add to my other souvenirs of the trip (a rock from the beach at Workington and some postcards).

The second highlight was the Hownsgill Viaduct that we cycled over. It was amazing and the shadows from the railings were great. The viaduct was on a long section of the route called the Waskerley Way. This former rail track gave us a very pleasant car-free riding on a reasonable road surface and allowed us to clock up the miles in the late afternoon when we were starting to get tired. We’re jealous of the lovely rides here, available every day.

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A constant pleasure of the ride, whether uphill or down, or in the face of the wind, was the animals we saw and heard. Rabbits everywhere: we got within 3 yards of silly new bunnies, there were sheep and lambs all along the route, and because we rode so quietly, we heard bird calls as we rode. We saw an abundance of lapwings as well as grouse, pheasants, goldfinch and lots of crows, jackdaws and even some gulls. On other days of the trip we saw some red squirrels as well as the greys, as well as signs all along our route reminding us not to run over the reds.

This was a good day.

Tomorrow we hit Newcastle and the coast at Tynemouth.

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Kyla & Erik

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