All Good Things...
Updated: Jan 6, 2020
Romans, Reivers and Castles
Day 10/11 11/09/19
After a luxurious night at the splendid Hilton Hotel in Newcastle we packed up to go home, so sad that this wonderful ten day tour had come to an end, though we are really looking forward to seeing our friends and families back at home.
We could not resist a couple of final photos from our bedroom window..
One of the lovely things about this tour was being able to start and finish the tour in luxury at The Hilton Hotel and to be able to safely leave our car in the underground car park all week. Knowing it was safe was great. For the rest of the tour we have been staying in selected Guest Houses and B&Bs. All have been super, with several of these being outstanding.
So what will be our abiding memories?
Firstly it will be the stunning scenery that has marked this trip from any others we have done. Crossing the Pennines was superb, but even that paled when we cycled along the Coastal Way from Newcastle to Berwick on Tweed. At every turn we were stopping just to take in the amazing views. We saw so much of the coast that is inaccessible to cars and which most tourists would never get to see. Miles and miles of white sanded beaches, bordered on the landward side by cliffs or by impressive dunes, covered in sea grasses that swayed back and forth in the winds. We have only ever seen such beautiful beaches before in Australia, and yet here these are, on our own doorstep.
The cycling throughout the tour was terrific. There were challenges indeed but the most challenging was the weather. We were both amazed and pleased that we discovered that cycling in the rain can be every bit as fun as when the sun is shining. The spectacular climb outside Innerleithen over the Moorfoot Hills will remain with us forever.
We were struck by the friendliness of people in all of the areas we passed through. People were only too happy to assist us if we were looking for a good place to eat or when we got lost (which we did occassionally!) Many people engaged us in conversation about what we were doing, where we were going and where did we come from etc - they were genuinely interested and very very pleasant, often with great humour!
In the South of England there is an opinion held by many people that the North of England and Scotland are economically deprived and are dour industrial wastelands. How wrong they are! Yes there are old industrial areas which are deprived but outweighing those are areas of civic pride and fantastic countryside. We were astounded at the parks and gardens we passed through - all beautifully maintained with the grass CUT and flower beds in BLOOM we even saw six workmen weeding in the grass verges! Financial austerity in recent years has applied throughout the country but we have evidenced a civic pride which has been lost in Thanet - TDC take note! It is also worth noting that on our route we did not see one boarded up shop window - even in the small villages. Lots of independent businesses and lots of local produce in the shops, restaurants etc.
Were there any disappointments?
Oh yes!! The tour promised us Romans, Reivers and Ancient Castles. Well, we saw many, many ancient castles, but we were disappointed not to see any Romans or Reivers. The Romans had obviously left just before we arrived and so we missed them. We were shocked how they had allowed their walls and homes to fall into such disrepair. Neither did we see any Reivers, although we think we did see some of their descendants in Berwick on Tweed. (On balance we were pleased to have missed the Reivers as they might have taken a fancy to our bikes and chattels.) Other than this the whole tour was a total joy.
We must comment also about our bikes. Again long runs and no breakdowns. We have now cycled over 6,250 miles on them with no punctures, the original tyres, no broken spokes, and original batteries. The 21 gears allowed us to navigate the hills using minimum power. They have been terrific once again. Well done Oxygen - you have a fantastic product which has given us many hours of enjoyment.
Finally to Saddle Skedaddle...
Thank you so much for all the time, thought and effort you have put in to make this tour such a resounding success. Particular thanks to Alison who project manages the tours, Dan who organised and supervised such terrific accommodation, Brad, who dealt with my Edinburgh stress so calmly, Steve, our lovely driver and all the people who transported our luggage every day. To the whole of Team Skedaddle.... You are our angels of the north.
We have cycled 267 miles
Would we do this again?
Without a doubt!!
Fond wishes to you all
Annette & Bob