The Tour Of Britain... and us
Updated: Jan 6
Romans, Reivers and Castles
What a terrific day!
I awoke this morning feeling refreshed after collapsing into bed at 9.30pm last night. I think I had not drunk enough water during the day and had become a bit dehydrated. (Note to self.... drink more water during the day and less wine at night!}
The day started really well. Bright sunshine with winds from the South West. Pure joy until we suddenly realised that this was the only day in the whole tour we would be cycling in a South West direction!! We were cycling from Berwick on Tweed to Kelso, and from Kelso up towards Edinburgh.
As it turned out, the winds were very gentle, so it was nowhere near as challenging as the past few days had been. We were sad to leave the coast route behind but nevertheless enjoyed the undulating countryside. We cycled over the Union Bridge, the centre of which marks the border between England and Scotland.
We met a lovely couple of walkers who took the picture of us and then joined them in the lovely Honey Farm for a coffee and a scone. Chain Bridge Honey Farm is a delight. A double decker bus serves as the cafe and the farmyard is chocker block with old farm machinery. There is an information centre and a bee garden.
It was very special to see the Welcome to Scotland sign as we could remember vividly our joy at first seeing it near Gretna Green when we cycled LEJOG last year.
Shortly past the bridge we found ourselves back in England!! We cycled passed Norham Castle where the Reivers had had a great time. The region could be wild and lawless, and sometimes erupted into open conflict. In wartime Norham’s English garrison defended the Tweed fords, an easy crossing point into England. Together with the nearby castles of Berwick and Warkworth, Norham was an essential part of the defences of the eastern border. The Scots besieged it nine times, capturing it on four occasions. The remains of the impressive great tower still reveal signs of many building phases between the 12th and 16th centuries.
We had little time for sightseeing today as we were deperate to get to Kelso before the finish of stage Two of The Tour of Britain.... and we made it! The gorgeous little cobbled town was heaving! It is just so good to see people gathering in large numbers to celebrate cycling. We were ale to get a place behind the barriers very near the finish line and the atmosphere was electric, with spectators thumping the barriers in support of the cyclists. Many had been there for hours waiting. The finish was on cobbles, which is a problem for the sprinters right at the end of their route. As it happened they flashed by at such speed it was breathtaking. Do watch this short video to get an idea of the speed and the whole atmosphere.
It was exhilarating to have been part of this whole experience although a tad disappointed that we were not invited to join them for Stage 3 of the tour!
The day was made perfect when we discovered our truly wonderful Guest House for the night at Inglestone House. Our room is spacious and comfortable and we are looking forward to having a bath... the first one since starting the tour (NB we have been showering though!!) Colin and Lisa, the owners are super. Warm and friendly and they let us into our room very early so we could change and get out into the town to watch the race. So many thoughtful things we love about it, not least that they have thought to put an extension lead in the bedroom so that cyclists (and other guests) can easily charge all the bike computers and batteries, phones and anything else that needs charging. (You will not be able to imagine trying to charge all these things when there is only a spare socket behind the bedhead!} It is right in the centre of town and has the most lovely seating area in the front garden. We could not have wished to have better accomodation. (Thank you Skedaddle!!)
We have booked a lovely restaurant for tonight which will be a treat.
As we came back to Inglestone House we were surpised to see dozens and dozens of policemen on their bikes. I asked Bob if he knew the collective noun for a group of policeman. His answer....
Annette and Bob