Wednesday, 6th May, Kimmerston to Ingram, 17.23 miles, 7 hours.
After our gruelling day yesterday and the forecast for worse weather today, I am very pleasantly surprised to find that as we set off, the sun is trying to shine and we experience only a few spits and spots the whole day. What a delight! In fact I spend quite a lot of time taking my coat on and off and by the end of the day, my face is feeling decidedly wind burnt. We are riding through glorious countryside, wide open landscape with a sense of space and peace going from one valley to the next along narrow country lanes where we encounter very little traffic. When we do meet traffic it is often farm machinery or large transporters, even a flock of sheep being herded along the road. This is a day of gates and fords…..and very big puddles. Swans in the river and resident Canader geese grazing with the sheep by the lakes. There are May flies hovering in the air with their little dangly legs, and the daffodils are still blooming here alongside forgetmenots, primroses and cowslips. (In Cornwall our daffs had finished flowering by the end of April)
As we pass through Wooler, we drop into the Cheviot Visitor Centre. I tether Tommy to the bike stand and the nice lady in the centre gives me a welcome cup of coffee. I am also given a fleece gillet by a local manufacturer of bedding for horses which I’m afraid gets sent back in the next batch to lighten the load.
The sun has come out as we finally descend into the beautiful Ingram Valley and a welcome from Jane and Adrian at Ingram House. Whilst speaking to Sarah Wilson whose field Tommy is in for the night, I discover that the place I thought I was going to tomorrow is actually several miles off my route! I had mistakenly thought that Barrowburn Tea Rooms where we had booked to stay was actually alongside the river called Barrow Burn. What a silly mistake. Anyway, before too long, Adrian had kindly sorted out alternative accommodation for us at Clennell.
Ingram House is an elegant, part Georgian house and I sleep like a log in the most comfortable of beds after a delicious 3 course meal which I share with 2 cyclists who are ‘doing’ the brand new ‘Sandstone Way’ cycle route. In fact, I discover that a lot of my own route is part of this route as well as other cycling routes and I feel the hand of Sue Rogers at work in creating these. I did wonder, however, that some of the rough track terrain must be quite challenging for a bike rider.