The delicious smell of bacon and eggs wafted along the corridor of the bed and breakfast as we pulled on our slightly damp cycling gear. It was day three of our cycle following the length of Hadrian’s wall and today mileage would be shortened to allow us more time to explore the historic roman ruins… Outside the heavy rain had stopped leaving behind only a sky full of grey clouds to remind us that she could still return at any time? With our bellies full and views of green undulating hills ahead of us we waved goodbye to our lovely B&B hostess and pedalled westward.
As we cycled, Hadrian’s wall perched itself on top of the rolling hills like an ancient lego stack stretching on forever. At times it was thick and high and at other times it was if a child had pulled it to bits with pieces strewn about the place. At one point it disappeared so we took a small detour to find it – leaving our bicycles hidden from view we rambled across fields full of curious cows and up steep embankments to find sections of the wall flowing like water, tall and proud into the scenic distance. As we stood on top of the wall the sun decided to treat us…it peeked out from behind a cloud for a few brief minutes and it’s light made everything seem so majestic and beautiful it was difficult to leave as we took it all in…
Back on the road again and the hills continually greeted us. We had fought many steep hills and at times I found them tough – one hill climb was swamped with thousands of pesky flies that stuck to my skin holding on for the ride! Even after a dozen swipes they wouldn’t leave me alone…My aching legs were determined to do me proud and gladly got me out of that situation with reasonable speed.
The great thing about going up hills is that you have to come down sooner or later and we had an abundance of high-speed races throughout the day. Plenty of hollering and squeals of delight were captured in the air as we were made to feel like birds flying in the breeze.
We cycled through the busy town of Haltwhistle and the gloomy rain returned, it had decided to join us again so we tried to escape it, making a side trip to explore one of the best preserved Roman cavalry forts in Britain. Chester’s Roman Fort and museum gave us an interesting insight into how the Roman soldiers lived. The opportunity to wander through the rubble of soldiers quarters and an old bath house nearly 2000 years old was fascinating. The walls of ancient rock were covered in patches of lichen and moss and there was lots of nooks and cranny’s to play hide and seek in.
Chester’s museum was full of the most amazing roman artifacts from huge slabs of inscribed rock to precious jewellery. It was also a place to stay dry for a bit as the rain continued to pitter patter quite happily.
Back on the bicycle seats and we found ourselves pedalling through a few sleepy villages. In one village I met a local man crossing the road who stopped me to proudly announce that “He was 95 and still walking!”.
In the distance many Roman ruins could be spotted from the cycle route, but as the rain continued to fall we decided to keep pedalling simply to stay warm.
How ever cold the rain was it treated us to the good fortune of seeing wildlife in action – we spotted wild stoats playing in a field and an excited otter jumping out of a river enjoying the wild currents! The Boyfriend had an unexpected sprint race with a rabbit that had popped out of the long wet grass – with its hind legs helping it fly through the air. It was amazing to watch…
Finally we stopped to hibernate for a night in the quaint town of Corbridge. We only had one day left of cycling and the donations for my Parkinson’s charity was growing every day – Newcastle here we come!!