We almost missed the border crossing twixt Scotland and England. It’s not so obvious approached side on rather than straight down the main roads. For a while we rode along side by side, with Johanna in England and Jerry still in Scotland. The road was full of potholes and in need of repair and we mused on which countries responsibility it was to maintain it. No conclusion was reached.
Our route to Lindisfarne and on down to Durham has partly been on old pilgrimage routes. St Cuthbert came this way in the 7th century and after he died, monks carried his coffin around northern England for 150 years to protect it from Viking raiders before finally laying it to rest on a hilltop protected by a loop in a river. This place became Durham. The Normans built a stunning cathedral here a few decades later looking out across the surrounding landscape in every direction.
Over these three days of riding, we have slowly been getting fitter and have increased our daily average mileage up to about 45 miles. The hills are still tough and we are walking many. We have also had to contend with blustery side winds. Thankfully, here there are hedges alongside most of the roads and these have protected us from the worst of their effects. We have both had our grumps too. Johanna when her front gear mech got out of alignment and she had to cycle on the bottom cog for 12 miles before getting it sorted with the aid if a YouTube video. Jerry when cycling in heavy traffic through towns and cities.
Generally, drivers has been very respectful and patient, giving us plenty of room. Of course, we have had the odd nut case who squeezes past on a tight corner to save an extra second on their journey.
Overnight, we have stayed with generous friends, relatives and strangers (through Warmshowers.org). They have fed us, washed our clothes and given us highly useful local advice on routes. It’s been great catching up with people we have not seen for many years and making new friends. Thank you to all of you.
And, yes, we have finally pitched our tent outdoors. We slept a night in a birdsong filled woodland just inland from Lindisfarne.