The idea was simple, pack all necessary stuffs, fasten them somehow on lady’s purple bike and go north. I bought most of the necessary things, but I forgot on a raincoat and knee warmers. Two things you shouldn’t forget in Britain! Especially, if you are going north in March.
Day 1 – Hull – Hornsea – Scarborough – Robin Hood’s Bay
I used part of Trans Pennine bike trail for first kilometers to Hornsea. It’s a bike track made from old railway trail, which means straight road between fields, without cars and nothing amazing to see. From Hornsea to Scarborough I had awesome spring weather with sun, met some cyclists and had a nice chat with them. I really enjoyed this part of a landscape between these two cities. Since I arrived at Scarborough, weather was getting worst, and I was worried that my first night would be rainy. I spend a couple of minutes searching a begging of next bike trail to Whitby there. This track is as well old railway trail, but definitely with more stunning views as you can see in pictures below. My troubles with the front mudguard started on this track, and it continued whole trip. However, I found “great” place for my tent in Robin Hood’s Bay. I thought it’s great because when I build the tent, I realized that there is no signal for my phone. After all, I made some Tesco pasta on my camping gas stove and with hundred kilometers in my legs went sleep. Never build a tent next to the sea, if you want to sleep!
Day 2 – Whitby – Stokesley – Sedgefield – Fishburn
Morning was crazy. Strong wind, cold and almost 9 o’clock. That day you definitely don’t want to ride a bike, especially without knee warmers. I quickly packed everything and without proper breakfast made off. Unfortunately, I got a lost in Whitby and got on next bike trail to Stokesley around noon. This bike trail cross North York Moors was nice, but I lost so much time and strength in that wind. Yeah, and then my bike broke. I lost next at least half an hour by repairing bike. The rear wheel, which means everything out of the bike, repair and then fasten again. Next couple of hours, I rode as fast as was possible to make it closer to Sunderland. After next lost hour searching bike trail from Middlesbrough to Sunderland, I decided to stop using bike trails anymore and found some shortest way on my road map. So, before sunset I was in Fishburn, bought a fish and chips and build the tent in Wetland, how they call grass for walking dogs. I found some place 2×2 metres without dog poos and slept until dogs barking on my tent in the morning.
Day 3 – Fishburn – Durham – Consett – Hadrian’s Wall – Wallington – Forestburn Gate
That day was probably the best weather, and I spend some lovely time in Durham. This town is full of wonderful places, like Durham Cathedral. My destination was Hadrian’s wall, this former border between Scotland and England. Everything what you can see here now is a new road, a big ditch and couple of old houses. So, like a real tourist I asked the man working on his farm next junction called Wall houses: “Is this really Hadrian’s wall?”. I got awesome explanation about wall’s history, and we have a nice talk about Prague, which he visited like many British people. The route to Forestburn was still between the fields with sheep. What else, I have good wind to back, sunny afternoon, everything what I needed that time. On the way I stopped in Wallington for couple of minutes, but it didn’t look interesting to me. Typical tourist trap in the middle of nowhere. Before the sunset, I stopped in a small pub and asked guys inside for a place to sleep, and they show me, that I can sleep behind the pub and come for a beer. So I did. Again no signal, again horrible wind! Don’t camp behind the pub, almost on a top of a hill!
Day 4 -Rothbury – Wooler – Cornhill – Scotish border
Windy morning, no breakfast, so familiar to me. I was pretty close to Cheviot Hills and Northumberland National Park, what is totally stunning area, what you can see in pictures below. To be honest, I love this part of the country, it was an amazing and a good reward for a cycling on that crumbling purple bike. After some time of searching, I found John, my Couchsurfing host, and he showed me surroundings from his car. It was really interesting because he knows so much about the history, and he prepared for me big and tasty dinner. What else, I slept in the real bed. No wind, no tent!
Day 5 – Coldstream – Berwick – Holy Island- Bamburgh Castle – Alnwick
John offered me to stay one more night, and I decided to do it. It was a good decision because I had a change without the bike and the backpack see awesome places with the best guide ever. Berwick is a walled city with long and interesting history. Holy Island, which is connected with land just part of the day, with wonderful castle. Bamburgh Castle, this awesome fortress, totally worth for £10 entrance fee. John showed other interesting building and places in surroundings. It was really nice stay in his place.
Day 6 – Cornhill – Duns – Gifford – Haddington – Edinburgh
Next day I packed everything and fastened on my bike, and I continued, with a short stop in Haddington to Edinburgh. My dreamed Scotland. The goal of my trip. Honestly, I tried once again bike trail and it was pretty ok this time. I spend some time searching my next Couchsurfing hosts, and when I found them, I could finally rest for some time, what was necessary. Ces and Erin are really nice girls, and I stayed in their place two days.
Day 7 – Edinburgh
I needed to buy some knee warmers, cause my knees hurted that time, even I just walk on stairs. Surprisingly, it’s a problem in Britain. I don’t know why but it’s not common part of clothes here. In the end I found some. The weather in Ed was bad, cold and windy. I attended free walking tour like in Dublin but I didn’t enjoy it that much. The first expression from the city wasn’t that good. Fortunately, I had one more day.
Day 8 – Edinburgh
Next day in Edinburgh, the weather was many times better, and I enjoyed this beautiful city. As you can see in pictures, there are so many beautiful places. I made some shopping, and I prepared my bike and everything on the way to Fort Williams.
Day 9 – Edinburgh – York – Hull
Ninth day, unfortunately, the last day of my trip. Everything was prepared, but strong wind and rain outside woke me up. It didn’t look good. I checked weather forecast on next days, it was even worst. I definitely didn’t want to sleep in mountains, in a tent, in wet clothes, etc. So, I checked how much for train ticket to York, and I saw that the price is “just” £33. That time, I was seriously thinking about going home. My knees still hurt, and Edinburgh is Scotland. So, I made it! Next kilometers would be just crazy idea, which would my body return me later. So I bought the train ticket, went to York and from York I “rode” the bike. It was still pretty far home, it was rainy and what worst? The tyre on the bike got punctured. So I had to fix it but 6 miles from my home, It happened again. Which meant that the last part of my trip was very nice walk. I’m glad that I got home.
Here are some numbers from my cyclo computer. Total distance 579 km, total time 36:30, max speed 55,8 km/h, avg speed 15,6 km/h. Now I have to say I’m glad I made it. I know, first optimistic plan was 1000km but when I see that bike now, 500km was a good job. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” and I learned something about myself from this awesome trip. At least now I know, how it is to walk next a bike every single bigger hill :D. Advice for next cyclists, don’t forget on knee warmers and a raincoat! And you know what? See you soon Ben Nevis!