Tuesday: Alnwick to Berwick-upon-Tweed

A slightly shorter ride today – around 54 miles. We are a bit slow getting started but do have good porridge for breakfast. Caroline discovered that her camera wasn’t working yesterday because the shutter was jammed so we stop in town to buy her a couple of disposabdisposable are tempted by a deli with an excellent looking range of local cheese for sandwiches but the bread hasn’t been delivered yet so we decide to push on as it is nearly 10 am – nearly an hour later than we’d intended to leave.

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Looking back at Alnwick Castle

We call in at Howick Bay to have a look – Gwyn and Caroline are both impressed by the folded rocks and it looks like all is well for our students in a month or so.

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Howick Bay

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Dunstanburgh Castle

Gwyn then decides that we need to crack on a bit so puts her head down and leads us into Seahouses at an average something over 11 mph – it feels like we are going some, though I realise John wouldn’t be impressed! Our fish and chip lunch is excellent and a decent break means we are inside for the only really heavy shower of the day – excellent planning.

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After lunch we loop round to Bamburgh then inland round the pretty village of Belford on the other side of the A1. Lots of quiet lanes with verges full of cow parsley, which smell lovely after the rain, and beautiful views of Holy Island in the late afternoon sunlight. Judging by the roads, the Romans definitely made it here. This is also the first time we meet lots of other cyclists, crossing paths with one group repeatedly as we stop for photos at different times. We get back to the A1 at Beal for a welcome afternoon cup of tea at the Lindisfarne Inn, then take a little diversion from our route to ride across the causeway to Holy Island. It is nearly 5pm by this time and the end of the safe crossing time today is 5.40, so we more or less just ride across the causeway and back. The expanses of flowering sea pinks on the far side are enough, alone, to make this worthwhile.

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When we rejoin route 1, we find ourselves crossing Beal sluice then following narrow, bumpy paths across the dunes, sometimes along stretches of sea wall. Slow going, especially for Caroline on her touring bike, with relatively thin tyres. The last stretch into Berwick is along the cliff edge with some gorgeous views in the early evening sun, but would not have been fun in the rain – the narrow, rough path goes very close the edge where material has slumped into the sea. The cliffs here are beautiful red sandstone – the same we noticed appearing as building material during the day.

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We find the hostel without difficulty but have a sticky moment on discovering that Caroline had booked herself into the hostel for last night instead of tonight – fortunately they have a spare bed! We end up at the Coop in Berwick and buy soup and bread for supper – enough after lunchtime’s fish and chips.

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