Nigel and Debbie Hamilton are cycling from Oxford to Durham during August 2017. You can sponsor them via this link or download their information leaflet. Stay tuned for more information nearer the date!
We’ve created a link which is much shorter to type/remember/spell. So if you want to catch up with us on the journey, just type bit.do/gonorth into your address bar and you will be there!
Only 2 weeks to go now until we set off. Just practising taking off the wheels, changing the inner tube and replacing them. Front wheel is a lot easier than the back so hoping all our punctures are on the front. Better still no punctures at all!
Nigel at the gym. He’s been cycling there and back as well to get into training (3.5 miles each way)
Got everything in OK. Checked the route. Planning to leave at 9.00 tomorrow morning heading for Upton near Banbury.
Safely arrived in Upton. Bit knackered but no disasters. Thanks to everybody who got up early this morning to give us such a wonderful send off from Squitchey Lane. Also thank you to everyone for their fantastically generous donations and for all the encouragement and support you have given us.
We had a really good ride today. The weather was perfect and we have been through some lovely countryside and lots of picturesque villages (see pic above). We picked up NCR 5 at Bedbroke which took us to Bloxham. Some was off road and quite tricky after the rain but Nigel coped really well. After Bloxham, there were more hills and we were getting tired so the last part was quite tough.
Tomorrow we’re going to Leamington and will stay with Nick and Ann. Not so far as today and maybe less hills (some hope)
Relaxing now in this lovely garden and Poppy our host is cooking our dinner – what luxury
Arrived safely in Leamington Spa. One or two slight hitches but no major disasters. The plan was to pick up NCR 48 after Edgehill but we managed to sail past the turning as we flew down a steep hill which of course entailed pushing the bikes back up to get ourselves back on track. This made a slightly dispiriting start to the day!
Generally the waymarking was not as good today so there was rather more stopping to read the map. There was also some really heavy downpours and Nigel’s chain fell off! On the plus side, there was some lovely sunshine between the rain and lots of quiet and beautiful lanes and paths. We navigated the tow path beside the Grand Union successfully.
Lovely to be with Nick and Ann this evening. Now dried out, clean and having a beer! Tomorrow is a city day. Warwick, Kenilworth, Coventry and Nuneaton.
A long and difficult day! We set off from Leamington along the tow path by the Grand Union Canal. Had to walk some sections because of the path being very narrow. We successfully joined NCR 52 in Warwick and made good progress until the route was blocked by a fallen tree. Found a way round and negotiated Kenilworth and Coventry city centre OK.
Still on NCR 42, we joined the Coventry Canal towpath. Very slow. We walked quite a bit. Some annoying gateways that were very tricky to get the bikes round. At Hawksbury Lock we decided to go on the road for a bit only to find the road over the canal was closed! Carried the bikes over a foot bridge. Cycled through Bedworth then joined the towpath again.
This was much easier going and we were making good progress until Nigel skidded due catching on some brambles and fell off. After some rudimentary first aid, amazingly he bravely got back on the bike and pedalled on. He’s got some bruises and minor cuts and grazes but we think he has hurt his shoulder. We’ll decide what to do tomorrow. On the plus side he did manage to walk to the pub in the village!
Much better day. Nigel’s shoulder wasn’t quite so painful this morning so we decided that a bike ride in the sunshine would be preferable to a trip to A and E.
We left our excellent B and B in Higham on the Hill at about 9.30 and headed north on NCR 52. Lovely quiet lanes and roads, all well way-marked and lots of other cyclists sharing cheery greetings. We took it slowly with several rests.
After coffee, we turned L onto NCR 63 which goes through the National Forest. A great cycle route off road on a disused railtrack but we were very careful not to skid!
We have now safely arrived at the Premier Inn in Burton-on-Trent. Tomorrow the plan was to follow NCR 68 to Ashbourne but we will see how the shoulder is in the morning.
Decided to press on as the shoulder is still improving. Left the Premier Inn in good time, survived cycling along the A511 and rejoined NCR 63. This took us into Burton on a great cycle track which went over the River Trent. We then followed the 63 through the town centre which involved lots of junctions, pedestrian crossings and side streets. By the time we joined NCR 54 Nigel was pretty tired and not overjoyed by the sight of another canal!
We had already agreed that we might be having a bit of a walk at this stage but thankfully there was a good tarmac cycle track on an old railway line next to the tow path. Thank you Sustrans!
We then left the canal and for about a mile rode along a cycle track on the A38. Slightly terrifying as the lorries thundered past and we had a good dose of pollution. Fortunately the 54 soon went left and we headed north on quiet roads and this continued after joining NCR 68. A nice ride, gradually gaining height.
After lunch it was hillier and we were quite tired but got to Ashbourne in good time. Now off to the pub which is about 3 steps from our B and B!
Nigel says we haven’t included his joke about today having gone for a Burton and having been sent to Coventry a day or so ago. Are you surprised?