Day Four

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.

Day Five

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?

Day Six

Lovely breakfast at our B and B. We then continued on NCR 68 from Ashbourne to Buxton. For the first 14 miles, this follows the fantastic Tissington Trail through beautiful Derbyshire countryside.

At the start of the Trail, Dave at the cycle hire shop very kindly checked out and adjusted Nigel’s gears. He’d not felt  totally confident in them since the chain fell off on Day Two.

After that it was a whole morning of stress free cycling. It is uphill but gradual – no need for 1st gear. There are nice picnic tables along the way for coffee and lunch and plenty of space for cyclists and pedestrians. By lunchtime we were nearly at the end.

After leaving the trail the going was harder. Steeper hills and some very tricky, skiddy off road stuff. We were getting tired and Nigel was low in Dopamine. We took it slowly and carefully getting to Frank and Audrey’s without mishap.  Great to see them.

Day off tomorrow then heading for Hathersage.

Day Seven

Had a restful day being cosseted at Frank and Audrey’s. Did the washing,  stocked up on food and Nigel got his shoulder checked out at the Minor Injuries Unit in Buxton.  No permanent damage and healing well, as is the leg although the bruise is an interesting kaleidoscope of colour.

This morning we cycled along the Monsal trail, another fabulous track on a disused railway. We left this at Hassop station and then headed to Hathersage on the B6001. We knew this would be a bit hairy and it was, but we are here safely.

Now we have to confess to a bit of cheat here. The direct route to the beginning of the trail from Buxton is about 4 miles along the A6 but no cyclist who values their life would attempt this. When we were in Buxton in July, we reccied an alternative route that we’d worked out but it was horrible. Busy road, heavy lorries and steep hills. So instead Frank gave a lift in his car along the A6 to the start. We are really grateful for this leg up, it made for a much easier day and he also took this photo. Thank you Frank.

Not only is the Monsal Trail an easy ride (and down hill to Hassop), the scenery is spectacular and there are some amazing tunnels.

This is the view from the Monsal Head Viaduct.

After we left the trail, we stopped for our picnic lunch at Grindleford, one of the many lovely villages in Derbyshire.

Nick and Ann have met up with us in Hathersage and are staying in the same place as us. Off for a meal now.

Long day tomorrow through Sheffield and staying near Barnsley. We’re halfway there and definitely in the North now!


Day Eight

Made it to the Premier Inn near Barnsley. Knackered but got here without major probs. We left Hathersage at about 8.50. Nick and Ann nobly offered to take most of our bags in their car and meet us in Sheffield.  What a difference that made!

We knew that the climb out of Hathersage was going to be tough but it seemed to go on for ever. We walked most of it. Nigel was not feeling great so we stopped halfway up for a rest. Got to the top at 10.30. Not sure we’d have made it with all the luggage. Amazing view but still a long way to go!

We then hurtled down the hill – quite a busy road with fast traffic even though by now we were on NCR 6. At Ringinglow we turned off and headed for the Whitely Woods Trail – an off-road route into Sheffield. The first part was really difficult so we were overjoyed to meet Nick and Ann bearing coffee, biscuits and good cheer.

After this it all got easier. The surface improved and after we were back on road, NCR 6 was well signed and got us through the centre of the city quite easily.

After this we were on dedicated cycle tracks including a long stretch by the river Don.

At Meadowhall, we joined NCR 67 on a disused rail track. After this, back on road, we crossed the M1 and the route got hillier.

From Elsecar, we were on an excellent cycle track still NCR 67 which goes right past the Premier Inn. Got here at 6.20.

About to clamber into bed. Still on NCR 67 tomorrow but a much shorter day.

Day Nine

Not a great start to the day.

When Nigel went to get the bikes out he realised that he had a puncture in the back wheel. We know how it happened. Yesterday, just before Elsecar, the route took us down a very narrow, stony bridleway. It had obviously been very overgrown but someone had cleared it with a strimmer. All the brambles and other vegetation were still on the path. It was a thorn that caused the puncture.

It took us the best part of an hour to fix it. A very nice man and his family then offered to help but unfortunately the job was done! They did give us a donation however. If you are reading this – thank you very much. We have been so touched by how friendly and helpful everyone we have met along the way has been.

We then rejoined NCR 67 – part of the Trans Penine Trail. Nearly the whole route today was off road and the first few miles were very easy going.

And also clearly waymarked.

After Barnsley, the track became more challenging and one of us was not pleased when we joined the Royston canal. However it wasn’t too bad and really rather attractive

including this beautiful lake.

The section after Barnsley had rather too many of these annoying metal barriers. Very difficult for someone with Parkinson’s.

We arrived at our hotel in good time despite the puncture. A bit of a treat this one and by another beautiful lake. You wouldn’t believe we are in the heart of the industrial north.

Janet and Bob were here to meet us with tea and cake!  Delicious.

Does this photo remind you of anything?

Leeds tomorrow where we are staying with Dom and Anna. Sarah is there too and we will see Evelyn again.


Day Ten

Set off in good time and rejoined NCR 67. Lovely off road cycling along wide easy tracks although there were some more challenging sections.

We were going really well until the route took us over the River Calder. A horrible footbridge, hard work to get the bikes up and down.

Nice view from the top

Afterwards we needed a bit of a rest.

The route continued off road on some great cycle tracks.

We stopped for some coffee and some more of Janet and Bob’s carrot cake.

Sticking with NCR 67 we joined the River Aire and the Canal.

The tracks were good and we had a easy cycle into Leeds until we came to another horrible footbridge. This looked worse than the previous one but a very kind fisherman carried the bikes up for us. Getting down the other side was tricky but we managed without mishap.

As we approached the centre of Leeds, we left the canal and headed up towards Roundhay Park. We were pretty tired by this time but it was nearly all off road although uphill.

We had a bit of a rest in the park.

From there to Dom and Anna’s was mainly uphill so we were pretty knackered when we got here.

Sarah is here as well which is lovely and she took this photo of us with Evelyn.

Day off tomorrow then off to Wetherby and the Vale of York.



Day Eleven

Had a relaxing break at Dom and Anna’s. Went for a lovely walk on Ilkley moor yesterday – very nice to walk up a hill without pushing a bike!

We knew it was a long ride today with lots of hills at the beginning so after a last cuddle with Evelyn we left in good time. It was drizzling but not too wet.

Angie and Malc (Anna’s Mum and Dad) had very kindly offered to take our bags to our destination in Aldwark so we had much less weight than usual. This made the hills easier and we only had to push the bikes uphill once all day. Thank you Angie and Malc!

We had a trouble-free journey out of Leeds and got to Collingham as the church clock struck ten.  Here we met up with Geoff and Susan who were going to keep us company for the next leg.

When we planned our route earlier in the year, we hoped to cross the Wharfe at Linton but the bridge was damaged in the floods of 2015 and is still not open. This meant the four of us had to cycle along the A58 to Wetherby.  We managed to ride on the pavement but it was still rather alarming as the traffic roared past.

After this it all got easier. We briefly followed NCR 665 on an old rail track then a new cycle track to Walton. From there we headed due North on a Roman road. It was quite busy with fast moving traffic but we sped along and stopped for lunch only a few miles from Aldwark.

We were congratulating ourselves on our good progress not to mention the excellent co-ordination of our cycling gear

when Susan noticed she had a puncture:

How many dayglo cyclists does it take to mend a puncture?

Once all the technical problems had been addressed, debated and solved we set off again, crossed the River Ouse on a wooden toll bridge (free to cyclists) and still got here in good time.

We will be  continuing through the Vale of York tomorrow to the little village of Felixkirk.

Day Twelve

Had a lovely evening with Geoff and Susan. In the morning, we said goodbye and we continued our journey north while they returned to W. Yorks.

We rode through Aldwark – very attractive with a beautiful church.

We soon joined NCR 65 and continued along quiet country roads to Easingwold.  After that things got hillier including this long pull. (Or should we say push?)

Great view of the White Horse from the top.

The plan had been to stop in Easingwold to buy food for lunch but the Main Street was not on our route and down a hill so we pressed on hoping to find a shop in Coxwold.

A very pretty village but no shop. Unfortunately there was no alternative to

and our first pub lunch.

Made a nice change from our usual picnic on a grass verge in the middle of nowhere!

We were in the village of Kilburn where we found the Mouseman workshop and visitor centre.  We think that the bread board we were given as a wedding present by Terry and Ros  in 1973 came from here.

It was only five and a half miles to Felixkirk but as usual there were quite a few hills at the end of the day to keep us on our toes! We got here in good time however and are pretty well organised for tomorrow. Going onto the North York Moors then hopefully downhill to Stockton-on-Tees.