A windy day in Weardale, but seeing the riders of the Tour de France dealing with headwinds, and inspired by microadventures not to waste opportunities, I took the road bike out into the dales.

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The plan was to head out from Stanhope to Rookhope via the “hilly route” that I’d not been on before.  The sudden steepness and headwind meant I was questioning the wisdom of the ride, and contemplated turning back.  However, as height was gained, the views opened out, and I realised how lucky I was to have this kind of countryside on the doorstep.

Following the steep descent into Rookhope, it was clear plenty of people were on the coast-to-coast route.  I zipped past a bunch of guys near the pub, and there was a big group pushing up the steep off-road climb up onto the moors.  I was heading against the flow, climbing (still into the wind), whereas it seemed an endless flow of coast-to-coasters were flying down the hill with the tailwind pushing them on.

The old mine workings in the valley were looking good now summer is well-and-truly here.  The fields are green and all the wild flowers are out.

On reaching the summit, more coast-to-coasters taking a breather at the big cairn, having just completed the stiff climb out of Allenheads (albeit wind-assisted).  I had the steep descent, with the wind blowing me around, making me take more care than usual.  At the bottom, I was feeling good, so didn’t need the cafe stop, and turned left to head back over the top to Weardale.

On the descent to Cowshill, I found a limekiln, a footpath post covered in lichen, and grass seeds with amazing colours.

By now, I was heading back, so was generally going downhill, and had a tailwind.  From the hard work earlier in the day, I now felt like a cycling superhero.  I did stop off in Chatterbox Cafe in St. John’s Chapel for a quick lunch, before a fast return to Stanhope on the back roads.



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