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.
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.