Janathon Day 24 – cycling in Northumberland

After running 18 miles yesterday, it seemed like a great idea to cycle 45 today…

James and I got the train up to Northumberland last night, arriving at his parent’s house around 10.30pm to a spread of cheese, sweet potato chips and a bottle of red wine. We gobbled it down, caught up, and then James and I went up to bed.

We awoke this morning to a beautiful blue sky and shining sun. A quick breakfast and James’ Ironman athlete brother, Joe, turned up ready for a cycle. Off we went! Me offering my excuses before we went – “i did run 18 miles yesterday so I won’t be fast…”

Joe was more than happy with that – he says this time of year is about getting the miles in the legs and keeping your heart rate in the aerobic zone. Although his idea of slow is still very different from mine!

Anyway we had an incredible cycle, 45 miles, over 1000m of climbing and 3hrs 40 min of cycling. We weren’t fast – not just because of the above but also because of all the hills. It was also very, very cold and it took me a while to warm up after we stopped for a quick banana at the top of the hill.  On a few of the roads at a higher altitude the snow still lay in clumps in the fields to the side of the road, and there were areas of slush and ice on the road that we all went very slowly and carefully though. There was also a horrible downhill from the top with a howling crosswind – worried about ice and trying to practice my bike handling skills to not get blown over was not fun!

For those who know the area, we cycled from Stocksfield to Corbridge, then went south towards Derwent Reservoir, past Slaley and Blancland, towards Shotley Bridge and back via Hamsterley, Lintzford, Greenside and Hedley on the Hill.


Northumberland is so incredibly beautiful. Up on the hills, rolling fields in every direction with not a person in sight, the sun reflecting off the heather and the lake, tiny little white sails in the distance. There were so many moments on this cycle where I couldn’t help but let out a “wow” or allow a huge smile to fill my face – surely it is only by cycling that you can have these euphoric moments of zooming along, the wind in your face, beautiful countryside every where you look and the sense of isolation amongst nature. I really, really love it.

As a result of all that exercise I spent what remained of the afternoon curled up in a huge armchair by the fire reading my book. What a lovely day 🙂

Janathon Day 24 – 45 miles cycled



  1. I know the route you took reasonably well, and I definitely agree that the scenery and views are absolutely stunning. It does make me wish that I could cycle well, as it must be just incredible to soar through those areas under your own steam. I did cycle 40 miles in a day once, but it absolutely killed me! My lower back just can’t tolerate cycling.

    You came at the perfect time as well, because this time last week you would have been buried in snow and the route would have been impassable! I don’t think this region fully defrosts until April…at the earliest!

    • I would say to try cycling just for a really short period and gradually build up… But i imagine if you could, you would so there’s probably little point! For me, i always find running too much of an effort to be truly exhilarating and that is what cycling gives me 🙂 and you live in an incredibly beautiful part of the country. We were very lucky with the weather – and it was so warm today! I hope you got out for a good run – it was 10 degrees in Stocksfield this morning!

  2. Isn’t it crazy how fast your body loses heat when you stop even for just a minute? I have definitely learned that “just keep pedaling” is the motto for biking out in the cold.

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