Saturday, May 28, 2011

Flight Home - FIN

Rushed through a very small breakfast, caught the 11 down to Princes St., walked over to Waverley Bridge and caught the Airlink bus, travelled to the airport, did all the airport hassle, waited, flew to Heathrow, did all the airport hassle, flew to Montreal but had a great bunch of conversations with a computing guy named Eric, who works in electric generating plant support. He was returning from Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan.  He told me he usually just says hello to people on flights but when he saw the Garmin around my wrist and my netbook booting in Ubuntu he figured this was someone worth a go. It was total geektalk from then on.
Arrived in Montreal, did the Customs and Airport hassle, flew to Ottawa, took the 97 home and...

found that the kitties had lied to me because they both greeted me at the door and thereafter pestered me with cuddles, rubs and purrs almost all night long.

 In the interests of geeks among us I shall publish elevation, duration and speed profiles of each segment of the cycling tour.
They will appear below as I process them.

Here are the written results (note that I failed to activate the GPS for the last part of day 1 and the  first part of day 5 so there's a bit missing). Times are Eastern.;

Caption on this one should be Chester-le-Street to Sunderland
And the Elevation Graphs by Day are shown below;

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Edinburgh - Full Tourist Day

Hello All,

Today I was a tourist; the Camera Obscura and its many floors of very interesting optical displays, Gladstone's Land (life in the 1500's and later), a quick pop over to Holyrood, the Royal Museum of Scotland where I hoped to see the marvelous clock (alas renovations have made it inaccessible until July), the Royal Yacht Britannia,  and a walk through The Meadows.

Senior Citizen is defined as 60+ here so I've been saving a bundle on admission prices.

I'm amused by some signs in the UK.  The wording on this one reminded me of one I'd seen in Southampton with the rather suggestive message, 'Air Canada does it both ways'.  If you'd like to set that pupil down you may choose to uplift another more to your liking.

A View Near the Ocean Terminal

My charming little room here at Fraoch House where Gareth Houston runs one of the best B&B's I've encountered.  He is so welcoming, down to earth and accommodating that it's no wonder the Trip Advisor reviews, without exception, are glowing.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

The following two photos may be of interest to my cycling readers.  This is a typical national cycle route marker showing direction and route number.  The UK is criss-crossed with so many of these trails that one occasionally comes to a crossing of paths and has to choose the right number.

This is one of the cycle network artworks with those flying fins whose significance I have not researched as yet.

 The Meadows

 City view from atop the Camera Obscura

Rear of Scottish Parliament Buildings

This marks the end of the adventure.  I'll be off to Edinburgh Airport after breakfast tomorrow (barring any sudden wind shift with accompanying ash cloud) and flying to Heathrow for a long layover and then on to Montreal and finally, home.  Kitties here I come - get ready to cuddle.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lunch in Edinburgh

Arrived in Edinburgh at 11:30 and check-in is at 15:00 so I am having a delightful lunch in Elbow.  Lentil soup, chicken and leek pie with puff crust, a Heineken, chips, and I just might go for a sticky pud.

Overcast here and I don't want to pull my suitcase around so I'm staying put for a while until I check in.

....a bit later...

Now checked in, host is a very gracious young guy.  Went out to see a museum of musical instruments then, tired out, I took the 11 bus back to my room where I am having a tea.

As an aside, my videos caught the eye of someone on YouTube who is cycling the perimeter of the continental USA.  He requested, and I approved him becoming one of my YouTube friends.  He started in Seattle and has gone south and east hitting Key West and is now in the Allegheny Gap.  He has no schedule and is a fervent bicycling evangelist.

Gadgetry Comes to the Rescue

Those who are interested may want to revisit my 'In Keswick, 40 Miles Done' post.  With the aid of a few Linux commands I have managed to rotate my  first video 180 degrees and have just now published it as an addition in that post.

Quality is not as good as the others due to the processing but it is acceptable.  It was the first of my route videos, and my inexperience with the camera shows.  I had intended to take more than one shoot on that day but, forgetting that the camera went to sleep after any extended idle period, I failed to awaken it and assumed it was recording.  So, alas, only one video.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Newcastle Walks

View Newcastle Wanderings in a larger map

The map above shows some, but not all, of my meanderings around Newcastle over the last day and one half.  I did manage to take public transit today in the form of the Metro and a Sightseeing bus but there was still considerable walking not shown on this map.

Suffice to say, my feet are tired, I'm in for the night and off to Edinburgh by train tomorrow.
This is one half of my cozy room, the unseen half has two other beds, a dresser and a wardrobe.

I am scheduled to fly out of Edinburgh to Heathrow on Friday so the ash cloud may play a part in my fate.  Fortunately my travel insurance provides compensation for any added expenses incurred as a result but I'd rather not have to deal with it.  I noted that BMI flights were still scheduled as of this morning but I'll make periodic checks.

The wind, though a regular feature of this area, has been excessive with Scotland getting gusts over 100mph.  Perhaps it will blow the ash into France before I fly.

Not much in the way of photos today; the weather was a mix of downpours, wind, and lovely sunny breaks - completely unpredictable.  I bought a day ticket on the Metro and ventured to some of the suburban stops, one being Heworth where I took this picture in the older part of the cemetery.  There is a cemetery near my lodging which is in a total shambles, stones toppled and broken, overgrown with weeds, litter strewn everywhere.  I found it sad that the oldest parts are so neglected, quite unlike what we find in Canada.


Near my lodging

Till tomorrow,


Monday, May 23, 2011

Exploring Newcastle

Had an early breakfast at the Roker in Sunderland, asked them to open the garage so I could put an identification tag on the bicycle for the Sherpa Van pickup, and then checked out.  I walked to the Metroline station and my ticket came out of the machine just in time for me to get on the train just pulling in.

Off in Newcastle I walked about 1.4 miles to the Clifton House (which I would recommend to anyone).  Despite my early arrival the owner welcomed me heartily, offered me coffee, drew a map of the immediate area with recommendations for dinner etc., and welcomed me to make myself completely at home in the common areas.

I stowed my luggage in my top floor room with skylight (though I will move to a smaller room tomorrow) and began my city walk.  Took in Life Centre, Great Northern Museum, Discovery Centre, The Biscuit Factory, a look at a portion of the original city wall, a planetarium show and a walk along the quayside.
Tomorrow I shall limit myself to buses and other forms of public transit. My feet are gradually recovering.

 The Arcade
 Life Centre
 City Wall
 Eclectic View
 Civic Centre
 Pedestrian Street
 University of Northumbria
 The Sage
 Clifton House, my Temporary  Home

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Crossed the Finish Line

I made it!  Got all emotional when I saw the congratulatory message posted at the end of the path. It was only about 15 miles from my previous hotel to the seaside in Sunderland so I arrived around 10:00 after a 9:00 breakfast.  Wandered about Sunderland on its many bike paths awaiting a more reasonable check-in time.  Am now in the Roker Hotel right on the seaside, luggage has arrived, bike is locked in garage.  Had a lovely little lunch at a cafe patronized by many cyclists.

The Route:
You can see that they must have made some changes since the waypoints I was using had been posted because my route is north of what was in my GPS. Not to worry, it was well marked.  The only untoward thing which happened was that someone, I suspect kids, dropped something off a bridge and it bounced off my handlebars.  No damage.

View Chester-le-Street to Sunderland in a larger map

Didn't take any still photos but here are the videos including the last of the Rookhope to Chester-le-Street and those of the last leg, Chester-le-Street to Sunderland.  The last is a ride along the Sunderland seaside.

Had a lovely pasta dinner with wine last night.  I'm about to go down for breakfast after which I'll tag the bicycle, check out, and make my way to Newcastle.  Went for a walk to the Metro station last evening.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rookhope to Chester-le-Street, Second Last Day

View Rookhope to Chester-le-Street in a larger map

Lots of videos today.  Weather was glorious and the wind was behind me except for a short period when I had it on my right side practically blowing me off the road.  There's nothing to stop it on the moors and it is ferocious.  Climbed a rocky incline rather than losing altitude and having to use the roadway (which even motorists find daunting).  The number of cyclists gradually increased and it progressed to the point where we had a little crowd waiting to go through a gate.

Stopped at a charming little cafe for cyclists and had a tea to warm my hands.  Talked to a cyclist from Newcastle and a motorist from Oregon.

Veered off the path to visit the Beamish Open Air Museum for about an hour and a half.  Made my way back to the path and didn't realize that I forgot to update my GPS route to include the finalized hotel so I overshot it and had to use the map to backtrack and plot a course through three little towns to get to my hotel.

I'm in the Moorings, a rather posh place on the outskirts of Chester-le-Street.   Tomorrow it's just a skip and a hop into Sunderland so I'll have lots of time to explore it before surrendering my bike on Monday morning.

The Photos

The Cute Little Bike Cafe at Parkhead
A Former Railway Station

Scenes of the Beamish Open Air Museum

The Videos (The complete set is available via my YouTube channel; kaybikerow)

Out of Rookhope

Ovine Meeting

The Ruins

Winds on Top/The Parkhead Cafe

Waskerley Way

Not Alone Any Longer, Population Begins

Flying towards Chester-le-Street

Over the Viaduct

There are more videos to be uploaded.  I left the computer running overnight to get these ready and the rest, as well as those of my final run into Sunderland (starting in a few hours) will be uploaded from there.  You may hear a 'beep, beep' in the videos.  That is my GPS telling me that there is a course change approaching.

Later, Jim

Friday, May 20, 2011

Up Hill and down Dale

Sorry, no movies and only a few photos today. I crested Hartside (580 metres) and Nenthead (609 metres) in a wind-driven chilly drizzle that precluded any exposure of my cameras to the elements.

I left Edenhall this morning around 8:30 and arrived in Rookhope around 13:00, having traveled a distance of 36 miles. I'm pleased to report that I didn't have to get off and walk the bike up anything save a horrid steep rock-strewn 'alternative' route which I could have avoided. Reading the map later I noted the notice 'Very Steep Rough Track'.

UPDATE: Here's how one C2C rider described that 'alternative' section that I mention;
Garrigill – mile marker 77 approx
This is a very short but very steep and stony off-road section leading out of Garrigill to join the B6277. This is a killer, the most I have managed is 50 yards of the hill and even then I nearly killed myself doing it. My advice is save your energy, pick up your bike and walk it! One consolation though is the water splash just before the climb, it is brilliant fun – especially in hot weather!

It's unfortunate that I couldn't have captured video of the downhill runs on the eastern sides of the high points.  They were white-knuckle affairs with my screaming down the middle of the lane to leave room for last millisecond correction, judiciously applying braking bursts when the speed approached suicidal levels,  and scanning the road for obstacles.  My GPS indicates I reached almost 35 mph (58 kph).

The road into Nenthead could, without argument, be called a paved cliff. The twists and sudden turns and a T-intersection at the bottom mean one can't let off the brakes and ever hope to stop in time. I was expecting my brake pads to be little rubber nubs by the time I reached the town.

I felt like Fungus the Bogeyman at times (see Raymond Briggs) flying along in my soggy rain gear and wet gloves.  Watership Down also came to mind upon seeing the roadways strewn with dead rabbits.

Having passed from Cumbria and through Northumberland I am currently in County Durham at the Rookhope Inn.  The weather forecast for tomorrow is favourable to my delight as that will make my visit to the Beamish Outdoor Museum all the more enjoyable.

Edenhall Evening

 Hartside Summit Cafe

Just me and maybe 3 cars per hour

The Cliff Road down to Nenthead 

Nenthead when the sky finally cleared

The Route

View Edenhall to Rookhope in a larger map

Fantastic Ride to Edenhall

I had breakfast at 8:00 and no sooner was up in my room did I get a call saying the man was here to pick up my luggage.  Fortunately it was ready and labelled.  Each morning is a little choreographed episode; dress in regular clothes for breakfast, hurry upstairs to don my cycling togs, pack my regular clothes, drop the luggage off in  the lobby for 9:00, get my bike out of storage and be on my way.

The Keswick to Edenhall ride was spectacular and leaves me wanting to come back and savour some of the other routes.  There are videos and stills for your viewing enjoyment.  If you watch no other be sure that you look at 'Lamb Jumps...'  where I almost have lamb chops for lunch.

Boardwalk  Just East of Keswick
Old Railway Bridge

Beside the A66
Lamb Jumps in  Front of Me
A Couple of Cyclists
Walk around Penrith

Some Photos;
Keswick Early Morn

 My Bike in Penrith Churchyard

Mind the Horses (in College Grounds)

Blencowe Hall

Clearing Skies

The 'Quirky Cycle Barn' where cyclists are invited to drop in on the honour system, have a snack and drink, relax, read and rest.

'Quirky' Info

Cleared and Cool

I'm currently in the Edenhall Country Hotel which is the best so far. Had an ale and meal in the sunroom overlooking the garden.  Went for a walk and felt like someone out of a Thomas Hardy story.  Awaiting breakfast and my two major climbs today.

Navigation is now a breeze.  The official C2C is carefully marked with blue signposts and my GPS is flawless.  I've learned to use the map feature whereby I just keep my moving arrow aligned on the mapped route which, to my surprise, automatically scales itself to show the best detail for my speed.

The Route Map
View Keswick to Edenhall in a larger map

Next post will be from Rookhope on the other side of the two highest points on the route.