Early August, the five of us travel from Brussels-South to Rotterdam Central Station. From there we cycle +/- 30 km to Rotterdam Ferry port and then embark in the evening towards Hull.
Way of the Roses
The next morning at 7.30 am (UK time) our cycling trip can really start. After an hour of cycling, we leave the gloomy suburbs of Hull behind us. The plan is to connect to the ‘Way of the Roses cycle route’ and arrive in York in the evening. Quite a long, but also a flat trip (88km). The nice weather and the beautiful English countryside make it a fun ride.
York surely deserves a stop and so we visit the main sights the next day. From York it then goes towards Pateley Bridge. We drive on narrow roads in a landscape of meadows, hedges, and stone walls. The 2nd part of the ride after Ripon (with its beautiful cathedral) is quite tough with some steep climbs. A trip of 78km.
The next day it goes from Pateley Bridge to Settle, through the Yorkshire Dales. We are now in the heart of The Pennines, the hills that run across the UK from north to south. The climbs follow each other quickly and they are steep. Every effort is rewarded with a magnificent view followed by a sharp descent. Our bikes are really tested here. Here too we drive along quiet, narrow roads but this time in fog and drizzle. A trip of 45km.
From Settle we cycle towards Lancastre. The first part of this ride is again very tough, but the weather gods are with us this time. We drive through the Forest of Bowland along narrow, quiet roads with many green meadows, sheep, small groves, and stone walls. We leave the Pennines behind us and drive into Lancaster along the banks of the river Lune. Finally flat again. From Lancaster it goes to Morecambe on the Irish Sea, the terminus of the Way of the Roses. We decide to cycle a few more miles along the coastline of the Morecambe bay to Bolton-Le-Sands. A trip of 64km.
Bay Cycle Way
For the next day plenty of rain is predicted all day long. We really don’t feel like it and decide to take a rest day. The day after the sun is with us again, and we cycle around the Morecombe Bay via the Bay Cycle Way. This tour is also quite hilly. Beautiful views are our part: westward on the bay and eastwards on The Pennines-Lake district. For sure it rained a lot the day before: on several occasions we drive through flooded streets. Finally, we arrive in Ulverston after a trip of 81km.
In the morning we leave under a bright sun towards Barrow-in-Furness, the last part of the Bay Cycle Way. From Barrow we take the train north towards our next cycle route, Hadrians Wall Cycle Way. This was not the original plan. The forced rest day of 2 days ago and the knowledge that we must cross the Pennines again this time from west to east, make us decide to take some extra margin. After all, the return journey by ferry is fixed. We trace to MaryPort, a coastal town further north on the Irish Sea. From there we cycle on north along the coast to Silloth. In total we cycled 45 km.
Hadrian’s Wall Cycle way
On our next stage we first drive along the Solway Firth, a fjord that forms the border between England and Scotland. The view of the Solway Coast is reminiscent of an estuary, with lots of marine fauna and flora. From there it goes towards Carlisle, the real start of Hadrian’s wall. After Carlisle the climbing starts again as we approach the northern part of The Pennines. Finally, we land in Banks after a trip of 92km.
During the night a very strong wind comes up and moreover it turns. So, we get a strong east wind head on. Fortunately, there are plenty of interesting Roman sites to visit. They are a welcome respite between climbing and struggling against the wind. The views are quite impressive: wild hilly terrain and occasionally a remnant of the wall. We stop in Once Brewed after a trip of 30km and visit the site of Vindolanda nearby.
The kids fancy an extra day in Newcastle. So, we decide to drive straight from Once Brewed to Newcastle without visiting more antique sites. The first part of the trip is tough with the by-now familiar steep hills and beautiful views. But after noon there is a spectacular long descent towards the river The Tyne. Via the banks of The Tyne, we reach Newcastle, which is quite a pretty picture with the many bridges. A trip of 70km.
After a day and a half of chilling in Newcastle we cycle towards the ferry port about 20km east. There we board the ferry direction IJmuiden (Amsterdam). At 10 am the next day we cycle through the Dutch polders towards Amsterdam central station where we take the train back to Brussels.
For those who wonder:
- Elke => Santos Travelmaster 2.8
- Tom => Utopia Roadster
- Hazel => Vintage Trek – renovated
- Gus => Campus TR10
- Bette => Campus TR2