Perusing the Pennines

Snatching another day in between wet weather, I drove up near Appleby to a little village called Dufton that Liz and I cycled through a few weeks ago.  Seeing the North Pennines within touching distance gave me a hankering to nip over the hillside and revisit a few roads from two outings of the Coast2Coast more than a decade ago. So I've been planning and plotting. 

Today's expedition took me over Hartside, past the now burnt out cafe and down a magnificent couple of roads to Garrigill. The second lane, in particular, came flooding back as I enjoyed the straight descent into the village. The hill out was etched in my mind too; I clearly remember embarking on it straight after breakfast with Rich and Dave.  

Today, my legs were nicely warmed up and, with no panniers, I made it up the steep hill.  Instead of heading over to Nenthead though, I took a right into new territory to take the Middleton-in-Teesdale road. What a lovely meander uphill that was; all in the knowledge that I had ten glorious miles of descending down to the town for a much needed feed. I did have to pedal more than expected but it was amazing, as was the kestrel hovering no more than eight feet in the air in the verge right next to me. I stopped a few times for photos so I'm fairly sure this valley will be blipped (yep - this is with about nine miles of descending still to go).

I couldn't quite remember the length of the next hill but I thought it was about the same height gain. I'd seen it would be a stiff headwind by this stage but I was hoping that wouldn't meet me until near the top. Wrong!

Man! It went on! 
Gradual but on! 
And slow!

Luckily, the views were stunning and thankfully, the weather stayed on my side. Heading this morning towards Hartside, I could see the ten o'clock downpour ahead and going in the right direction. Leaving the cafe at lunch, an ominous black cloud had me asking the motorbikers outside whether I should have had another drink. I cracked on though and felt only a few odd spots as the cloud skirted my left shoulder and a buzzard sat with its prey to my right. 

Eventually, I caught a glimpse of the valley beyond and took great delight in the last descent of the day. Down to Brough and a fair few more undulating (and mighty tiring) miles to find myself back where I started.

Between feasting, I've been examining the road map for more. It seems a veritable playground!

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