Newcastle & Durham – N Route Day 4

Tough day today. I’m tired so will need to keep the blog a bit shorter and let the pictures do the talking!

I was tired at the start today. My legs were killing me and the ride was much hillier than I expected. 

The first section of my route took a series of backroads that make the Route 72 National Cycle Route. It was very picturesque and took me passed sections of Hadrian’s Wall. 

The picture above is Glenwhelt Bank Climb just after Greenhead. Man it was hard work! I don’t know why I hadn’t expected these climbs but they really caught me out. To add to it I was riding into a headwind… all with tired legs. 

So, by the time I got to Haltwhistle I’d been out for nearly three hours (with stops) and had only ridden 25 miles with an average of 13.2 miles an hour. I was never going to get the miles done at this rate!

So, I headed on to the main road, the A69 and got my head down. It was still tough going with plenty of climbs and headwind but I rolled into Newcastle (62 miles) just after 2.00pm, gettingy average back up to 15 mph. 

The cathedral staff greeted me and made me feel welcome. The kind ladies in the Cathedral Cafe insisted on giving me the money back for my lunch and said they would donate. ūüôā


Next up Durham. Made pretty good time there via the main road past The Angel of the North and rolled up to the cathedral via Framwellgate Bridge from which there were stunning views of the west end of the cathedral. It’s such an epic setting. If you haven’t been you really must go. 

The cathedral dates from 1093 and by that I mean nearly all of the main building. I was staggered to learn that it was built in just 40 years! 

I was met by a young lady called Catherine Hodgson from the marketing team who really made me feel welcome. Evensong was taking place but she took me to see the shrine of St Cuthbert. People have been coming to visit his shrine here for over 1000 years. So I felt very privileged to get 5 minutes on my own in this special part of the cathedral. 

I’m not really a religious person but during my Cathedral Tour I’ve taken to spending a few quiet moments inside to pay respects to my brother and also my Dad who passed away just a few days after Allister. It just feels right to do that. 

It was humbling to kneel at the shrine and that feeling plus I guess the beautiful music wafting over from the choir overwhelmed me. I broke down. 

Part of me did envisage this tour having a cathartic quality for me. After all, I’m doing it in memory of Allister. So, I guess that that moment arrived for me today at St Cuthbert’s shrine in Durham. 


By the way…. It’s not permitted to take photos inside Durham cathedral but I was given permission to take one of the nave. The picture of the shrine is from Durham World Heritage Site website. The carved head is by artist Josef Pyrz and is called The Statue of Annunciation. I found it captivating. 

After some light refreshments that were kindly supplied, I decided to head on another 20 miles to Darlington. Not much to say about that other than some verbal abuse from a van driver. I decided to stay in the hotel.

Ripon, York and Bradford tomorrow, provided and can keep my legs turning!

Donations can be made here…

The Final Trip

I have now completed plans for my final trip to the remaining 14 cathedrals in my challenge.

I will set off on my 675 mile Northern Route on Sunday 27th of September and will arrive at my final cathedral, Peterborough on Saturday 3rd of October.

The cathedrals I will visit and approximate schedule is….

Lichfield Cathedral – 27/09/15

Chester Cathedral – 28/09/15

Liverpool Cathedral – 28/09/15

Manchester Cathedral – 28/09/15

Blackburn Cathedral – 29/09/15

Carlisle Cathedral – 30/09/15

Newcastle Cathedral – 30/09/15

Durham Cathedral – 30/09/15

Ripon Cathedral – 01/10/15

York Minster – 01/10/15

Bradford Cathedral – 01/10/15

Wakefield Cathedral – 02/10/15

Sheffield Cathedral – 02/10/15

Peterborough Cathedral – 03/10/15

Here is map of the rough route….

Northern Route

As usual I will be staying over in either B & Bs or with friends who have kindly offered to put me up. I intend to keep up my tradition of sampling local ales on my way round (it’s a hard life!), so please feel free to suggest any¬†beers you think I should be drinking!

Join me for the Final Cathedral

All being well, I will reach the final cathedral, Peterborough at around 1.30pm on Saturday 3rd of October.

Peterborough Cathedral

As this is the conclusion of my challenge I would like to invite as many fellow cyclists as possible to join me on the ride into Peterborough for a final group photo outside the cathedral. This could make a great photo and will really help on a final push to reach my fundraising target of £4200. Total at time of writing is £3186.23.

For those that don’t know, I have undertaken this challenge in memory of my brother Allister who died in 2008 aged just 32 owing to mental health problems. So, all I ask is that anyone joining makes a minimum donation of ¬£5 (but can be more!) to my chosen charity ‘Rethink Mental Illness’.

Or even better, why not create your own individual or club fundraising page and join my Just Giving Team? I will do my best to arrange for a FREE Rethink cycling jerseys for any that join my fundraising team.

Please note that¬†I do not expect any further donations from those who have already donated or helped with fundraising but would love you to join me….

I will be starting out somewhere near Newark on this date, so people can either….

  • Meet me at Rasell’s Nurseries¬†& Cafe in Little Bytham between 11.30am and 12.00pm. I will set off from here at noon.
  • Join me en route. I will still be publishing a tracker link.
  • Meet me at the cathedral.

So, whether you fancy coming on your own, with some friends, or with your local cycling club, please feel free to start organising your route to join me on Sat 3rd of October.

I will depart from Peterborough around 2.30pm on my final leg home to Oakham, followed by some well deserved ales in the evening.

Thanks for reading and please do spread the word!