May Weekend Miander

This weekend me and my good lady were house sitting for her sister up in Gateshead We had a lovely drive out Saturday afternoon with a stop to Aydon Castle, but as it was 10 minutes to closing time we didn’t get much of a look around in fact the only view of it that we got was this :

So after our none event visit to the castle which when you get inside looks more like this:

So hungry after lots of driving we set off in search of dinner and found it at the Robin Hood pub on the way back to Gateshead.

Anyway the bike ride.

We set off eventually after some running about trying to find somewhere to park on the Derwent valley railway path, both desperate for the toilet (which we didn’t find for 3 hours).

This we followed via the villages of Hamsterley Mill, Ebchester and eventually to Consett, this disused railway path is clearly very popular due to dozens and dozens of cyclist we saw going the other way usually at high speed as we happily trundled along the gradual climb to Waskerley way. This route is part of the north of Englands Coast to Coast ride.

Onwards and upwards we pedalled for the first three hours from 85ft above sea level to our highest point at 1200 feet, the last 5 miles of the climb was really hard going due to a serious 15mph+ headwind and gusts up to 30mph crosswinds, sapping our strength and motivation. As we neared Waskerley  picnic are  we missed the turn off due to misreading  the map and carried on climbing for another mile and a half uphill into the horrible head wind until we stopped for a breather, re-read….. oh bugger! Realised our mistake and discovered why everyone going the other way was having such a good time. 25mph without even pedalling!

Waskerley picnic area was soon upon us again and we stopped for a bite of lunch. Then pushing on (tarmac roads now) out of Waskerley and heading for the village of Muggleswick, then on quiet country roads to Edmundbyers where we stopped for a water refill and chocolate break before pushing on up the hill to Carterway Heads. On this route we picked up some fellow cyclists for a while a father and sons out for a ride, I felt sorry for little lad on a Kona Stinky climbing all these hills!

At this point we decided that we’d been going for ages (riding and stopped for about 4.5 hours) and had nearly had enough so we’d take a more direct route back to Consett and thenback along the DVRP. The Descent from Carterway Heads to Shortley Bridge was basically 3 miles of “Pin your ass over the back wheel and hang on fun!” with an average speed of 30mph+ topping out at 36mph! not bad for a MTB.

Once at Shortley Bridge the map said we follow the A691 uphill and we’d interesect the DVRP again. Some hill! we walked for about a mile and and gained about 700 ft!

Needless to say once we found the flat / downhill DVRP once again we were much relieved and getting tired!

From here we retraced our earlier steps enjoying the down hill gradient and the last 7 miles were lovely fun riding and we were much relieved to arrive back at the car load up and head for warm showers.


  • Time Riding: 5:14’36
  • Time Stopped 1:35’18
  • Distance 36 miles
  • Av moving speed 6.5
  • Top Speed 36mph

View Interactive Map on


One Response

  1. So I read the first line and my eyes dropped down to the castle picture and I thought, nice house! Further reading fixed that misperception of course but set a positive tone for the rest of the post which sounds like a great day.

    My MTB has been parked for a while as trails are closed during the spring thaw and my local trail is undergoing some major work and won’t open until June. I have yet been inspired to drive to another spot but have been getting in a ton of road miles, the only good thing about unemployment.

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