DAY 12

Today's mileage: 57
LEJOG mileage to date: 628

Map view:

Google Earth view:

And the ride to date:

After the rest day, it was really, really hard to get back onto the trike. I think my body's attitude to the rest day was I don't know what the fsck you've been doing, but whatever it is, thank god it appears to be over. It took some considerable persuasion that there was more work to be done, and it was a tough day's ride.

It was raining when I set off. I was taking a backroad route to Morpeth, where I was meeting up with Donald.

By that time, the rain had stopped.

According to the map, we did about half a mile of the A1. In reality, we came on a slip-road, stayed on it and came straight back off again without ever leaving the slip-road, so I don't know whether we ever officially entered it!

You know you're getting to isolated areas when the only place being pointed to on a road sign is 40 miles away.

Today's navigation task was rather simple: most of it was on just one road: the A697.

With potential food stops few and far between, I was keeping a close eye on road signs to make sure we weren't going to get caught out. Fortunately there seemed to be some kind of populated place almost exactly every 10 miles. Our lunch stop was a pub at 20.7 miles.

We arrived at five to two, and I was rather alarmed as I saw them packing up. The landlady told me food service had ended, but she'd check whether they could do anything.

She returned, and my heart sank at the first half of her sentence:

"We can do you sandwiches ..."

but brightened considerably as she finished with:

"... or fish-and-chips". :-)

There are a reasonable number of calories in fish-and-chips, but one can't be too careful with these things:

Then back to following that road ...

Though we did have one brief moment of concern about our route-finding:

We were encountering quite a stiff wind, and I hadn't quite taken enough time to let my lunch digest, so was finding the post-lunch stint hard work. We stopped for a breather:

And confirmation that we were heading towards Scotland:

We had dark clouds on either side, but clear weather directly ahead.

It was quite hilly, but the downhills were fun - 30mph cruising while freewheeling.

I managed to stop at the right point to capture us hitting 600 miles:

The weather was looking rather brooding all around:

But still clear ahead:

Despite ominous signs!

We stopped at a petrol station, and happened to bump into a couple of previous LEJOGgers. The guy on the left had cycled it (using only Sustrans routes, which must have been rather painful in parts as so much of the network is rubbish), the gentleman on the right had walked it! It took him three months.

This form of bungalows with porches seemed popular - must find out later what they're called:

We passed through a lumberyard:

Since we seemed to have a sunny path through the weather, I decided to tempt the weather gods by removing my jacket.

They didn't seem to mind:

Almost exactly at a 10-mile interval, there was a cafe for a tea and chocolate stop.

A useful reinforcement of the need to be more careful about timing our food stops: large friendly letters promising hot food, and small-print noting that this was weekends only between specific times (and 'Late' probably means about 8pm round here ...):

It was a lovely landscape:

The road turned right, converting our headwind to a sidewind:

The dark clouds were now gathering all around, but still a band of clear sky.

The final 10 miles were on back-roads very reminiscent of Cornwall: narrow, hedges, and steep up-and-down.

Another 'guess the prevailing wind' shot:

If I ever meet the idiot who thought it a good idea to put these rumble-strips on the approach to villages, I shall have words. They vibrate the trikes like crazy, and must be even worse on a two-wheeler.

Then the last stretch towards the campsite ...

... with attached pub!

Whose services were duly employed. 57 miles, taking our total so far to 628:

Getting hillier:

Tomorrow morning will see us in Scotland in 2.5 miles ...

Onto day 13 ...