Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Coast and Castles: Video and Report

On day one I had an early start to catch the 06.03 hrs train from Manchester to Edinburgh. Rain started on the way up and stayed for most of the first day. I did a detour from the official Coast and Castles route to go to Penicuik to collect a BCQ checkpoint. I was glad to get out of the Edinburgh suburbs at last as the route goes through housing estates, disused car parks and over stepped rail bridges - not the greatest cycling.

I did the biggest climb of the route and, cycling wise, only met an elderly Norwegian couple going the same way all day. The rain stopped by late afternoon, the Sun came out, the scenery grew better by the mile, the campsite at Melrose was nice and the local pub did a great steak. 74 miles in all. Slept very well.

Day two started with a mist which quickly burned off and the rest of the day was sunny but not too hot. I got an early start about 07.30 hrs and had a great day cycling with frequent stops to film. The cycling was easy and, after Berwick, I started to see many more cyclists although most were going the other way. 

I stopped to say hello to a couple riding Surly Long Haul Truckers and would have loved to stay and chat longer but had made arrangements to camp at The Barn at Beal just near Holy Island. I had about an hour to get there and 10 miles of coastal path to cover so couldn't hang around. The campsite was lovely and quiet and I was in time for a cooked meal and drinks before they shut so had no need of the noodles! 61 miles. Slept well again.

Day three found me lying in till 09.15 hrs! No problem though as I could not cross to Holy Island till 10.30 hrs. It was overcast and there were spots of rain in the air. Lots of cars and a fair few cyclists on the island. It would have been more beautiful there if it wasn't for all the visitors. I would like to go back and stay on the island in between tides when most tourists have departed. Just had an hour there before retracing my route through Beal to the A1 and over.

I cycled a little bit with another couple who were heading to Alnmouth by days end. I was hoping to get a few miles further on to Amble before meeting my wife. I was surprised they chose to cycle down the A1 rather than take the cycle route. My way was certainly hillier but I wasn't rushing. The rain started to pour and did so for frequent spells over the rest of the day. After Bamburgh I knew a fair bit of the route as I've driven around these parts a fair bit.

I was soaked to the skin but warm and having a great time. I knew I wasn't going to make Amble by the time I'd arranged to meet my wife so decided on a rendevous at Alnmouth. I never saw the couple who took the A1 but did find the Red Lion pub. I dried off and managed two pints of Black Sheep before my wife turned up - an hour late. Held up by traffic on the A1 she said! 49 miles today and 184 miles in total. A great little break.


  1. Hi from (one of the) Surly LHTs! We were heading in opposite directions, but also found Coast & Castles a lovely route. Arrived in Edinburgh in pouring rain which did not cease for 36 hours...by which time we had opted for a B&B instead of tent. Back home now, and planing our next adventure. Keep those wheels turning! Brian & Annie Marshall (also at thesingingprobationofficer.blogspot.com)

  2. Hi Brian and Annie. Glad you found my blog. Where did you end up staying the day we met? Weather could have been drier but I still had a great time. Happy pedaling.

  3. Wow! Seemed like you had an excellent time while cycling through some stunning scenery!

  4. Hi - we debated a wild camp, as the area you identified looked good for this. The ndecided to see what there was in Berwick, and ended up staying at the Caravan Club site (didn't know they took cyclists and tents) - bit posh, really, with amazing facilities. Glad we did this as the weather really deteriorated and so we took a rest day at Berwick. I've written it all up on http://www.crazyguyonabike.com . You can either then search using my name (Brian Marshall) or the journal title (Coast & Castles). Best wishes - Brian & Annie.

  5. Hi Darrell, and thanks for the post on Crazyguy. I've heard about Trangia, but was put off by weight and a report that they can be a bit sooty. But in view of your comments will seriously consider. Best wishes - Brian.

  6. Hi MAC, Really enjoyed your Coasts and Castles video! I live on route 1 (you will have pedalled past my house just before Norham!). I was wondering if you would write up a little something (with a video, perhaps?) about your PedalPower pack? I'm wondering about getting one!

    All best, pkeenan

  7. Hi Number One.

    Glad you liked the vid.

    Re the PedalPower. I have written this already. I plan to write a follow up soon.