The riding from the Lakes through Yorkshire to the Peak District was tough, REALLY tough. We found ourselves following the Tour de France route of a couple of years ago, the scenery was typical Yorkshire – steep, green, hilly farmland, sliced up by crumbling dry-stone walls. Sheep wandered in the road and tractors chugged along winding country lanes. The weather was becoming more English too, blustery days mixed with some good sunshine and a good splash of rain.
We met up with Robs family in the peaks and spent a couple of wet days camping a hiking Kinder Scout. And we just couldn’t pass through the area without visiting Bakewell for a famous tart!
From the Peaks we headed for Shropshire, the hills easing as the day passed. Robs mechanical issues continued, his bottom bracket had given up a couple of days previously and now he broke a spoke. After re-truing the wheel on the roadside we managed to limp to yet another bike shop who were able to get us back on the road.
We took a day off at Robs Grandparents house and hiked the Wrekin – a short, steep hike that affords spectacular views of seven counties and all the way out to the Black Mountains in Wales.
The next two days were good riding no familiar roads, we were beginning to look at the map less and less. Into Wales we rode, and on through one of our favourite spots – the Ellan Valley is a place which inspired us greatly, it was part of our first ever bike tour and the place we both fell love with cycling. On this occasion the rain poured down all morning but gradually cleared later into the afternoon. One last climb as we watched the sunset over the Brecon Beacons and we reached our destination for the night, friends of friends had agreed to put us up for the night. Pia and Blithe run a small glamping site in beautifully quiet surroundings, we had a great evening getting to know each other and can’t wait to go back and see their yurts and tree house in the daylight.
So here it was, the last day, 413 days and 13,064 miles after rolling out from our wedding we were meandering along roads we knew well. We cross into our home county, then through the Wye Valley – a place we’ve perhaps cycled more than anywhere else, crossing the Severn Bridge we’re welcomed home by our final country sign – ENGLAND! Ness is so exhausted from the previous couple of days she needs to rest in a park for an hour but is determined we’ll finish from here. Its just 30 miles home and we make it by mid afternoon, happy and excited to be back, but sad to be at the end of the road. It seems as though the whole journey was perhaps just a big dream? Did we really just spend a year on a bike??