A day ride on the tandem to collect a local checkpoint.
Bamburgh is another Northumberland checkpoint I was given credit for but for reasons that now escape me. I have cycled through Bamburgh on a number of occasions, including one notable midsummer night's ride from home! Now that Charlotte is also collecting BCQ checkpoints it is a good time to revisit this checkpoint "officially".
Parking at Christon Bank it was chilly as we prepared to set off. With a brisk Southerly wind we were quickly up to 20 mph+ as we headed for the coastal route. There we headed North, taking a small detour at Tughall to look at the remains of a church before rejoining the route to Swinhoe where we turned right. Bypassing Beadnell we were quickly in Seahouses where we stopped to use the facilities.
The road to Bamburgh along the sand dunes gives great views of the castle ahead. Sadly the coastal route is quite a busy road, especially on a weekend, and there were a lot of people out walking along the beach. We stopped at the Copper Kettle cafe for lunch, hardly deserving a cafe stop so soon after just 10 miles and barely more than half an hour's riding!
Just a few hundred yards up the road from the cafe we parked our tandem outside St Aidan's church to collect the checkpoint. There was a wedding in progress so we were pleased to find a small gate where we could enter to visit Grace Darling's grave without getting in the way.
Back on the road we continued West through Waren Mill, passing the road towards Belford which was closed for roadworks. We had planned on taking the next minor road on the left. On reaching it we found a no-entry sign, but assumed that must be to discourage diverted traffic from taking such a small road, so continued as planned. It became apparent somewhat further on that the small lane was now one way in the opposite direction! Fortunately it wasn't far to the other end and we made it there before any vehicles came the other way.
Shortly after that we came across what looked like an old windmill. Now a holiday home a small information board outside informed that whilst marked on the map as a windmill there was nothing architecturally that suggested it had ever been one, and it remains a mystery why it was ever built.
Our remaining route for the day was a reminder of just how quiet (and undiscovered) North Northumberland is, with very little traffic to speak of at all. Using lanes that neither of us knew we proceeded South, taking a short detour to view Bradford Kaimes, a site of geological and archaeological importance. Back on track we passed through the village of Lucker, which seemed to consist mostly of holiday lets. Just further South we came across a pheasant hunt, with many beaters and shooters in the field to our right. I may have ducked once as a shot was fired, though Charlotte was somewhat more concerned as she was riding behind me!
Out route meandered through lanes to reach Chathill as we joined a route we had ridden earlier in the year, before finally returning us to Christon Bank. The earlier wind had dropped by the time we should have been riding into it so altogether we had a very easy ride around.