Tuesday, 8 October 2019


Earlier this week I rode from a few miles outside Bellingham, to the Kielder dam, and Falstone. My route touched on parts of NCN10 (Reivers Cycle Route). It was a good choice: beautiful scenery and demanding enough (for me) to feel I had stretched myself, without overdoing things.

Today the plan was to complete a circuit of Kielder Water using the Waterside Path. That's a recreational route for walkers and cyclists. We've had heavy rain, and there were a few muddy patches, but on the whole it's well-paved with fine gravel. I was expecting a ride of about 26 miles: something that would stretch me again, without being unrealistic.

It was a good plan, but things didn't turn out that way. I started from the dam, working anti-clockwise along the north shore towards Kielder village. So far so good - it's a lovely ride, and although there was a blustery wind, most of the trail is sheltered by trees. Showers threatened, but didn't arrive.

Then, two-thirds of the way along the north shore I had a puncture. It shouldn't have been a problem - I carry a spare inner tube, and a repair kit. However, I haven't had to repair a puncture in the last ten years, and I made a mess of it. Somehow I managed to wreck the valve on the spare tube, and although I found and fixed a couple of holes in the old tube it still wouldn't hold air. I couldn't work out why.

I had no choice other than pushing the remaining distance to Kielder, where the wonderful people at the Bike Stop helped me out. By then I was running late, and getting tired. I was expected back by now, and there was no mobile signal, so it was difficult to share what was going on. So I chose the main road along the south of the reservoir to finish the loop and return to the dam.

The end result: I completed a circuit of the reservoir and covered 22 miles. However, my idea of a circling the reservoir along the waterside will have to wait for another day. It's a lovely route, so maybe that's not such a bad thing.

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