Wooler as a base for cycling

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
mumbojumbo
Posts: 153
Joined: 1 Aug 2018, 8:18pm

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby mumbojumbo » 18 Jul 2020, 7:27pm

There used to be a hostel at Wooler,and the Cheviots are beautiful,remote and full of character.

lbomaak2
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Joined: 3 Aug 2009, 12:38pm
Location: Loughborough

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby lbomaak2 » 18 Jul 2020, 9:20pm

iandusud wrote:Can anyone tell me what the roads and scenery heading west toward Jedburgh and Kelso are like please?


Not very welcoming, if my experience on one October day in 1975 is anything to go by. Around where the B6396 to Kelso crosses the border, I had to get off the bike and walk on a flat stretch of road because the westerly wind was so strong that I could not make forward progress by pedalling. The Scots obviously didn't want me in their country!

Nigel
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Joined: 25 Feb 2007, 6:29pm

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby Nigel » 19 Jul 2020, 6:49pm

iandusud wrote:My wife and I had a lovely week tandeming in Northumberland last summer based in Barrasford, just north of Hexham, discovering the delights of the North Tyne valley. We're thinking of heading to Wooler this year so that we can explore the coast to the east, Route 68 heading north and south. Can anyone tell me what the roads and scenery heading west toward Jedburgh and Kelso are like please?

Thank you, Ian


The initial run out of Wooler, for a couple of miles, can be a bit annoying. Take the minor road from Wooler high street, rather than the A road, as that halves the horrible bit.

Thereafter it gets better. Downside is the "draggy" / rough tarmac, and a lot of potholes. (go up a tyre size if you can !).

The College Valley (not a through route on road) is worth a detour up it - its pretty much car free for the upper stretch (the estate owners restrict cars to residents and a handful of permits). It is steep in places.
The road which hugs the hills to Yetholm has its hills, but also good views.
The minor road from just before Morebattle up to Hownam, and then further SE up onto the moors is really nice (but exposed if weather is rough), then loop back to Oxnam, and then option of into Jedburgh.
Most routes into Jedburgh have stretches which are either hilly or "really steep".

If riding into Kelso, there is a new hard-surface cycle path on the old railway from Sprouston to Kelso - an alternative to the parallel B-road along the river which can be a bit aggressively fast. (Though I usually use the lanes higher up the valley side, through WindyWalls, and other wonderfully named places )


With the Covid pandemic, don't assume places have opened this year - quite a few haven't reopened. Some places are open, but carry your own food/drink backup unless you've checked each place.


- Nigel ( a borders resident for last few years )

Oldjohnw
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Location: Northumberland

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby Oldjohnw » 20 Jul 2020, 12:07pm

I called into Duns this morning at about 8.00am after an overnight bivvy near the Watch Reservoir in the Lammermuirs. An excellent bacon baguette and coffee served with great pleasantness and courtesy in the town centre.

A fantastic but demanding run from Ellemford to Longformacus yesterday. Then out of Longformacus at 7.00am. After a long tough climb I freewheelers about 3km down to Duns

I love North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.
John

gbnz
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Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby gbnz » 20 Jul 2020, 12:42pm

Oldjohnw wrote:
I love North Northumberland and the Scottish Borders.


It has it's appeal! Superb coastlines, fantastic fell sandstone ridges, glacial remains apparent throughout the Millfield basin, incredible / historic long bypassed towns full of fascinating structures (NB. Berwick / Alnwick), empty roads, cheap housing and if you're taking a break from work, an acceptance that it's perfectly ok to sit around doing bugger all and letting the state pay for it (NB. The local economy being dominated by benefit claimants & public sector "workers").

But on the downside; a dismal, tedious, range of featureless hills, long boring expanses of featureless agricultural land, none of the variety in plant and animal life apparent in more developed parts of England, primative, uneducated and unhealthy people (NB. Having undertaken postgraduate studies of indigenous people elsewhere, my parents were always fascinated by Northumbrian people. At least some of them have now developed to the extent that they can just about speak in sentences :shock: ). Though saying Yes and No in a manner which can be comprehended, is still beyond many

hamster
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Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby hamster » 20 Jul 2020, 12:49pm

@gbnz how long have you worked for the Northumbrian Tourist Board? :lol:

Oldjohnw
Posts: 4666
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby Oldjohnw » 20 Jul 2020, 2:21pm

I am a Northumbrian person. Born in Corbridge and have lived in Northumberland for 70 years apart from 6 months each in London and Toronto.

I can even manage complete sentences. And I have never claimed benefits. I doubt I am that unusual.
John

iandusud
Posts: 370
Joined: 26 Mar 2018, 1:35pm

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby iandusud » 20 Jul 2020, 3:57pm

I too originate from Northumberland. Born in North Shields where all my maternal family hail from. And although I haven't resided there since I was 5, some 55 years ago, I have regularly visited the area with my family over the years. In fact when I was living in France for over 20 years and was within 10 miles of the Med we would choose to drive to Northumberland for our family summer holidays and the kids loved it.

Anyway thank you again for all the "helpful" comments. :D

Ian

Pebble
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Joined: 7 Jun 2020, 11:59pm

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby Pebble » 21 Jul 2020, 7:15pm

Nigel wrote:The initial run out of Wooler, for a couple of miles, can be a bit annoying. Take the minor road from Wooler high street, rather than the A road, as that halves the horrible bit.

Thereafter it gets better. Downside is the "draggy" / rough tarmac, and a lot of potholes. (go up a tyre size if you can !).

The College Valley (not a through route on road) is worth a detour up it - its pretty much car free for the upper stretch (the estate owners restrict cars to residents and a handful of permits). It is steep in places.
The road which hugs the hills to Yetholm has its hills, but also good views.
The minor road from just before Morebattle up to Hownam, and then further SE up onto the moors is really nice (but exposed if weather is rough), then loop back to Oxnam, and then option of into Jedburgh.
Most routes into Jedburgh have stretches which are either hilly or "really steep".

If riding into Kelso, there is a new hard-surface cycle path on the old railway from Sprouston to Kelso - an alternative to the parallel B-road along the river which can be a bit aggressively fast. (Though I usually use the lanes higher up the valley side, through WindyWalls, and other wonderfully named places )


With the Covid pandemic, don't assume places have opened this year - quite a few haven't reopened. Some places are open, but carry your own food/drink backup unless you've checked each place.


- Nigel ( a borders resident for last few years )

that was pretty much todays ride, Hownam Hass Chesters Camptown Oxon - an absolute cracking place to ride.

@iandusud the whole area west of the A697, north of the cheviots and south of the tweed is a tremendous place to ride, very little traffic, very peaceful, tremendous views (and the area or its people are nothing like @gbnz describes it

Image
@Nigel @oldJohn - can you place this road?

thirdcrank
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Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby thirdcrank » 21 Jul 2020, 7:51pm

It looks a bit familiar to me so I think it's on the way to Kirk Yetholm.

Pebble
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Joined: 7 Jun 2020, 11:59pm

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby Pebble » 23 Jul 2020, 10:08am

thirdcrank wrote:The scenery is quite rugged, especially heading due West from Wooler where it's the northern tip of the national park, with few roads. I think of the area you mention, Jedburgh and Kelso as Scottish Borders and there's some great cycling territory on a network of minor roads.

It's a while since I've been to Wooler (late 1990's?) but I found it one of the most depressing places in England. Perhaps it was the very obvious difference in public spending: on the other side of the border, public expenditure seemed unlimited.

Probably fair comment for the 80s/90s, a somewhat forgotten no-mans-land that existed beyond hadrians wall but not far enough north to be in scotland, times have changed though and some investment has come in, meanwhile north of the border public spending is now a very very long way from 'unlimited'. I would go as far to say you would not notice the difference now from one side of the border to the other. Slight downside that we seem to loose young people going to make their fortunes elsewhere and replaced by old people coming here to retire. But apart from that slight negative it's a wonderful area, and perfect cycling countryside, I wouldn't live anywhere else.

thirdcrank wrote:It looks a bit familiar to me so I think it's on the way to Kirk Yetholm.

Yes, or at least very close. I doubt it would every be described as a road to Kirk Yetholm, however KY it is only about 4 miles as the crow flies just to the left of the direction of the road.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby thirdcrank » 23 Jul 2020, 11:01am

It's good to hear that Wooler is on the up.

I wasn't suggesting it was on a direct route - my "scenic routes" are a long-running family joke although they don't provoke much light-hearted laughter.

Nigel
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Joined: 25 Feb 2007, 6:29pm

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby Nigel » 25 Jul 2020, 10:59am

Pebble wrote:@Nigel @oldJohn - can you place this road?


I think its here, https://www.google.com/maps/@55.5769034 ... 312!8i6656

( it is a regular ride of mine )


The decent riding continues north of the Tweed. It gets busy when the roads drop off into the Lothians. Further west the roads are fewer, and probably hillier, but still good cycling. Biggest downside is the draggy tarmac.

My ride yesterday was up the Ettrick from Selkirk, left at Tushielaws to Roberton, then Ashkirk, back over the ridge to the Ettrick valley before a couple of miles back to Selkirk. I wasn't counting, but could have seen as many cyclists as cars on that loop.


- Nigel

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Paulatic
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Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby Paulatic » 25 Jul 2020, 12:17pm

Nigel wrote:[

My ride yesterday was up the Ettrick from Selkirk, left at Tushielaws to Roberton, then Ashkirk, back over the ridge to the Ettrick valley before a couple of miles back to Selkirk. I wasn't counting, but could have seen as many cyclists as cars on that loop.


- Nigel


Is that by taking the old drove?
What size tyres do you need for it?
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

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Nigel
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Joined: 25 Feb 2007, 6:29pm

Re: Wooler as a base for cycling

Postby Nigel » 25 Jul 2020, 3:33pm

Paulatic wrote:
Nigel wrote:[

My ride yesterday was up the Ettrick from Selkirk, left at Tushielaws to Roberton, then Ashkirk, back over the ridge to the Ettrick valley before a couple of miles back to Selkirk. I wasn't counting, but could have seen as many cyclists as cars on that loop.



Is that by taking the old drove?
What size tyres do you need for it?


Yes, assuming we're talking the same "old drove road". The Ashkirk over to Ettrick valley part is labelled "cross border drove road" on the OS Map. Its tarmac if you start at the small garage with old Subaru's almost at the A7 end of Ashkirk. Some other parts of the cross border drove road are mountain bike or hill-walking.

The route round is tarmac public road (yellow or better on an OS map). There are a few cattle grids. The worst surface being in Selkirk with a nasty choice of stone size in the tarmac.

I was on 700c*28 Gatorskins.


- Nigel