Cestria CC does the Reverse Killhope Reliability trial

Sunday’s cycle to Nenthead and Allenheads was enjoyed by no fewer than 11 members, including intrepid lady member Donna McBride. The idea of the route was courtesy Mal Grey, who  more-or-less set a reverse of the Killhope Grimpeur route (more on that later).

Peter Sturman had suggested we start at Lanchester at 9.15am, and we just about did this, with Peter having to dash home to collect his forgotten cycle shoes! It was bright and sunny with a slight side—to-tailwind on the way out. Having waited for Peter who past us in his car and then joined us near Rowley, we headed through Waskerley where the wind was not much of an issue. We split into a few groups on the road and regrouped at the top before the fast descend to Stanhope. Surprisingly, for such a lovely day, there was no that much traffic but we decided to take the back road via Brotherlee as far as Daddry Shield where we joined the main road again. The sun continued to shine as we forged uphill, and soon we passed Killhope museum and were at one of England’s two highest road passes. After a short but fast descent, we turned right (north) towards Allendale. Graeme had set off first, resolutely following Mal’s route on his Garmin. The next group got to the junction for Allenheads and decided to turn right, Graeme having passed through some minutes before. After a short discussion, everyone else decided to skip the Allendale option and head straight to Allenheads, with the Hemmel’s tasty offerings on everyone’s minds (it was about 12:15 at this point). Having reached the Hemmel without incident, we then sat down for various refreshment. Again, surprisingly, there were very few people in the cafe.

With nobody opting for the Hemmel’s famous breakfasy fry (and remembering the sharp ascent out of the valley), we headed past the headgear of Grove Rake mine (a group is trying to preserve this) and then turned left (north) and up the steep ascent to Hunstanworth. Again, having regrouped at the top, we headed into Blanchland where we took the road through the quaintly-named Ruffside before arriving in Edmondbyers. Here Ian Gardner decided to return via Carterway Heads and the rest of us opted for the hairpins of Muggleswick. The views towards Northumberland were stunning with ait quality extremely good, and we eventually passed Rowley again. Having safely crossed the A68, we then split with some opting for Newbiggin Land (our outward route) and most of us taking Longedge Lane into Lanchester.

It was a super day’s cycling and great fun – I had over 2000 metres climbing when I got back. Well done to new rider Mark Robinson who managed to pace himself around very neatly. This was identical to the Reliability trials we used to have in late March and everyone successfully passed the test.