Northumberland Cycle Round (TBA)

Originally planned for 2015, I am afraid that this one was scuppered as a group holiday. In February 2015 the YHA at Keilder closed, this was to be our strategic start and finish point. It is an absolute shame that somewhere in as magical a location as here could not attract enough “customers” and the decision was taken not to renew the licence with the local council landlord. I feel it is a sad testament to our time … hostels seem to be closing at a faster rate than country pubs!

I am however convinced that something will come of the vacant building in the form of budget accommodation (maybe an independent hostel?), as the economy picks up. For this reason, I am going to leave the route in place hopefully for future use. There is an alternative start and finish point possible just south of Keilder by the way(???).

I have put an incredible amount of work into this and sincerely hope that I will be able to complete it in the future. It seems too good to waste and is available for anyone to make use of … all that is required for full completion of the ‘paperwork’ is accommodation details.

I can not remember working on such a diverse area, it can be sub-divided thus: Forests & Reservoirs / Mountains & Valleys / Castles & Islands / Rivers & Country Estates.

This was the plan! …



NoR - LogoNorthumberland Round 20xx (N 0 R)

Northumberland has to be the last truly wild and unspoilt part of England(?). IFUN - Beer Cyclist have once again drawn on my knowledge of the area to suggest it as this year’s cycling holiday offering. Chris and I produced a big walking show up here some year’s ago … we spent many an hour travelling up and down ‘The Great North Road’ to our base at Alnwick undertaking our reconnoitre duties! I have also enjoyed a couple of family holidays here so I know what beautiful coastal riches it has. My third (and extremely happy) recollection is watching the RAC Lombard Rally in the massive Keilder Forest in pitch blackness … I always promised myself a return.NoR - Overall Map

Logistically it is (comparatively) very simple to arrange … although the cycling is pretty much in line with the other holidays. What I mean is that because it is a circular you can arrange your own transport. Also, the national park is well served with youth hostels … making this a more budget-friendly option. Traditionally I have selected May, but I am aware that we are that much further north and summer will not have fully kicked in (on the C2C we had snow in Swaledale!). Therefore September should be preferable(?) … possibly even August, as there are not the constraints (in this quiet part of the world) as say Devon & Cornwall during school holidays.



I have outlined the following below: Costings / Statistics / Itinerary / Training Routes / see also our “Cycling Holidays” Page, for additional information …Vinnie



(Manchester based): Own Transport (Fuel) = £60.00 per car
Accommodation + All Food (breakfast, packed lunch and evening meal) = approx. £XXX.00pp
Toll Roads (???) = £xx.00
Ferry Crossing =
To try and draw some parallels .. the C2C TOTAL was a bargain £380pp and the B2B was £405pp (we did get an extra day).
I assure you, we didn’t exactly slum it! … ALL our accommodation was first class and our evening meals hearty and of high quality. I did need another 400 quid for beer mind you!!!  


To give you a statistical comparison, we completed …
C2C in 6 days / 168 miles / 15324 feet of climbing (if the extra leg, that Jon and I did, is included then 7 Days / 189 miles / 17071 feet)
B2B in 7 days / 207 miles / 16705 feet of climbing
NoR in 5.5 days / 162 miles / 12650 feet of climbing


Prestwich to St Bees 128 miles

Keswick 27.5 miles / 3010 feet

Patterdale 15.6 miles / 2182 feet

Kirkby Stephen 30.5 miles / 2537 feet 

Richmond 33.7 miles / 3566 feet

Great Broughton 29.8 miles / 877 feet

Whitby 30.3 miles / 3152 feet

Scarborough 21.0 miles / 1747 feet 

Whitby to Prestwich 117 miles



Prestwich to Chepstow 181 miles

Ross on Wye 31.1 miles / 3453 feet

Leominster 29.8 miles / 2142 feet 

Bridges 35.0 miles / 3956 feet 

Ellesmere 31.7 miles / 1444 feet

Llangollen 22.9 miles / 1815 feet

Ruthin 21.1 miles / 2854 feet

Llandudno 35.2 miles / 1041 feet

Llandudno to Prestwich 89 miles



Prestwich to Keilder 157 miles

Kelso 36.5 miles / 3050 feet

Berwick on Tweed 32 miles / 1850 feet 

Holy Island 14.5 miles / 600 feet

Alnwick 38.5 miles / 2250 feet

Byrness 36.5 miles / 3500 feet

Keilder 14 miles / 1400 feet 

Keilder to Prestwich 157 miles

DAILY AVERAGES (Distance & Climbing):

C2C =  28m  + 2554′  / B2B = 29.5m  + 2386′ / NoR = 27m + 2108′


C2C =  91′ per m / B2B = 81′ per m / NoR = 78′ per m 



ARRIVAL DAY: xxxx – Travel by car to start point (155 miles = XXX hours + 30 mins break)NoR - Keider Water

My intention is to get here early enough to explore this magnificent and unique part of the world! I have come up with several options:

  • Cycling (luggage-free) around the mighty Keilder Water (reservoir) … the largest man-made lake in northern Europe!                                                            

OPTIONS – PART OFF-ROADING = 15.25 or 10.5 miles / A&D 1775 or 1220 feet (plus a ferry crossing in the middle!)

  • Various water activities (canoeing / rowing-boating / sailing) –
  • Keilder Observatory – this award-winning site is a 2-mile cycle ride away via Vampire Forest (not sure why it’s called that???) –
  • Birds of Prey Centre / Indoor heated swimming pool

ACCOMMODATION – YHA, Keilder £18 shared / £39 private


DAY ONE: xxxx – Cycle from Keilder to KELSO. Distance 36.5 (36.5) miles / Ascent 3050 feet / Descent 3550 feet / Zenith @ Rushy Rig 1215 feet / Time X hours XX minutes + breaksNoR - Cheviots

This is a challenging opening day, as we skirt around the mighty Cheviots. Deep valleys and remote mountain passes will eventually give way to the gentler terrain of the Border country.

Kelso is

ACCOMMODATION – Kelso £35 shared / £55 private


DAY TWO: xxxx – Cycle from Kelso to BERWICK on TWEED. Distance 32 (58.5) miles / Ascent 1850 feet / Descent 1850 feet /NoR - Castle Zenith @ Wormerlaw 205 feet / Time X hours XX minutes + breaks

A more gentle day in-store, set amidst the Scottish Borders. We follow the course of the mighty River Tweed as it heads east towards the sea. One magnificent stately home after another should  nicely distract our attention and keep us reaching for our cameras (and a rare opportunity to see how the poor people live!).

exploring the dark history and ancient abbey towns

Berwick on Tweed

ACCOMMODATION – Berwick £16 shared / £29 private


DAY THREE: xxxx – Cycle from Berwick on Tweed to HOLY ISLAND. Distance 14.5 (73) miles / Ascent 600 feet / Descent 650 feet / NoR - Holy IslandZenith @ Redshin Cove 105 feet / Time X hours XX minutes + breaks

An extremely relaxed and easy seaside ride to the incredible island of Lindisfarne. We will be dictated by the access to the causeway, but I envisage us getting there as soon as we can and enjoying our time sightseeing or paddling in the sea!

Lindisfarne is

CAUSEWAY SAFE CROSSING: 08:50 to 15:20 (allow 1/2 hour either side)

ACCOMMODATION – Holy Island £100 room


DAY FOUR: xxxx – Cycle from Holy Island to ALNWICK. Distance 38.5 (111.5) miles / Ascent 2250 feet / Descent 2100NoR - Dunstanburgh Castle feet / Zenith @ Longlee 355 feet / Time X hours XX minutes + breaks

CAUSEWAY SAFE CROSSING: 09:15 to 15:55 (allow 1/2 hour either side)

A long day but a coastal hugging treat. This promises to show the very best of the county (and the country) along quiet country lanes and cycleways, interrupted by a host of seaside places and castles.

Alnwick is 

ACCOMMODATION – YHA, Alnwick £20 shared


DAY FIVE: Friday 18th – Cycle from Alnwick to BYRNESS. Distance 36.5 (148) miles / Ascent 3500 feet / Descent 3000 feet / ZenithNoR - Cragside @ Gowk Hill 905 feet / Time X hours XX minutes + breaks

This long challenging day will take us back into the heart of the national park. A blend of vast forests and long riverside roads.

Byrness is a tiny hamlet … this is our relaxing ‘night in’ at our hostel, enjoying a glass or two of celebration sherry and listening to music provided by that world-renowned talent … DJ Fox.



DAY SIX: xxxx – Cycle from Byrness to KEILDER. Distance 14 (162) miles / Ascent 1400 feet / Descent 1500 feet / Zenith NoR - Spooky Forest@ Blakehope Nick 1492 feet / Time X hours XX minutes + breaks

We end our adventure with a slice of mischief! (no looking at the map). We take in one of the highest roads in England, with BREATHTAKING views to match.


Training Sessions: 

I have put together a series of practice routes (see our separate “Cycle Routes” Page). These are intended to replicate distance, climbing and terrain, likely to be encountered. They also serve as a very useful test for your bike and gear, enabling you to iron out any snags ahead of the holiday.

They consist of easy, moderate, strenuous and even hostel stay-overs (to acclimatise you to this very unique wonderful world of budget accommodation) 

FUN - Shopping TrolleyAs you progress through your training regime, you will get a better idea of what kit you will require … so you might want to do some ‘retail therapy'(?). We recommend the following retailers: Chain Reaction (online) / Halfords / Decathlon.  

I realise local to me might not be local to you. We have digital mapping for all of Great Britain, I will have a go at planning a route for you anywhere within, should you require(?).