Coasts and Castles (South)

There are two routes to the Coast and Castles South route and and so we did both. Going from Newcastle to Edinburgh we did the slightly hillier route but far more scenic route. We spent the first two days on the coast and the last two days we went inland.

The first day we cycled 51 miles from Newcastle the Youth Hostel in Alnwick

The second day was a flat 50 miler from Alnwick to the Youth Hostel in Berwick. As the tides and timings were right we were able to cycle over to The Holy Island of Lindisfarne. There’s a causeways that you can cross at low tide.

The ride from Newcastle to Alnwick went through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it was absolutely outstanding, I did not naïvely realise that we had such amazing coastlines in the British Isles. As the route says it’s Coasts and Castles and so of course there’s an abundance Castles along the way.

The third day was 44 miles, a little bit hillier than the previous two days. We cycled from Berwick and stayed in two different B&Bs in Earlston: Broomfield House and the Harbur Guest House.

Day four was meant to be the hardest, there was a hill to climb. At the top of this hill on a clear day you could see Edinburgh whilst standing on English soil. Before the climb we delayed the inevitable and spent ages in a cosy little coffee shop that was at the foot of the hill. When we eventually got out of the coffee shop and climbed the hill we were actually really surprised that it was nowhere near as hard as we had been made to believe it was. We cycled 44 miles from Earlston to Dalkeith, which is just outside of Edinburgh, but a considerably cheaper place to stay than Edinburgh. In Dalkeith we stayed in two B&Bs. The Glenarch Guesthouse and Rathan House.

The next day was only 12 miles, a short enough distance to be able to get to Edinburgh and have a good amount of time to look around before heading off on the next leg of the tour which was to 34 miles to a hotel in Haddington. I have stayed at worst places but it was one of those places where we were definitely paying too much for what we were getting.

For the second half of the route from Edinburgh back to Newcastle we went along the coastline which was flatter. We again stayed at the youth hostels in Berwick On Tweed and Alnwick.

With this tour we were blessed with amazing weather and the scenery was outstanding. Although most days we covered roughly 50 miles a day it was fairly easy going. The advantage of staying in B&Bs or hostels as opposed to camping is that you can make the most of the day and ride all day and not have to worry about trying to get to your destination before it’s dark so that you can put up your tent.

By Susan Doram

I am passionate about cycling and enjoy encouraging others to ride their bicycles. I am a cycle coach and founder member and chair for Leicester Women's Velo and Founder member and club secretary for Ride on Sistas. I love to encourage others to get active. I am an award wining personal trainer and one of Cycling UK's 100 Women in Cycling 2019. I've been on numerous cycle tours and have encouraged others to join me. Part of my cycle touring experience has included cycling around the world for just over 2 1/2 years.

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