Naturally, there will be a number of morals to this sorry tale, so let’s start one. How about ‘Never place too much trust in the views of people who are obviously pissed’.
The only disappointment on Thursday was, while enjoying a quick pint, having a chat about where to eat, and being assured by a steaming local that there was only one curry house worth going to in the whole of the lakes, and that it was just round the corner. ‘Just tell ’em mad Tony sent you’, he reassured us, while falling off his chair, managing to spill not a drop from a full pint. Naturally, a disappointing meal ensued, with us as the only diners, and the shut sign being put up before we’d even started eating.
Last night, our new BFF was a veteran of many C2C rides, and made it clear that there was only one way we should take out of Rookhope. ‘Don’t go to Stanhope – too many hills’ he said, ‘go up the old track then drop down to Parkhead – much easier’. And we, like the gullible fools that we are, believed him and duly went up the track, pushing our bikes until the track levelled out. Which it didn’t. We pushed upwards for about 3 miles into the most desolate moor you can imagine, then had to try to descend on a track made out of flint, rubble and anything other sharp substance you can name, to make the journey harder. Mrs Emu, by this stage had not only put on the Horcrux, but had had a couple of diamante Horcrux T-shirts knocked up, and was contemplating a Horcrux tattoo.
Got to the top of the climb, and found ourselves at Parkhead, where a cafe offers windswept and frustrated cyclists a chance to stop before the next chance to be thrown against the side of an unsuspecting sheep while trying to avoid a scree slope. This was naturally an excellent spot for a puncture, although to Mrs Emu’s credit, she didn’t mention luxury Paris hotels at all at this stage.
After another couple of miles, we saw some tarmac in the distance, and headed for Consett, where there is a splendid bike shop selling inner tubes, albeit placed on top of the most stupid hill imaginable.
And so onward east, and to Newcastle, which, after all the challenge of the last couple of days, was simply a straight and fairly downhill slope for about 15 miles, across viaducts and forests, and generally making us feel very happy. Rather unfortunately, the end of the route was at Tynemouth, which I’d previously thought was next door, but in fact is another 10 miles east. So on we pedalled, through Byker, Wallsend, looking over to Jarrow and finally to the end…which was marked by a small post, which we initially cycled right past.
Back another mile for tea, fish, chips, peas and bread at ‘the best fish + chip shop in the North East’. Which I’ll remember most for its astonishingly slippery floors, which had been coated with an ice-like veneer of chip fat. Mrs E visited the toilets and pronounced them as smelling of ‘old ladies and chips’, which I’m sure was very accurate.
And into Newcastle, where we met Emily, Tom, Graham, Nathan and Polly, drank more than was strictly healthy and looked on in wonder at the goings on in central Newcastle on a Saturday night. Which brings us to the second moral of the day. Once you reach a certain age, you should do everything you possibly can to avoid being ‘on the market’.
We both woke up immensely relieved not to be lying next to someone with orange skin, and pushed the bikes to the station.
Homeward bound now, and only planning to ride the bikes from the station to home.
Which would seem a good place to end. Thanks for reading, and take it as read that this is a fantastic way to see some fabulous countryside and meet some great people. Just don’t do as we did, and forget the Assos cream.