A piece on a short solo bike trip I took last August has just been published in Top Trails magazine. It's a new route in the Northumberland National Park called the Sandstone Way and you can read it for free here.
A few days of big skies, wide open horizons and sunshine strangely contrasted with a feeling of enclosed land and restricted access that is rare to encounter in Scotland. The trip was a real reminder of the right to roam that I've come to take completely for granted north of the border. I wonder that anyone in England and Wales puts up with all those fences, padlocks and barbed wire... not to mention the Keeper's Gibbets, agricultural runoff and plastic bags. It made me very aware and grateful for outdoor space which isn't every inch squared off for human consumption.
There's still a great deal to be said for the route, all the more because it opens up so much historic country and because, not in spite of, that dissonance in the mix. Don't take it for granted - we need to keep pedaling through.
Here's a few photos that didn't make the final article.