Lambley Viaduct lies on the South Tyne Trail, a splendid converted railway line, with gentle gradient and mostly good surfaces. It provides an excellent facility for walkers and cyclists, except in the region of the viaduct, where a property owner, whom Caroline dubbed The Selfish Gardener, prohibits cyclists from using a short section of the trail. Hence a big climb to the fell above. The compensation is a great view of the viaduct which walkers will not see, and for us, a sighting of a pair of curlews.
A very soggy day at times. Just after Once Brewed, we were caught by a thunderous downpour with lip-smacking rain pellets, and flash floods. As we emerged, sodden, we followed a sign to Hardriding.
The offroad trails around Wark and Kielder forests were leg-sapping and deserted. Northumberland’s epic emptiness has been its striking feature. I’m reminded of my Brummie grandmother who, on being taken for a holiday in the Highlands of Scotland, was unimpressed. “Just a whole lot of nothing” was her verdict. I think that’s rather the point.