Sunday, 22 December 2013

Winter Solstice Beachride- Holy Island

Some rides start off with the best intentions but the day can rapidly change, then can also work out good for it...
Such was Saturday when i drove down to the Causeway across to Holy Island with Francis, and Mowgli-her fatbike mad Springer Spaniel to meet friend Mike who drove up the evening before and had slept in his van. We arrived just before sunrise around 8.30am...

Dawn of the shortest day...

The 21st- The shortest day, is something i always go for a ride on to celebrate the turn of the dark evenings and that now after today slowly, the daylight hours and late afternoon daylight after i finish work will start to grow longer again.

Some people moan about the short days and early dark evenings of January and February, i find them to be quite the opposite!!!. The evening light draws out quite noticeably by the end on January and i get some daylight time after work before sunset.
And what better place to celebrate the Solstice then the magical place that is Holy Island.
The Solstice would have been a big event in Pagan times, and for the Monks of the Abby over on the island at Lindesfarne they would no doubt bless its passing... prob with some Mead -)

The plan;
The days planned ride was to ride west to the dunes at Goswick, drop onto the beach and then ride all the way to Lindesfarne along the low tide line with the fore casted gale force west to South  westerly  20mph tailwind...
The plan was cut short though... mainly by the weather as the predicted tailwind was in fact side on or nearly head on!. Blasting us with sand as it was blown across the wide exposed beach.
Then the blackening sky dumped a baltic cold downpour on us as we reached the estuary half way across. Only to discover it was too deep to ride through this time, and the wet sand was very soft-possibly quick sand.
Then i had a flat tyre on the front, lol
Cold and now wet we rode/walked in places into the sand storm and cold hail to the tide line.
I swapped out my front tube sheltering from the cold wind beside two WW2 machine gun pill boxes, then we followed the tideline and headed to the cars, having decided not to carry on cycling as there was no point warming ourselves up in wet clothes over on the island in a pub or cafe-then riding back over the causeway into the chilling wind. That was just asking for catching a cold or chill-live to fight another day and all that...
With over 10 miles of cycling it was not a wasted journey.

East Coast Dampness and cold;
I think damp cold is way colder than any dry cold i have experienced. I was out in that dry -22 Celsius December and January wasteland back in 2011/12 and i was nothing like this. Once gloves were wet hands stop functioning right and even changing a tube takes a bit faffing.
All this can be addressed with the right jacket, trousers (my boots were dry) and my BARR MITT podgies, but you all have to be dressed right!, we were all cold or wet somewhere! so called it a day right there near the car park we left from.

Roll the pics...                  

Holy Island, and Lindesfarne;
Across the Causeway to Lindesfarne and into a pub for coffee, then some food, and a walk around the island before we had to leave as the incoming tide lapped at the sides of the causeway...

Coming back up the road there was another bike in the car!, Mike has had a loan of good friend Richie`s Jones steel fat front single speed!, i have this the bike for a week or so to ride and post my thoughts on the `Jones steel is real` riding experience....
Same fork as i already have, look forward to hitting some trails this week on the beastie...

I shot some helmet cam film with the Go Pro camera...
Song is `Warm Room` by Zero 7
click on the cog icon to view in HD


  1. Hi Steve, a great day, but the damp cold after the big down pour was grim!, bad choice of clothing today!, but the day came good after a coffee beside a pub fire -)

  2. Nice film and enjoyed the Zero 7 soundtrack. Its deceptive as it looked a nice day on film, but its like looking at the day through the window.

  3. Hi Robin, yep very decieving watching the film now!.
    100% waterproof over trousers and jacket, a spare buff, and spare ski gloves carried to quickly put on later-change into would have been a wise choice for us all!

  4. Awesome song on the vid! It does look like a nice day on the vid too. Nothing worse than being cold and wet though!

  5. Hi Mike!, aye, we were caught out to be honest!, and it suddenly became a bit grim!, need to meet up with Dave G for a beer soon!