Route: MOD Otterburn and Upper Coquetdale loop
Date of Ride: 27 October, 2019

Today 10 club members with a range of ages on a variety of bikes rode the amazing MOD Otterburn and Upper Coquetdale loop in the Cheviot Hills close to the Scottish Border.

Beginning / ending in quaint Elsdon,  our loop was 70 km / 43.75 miles ascending a total of 1,544 m / 5,065 ft and the highest point was 509 m / 1,670 ft ASL. The sky was almost fully clear of clouds, the air was crystal clear and the scenery was magnificent. The fabulous views we enjoyed competed for our attention with enormous vistas which were continuous and oft times endless.

Throughout the ride there was a strong westerly wind which was draining and altogether we saw no more than 24 cars. MOD = Ministry of Defence : Otterburn Ranges roads were open to the public this w/e. The whole area is in lovely Northumberland National Park and is where soldiers from all over Europe are trained – long may that continue.

We cycled all the outbound half of the loop on Dere Street, a 2000 year old Roman Road now a wonderfully smooth tarmac road, passing the sites of several Roman Forts; the imprint of Chew Green fort can be clearly seen in one pic. Sadly the county highways were generally in poor condition. We pre booked soup & sarnies in Clennel Hall and received excellent service. Note the first pic is a lived in fortified bastle house in the village of Elsdon – best you look up what a bastle is, I’ve written enough already.