Discover Northumberland on new 'Wooler Wheel' sportive

Discover Northumberland on new 'Wooler Wheel' sportive

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Event: 6 October 2012
Location: Wooler, Northumberland
Preview: Beth Mills

Event organiser Beth Mills has been in touch to introduce the new Wooler Wheel sportive, which takes place on 6 October 2012, exploiting the splendid isolation, quiet roads and varied landscapes of Northumberland.

Glendale: 220 square miles of ravishing beauty, with a population of around 5300 - that's one square mile for every 24 residents. Tucked away in the north east corner of Northumberland and butting up against Scotland, it is a forgotten land of contrasts. In the west is the brooding presence of the high peat-clad Cheviots; in the east, the line of Northumberland's' Fell Sandstone ridges; and in the north and centre are rich, rolling agricultural fields bordering the River Tweed and it's tributary the River Till with a scattering of pretty farms and villages. No industry and sparse population equate to very light motor traffic and this, coupled with its scenic landscape and ancient heritage makes Glendale a unique destination for safe, exhilarating and challenging cycling.

In the centre of Glendale stands the attractive market town of Wooler with one foot in the Cheviots and the other on the River Till's floodplain. An ideal hub for cycling ventures in Glendale. Two years ago, recognising the huge potential for cycling in the area, the local development agency, The Glendale Gateway Trust, began a project to establish a set of mapped and way marked circular routes beginning and ending in Wooler. As a result, the Wooler Cycle Hub was launched early in 2011. Guided rides along several of the routes, with stops to explore heritage sites on the way, have taken place and have been so well received that two more will be held in 2012 (on 19 May and 21 July). While feedback on the guided rides was universally positive, some participants expressed a hankering for more challenging rides as well (as if riding up the College Valley to within two miles of the summit of Cheviot wasn't challenging enough!). So The Wooler Wheel was born.

The Wooler Wheel is a challenge event, or sportive, over 100km long , the "100K", with a shorter version just over 50km long, the "50K". It uses many segments of the way marked Wooler Cycle Hub routes but extends over to Carham on the River Tweed, in the far northwest of Glendale. The route takes in the River Till Valley, ascends the steep escarpment of the Fell Sandstone ridge to reveal views of Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle, and then makes its way through picture postcard Ford to the northern outposts of the volcanic Cheviot Hills and the Tweed Valley before returning to Wooler.

As well as being a strenuous test of stamina and strength, the organisers contend that The Wooler Wheel is without doubt one of the most visually stunning ride of its kind in England with superb views of the High Cheviots from many different aspects, views of the beautiful Northumberland coast, and, of the Eildon and Lammermuir Hills in Scotland.

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