Cestria CC does Remembrance Sunday (13 Nov. 2016)

img_0803Ian Gardner had planned another thoughtful and engaging Intermediate ride, and this being Remembrance Sunday he thought Sedgefield’s ceremony would make a good focus point. With military precision, two groups had been organised by Ian; one departed from Chester at 0900 and the other waited at Leamside at 0915 on a bright and sunny Sunday. After Leamside, the combined group consisted of about 14 riders, including our two stalwart lady members Joanne and Donna, joined by a prospective member Caroline (and her husband Norman). After climbing up the bank near West Rainton, we headed south through Sherburn and Coxhoe. Ian had planned to take the more direct A177 to Sedgefield, but due to a combination of a good pace and a light tailwind, he decided we should extend the cycle by heading around the back of Fishburn. The pace remained sensible and there were very few stops for stragglers (and a bit of excitement when the group headed to Trimdon village, and then decided it would be too long). Even with the extension to the route, we still arrived in Sedgefield in plenty of time (and had time to call to No. 5 cafe for a takeaway coffee). By 1050 or so, there was a very good crowd assembled at Sedgefield’s War Memorial, and by the time the church service had finished, I estimated about 300 people in total, standing around in a large circle. The ceremony was short and poignant, and after the immortal poetry of Robert Binyon (“They shall grow not old…”) and a very respectful two minutes silence, various local representatives laid poppy wreaths, and it was also lovely to see youth organisations such as the Scouts, Cubs, Guides and Brownies represented.

img_0805The event finished at about 1120, and we then departed the way we had arrived but turned south again onto Butterwick Road and joined the busier A689 heading towards the A19. There is no doubt in my mind that it is always safer on such a road in a large group such as ours; in fact, there was not too much traffic, despite it being a lovely Sunday morning. We took the A689 all the way to Hartlepool where the planned lunch stop was the marina complex. This has changed enormously in the past 15 years or so, and there is a good variety of cafes and bars from which to choose. We decided to try a bar with a sofa in its porch – despite misgivings, I would say that they served the best vegtable broth I have tasted in recent years. They had outdoor tables and we were able to keep a eye on the bikes. Being in Hartlepool, I decided to raise the thorny subject of the monkey (what a great story!) and Ray was worried in case I would get the group chucked out! Curiously, the only animal you could see was a large statue of a stag and monkey lovers were wondering where the cuddly fellow was celebrated (apart from being the mascot of the local football team, of course).

img_0802After lunch/cakes, we headed north on the coast road through Blackhall, Easington Colliery and Easington Lane. It’s a really good route when there is a light NE breeze, because you get shelter from the hills to your left, and from the various structures. This is Billy Elliot country and Easington is a permanent reminder of the coastal pit villages and their tiers of terraced houses. By this stage Stuart Cook had left us to see the BC National Cyclo Cross race at Hetton Lyons, and organised by the impressive Hetton Hawks. The rest of us made for Fencehouses where the CLS and Washington chapters split.

Many thanks to Ian for another super route. Our prospective members thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and it was great for everyone else to chat and cycle together. The pace suited everyone, even the more challenging hills on the coastal road after the cafe.

Peter Scott