Ingram valley

I know this is my cycling blog but as it’s the middle of winter and I’m going for lots of walks i thought i would share some walks with you .
Today I set off to Ingram valley in Northumberland.
The weather was cold , very windy , and occasional showers. The first part of the day was spent walking to Linhope spout , a waterfall which due to the fact we’ve had lots of rain lately was in full flow.


The walk was only 3 miles round trip so I then headed to one of my favourite parts of the valley , Brough Law where I walked up to the old fort settlement , the wind was really strong , there was no one around , I found a sheltered place amongst the ruins , had a cup of coffee and took the following pics , after 1 hr sitting sheltered watching the changing weather , the amazing views , I headed back down .
Another great day out walking in beautiful Northumberland .
Tomorrow I’m planning on doing a coastal walk .






Merry Christmas

Not so much Geordieonabike, but a Geordie goes for a hike !

Lately I’ve done lots of hiking and thoroughly enjoyed myself. The day after Xmas ( Boxing Day in the UK) I headed off early to the cheviot hills in Northumberland and spent the day walking up Simonside and along the forest trails with my springer spaniel Mitch . It was a fantastic day , because of my early start we walked for 3.5 hrs without seeing another person only the beautiful scenery and changing weather conditions .
Thought I would share these photos with you.
Merry Christmas to everyone .
Alex X








Evaluation – Final Blog

2,128 miles (3,425 km) Thats the distance ive cycled from 30th May-18th July on my cycling trip around the Netherlands and Germany.
I’ve met some amazing people , who I will never forget, had kindness bestowed on me on a number of occasions, events have taken me to wonderful places where I did not plan on going.
I’ve cried tears, tears of laughter, tears of pain and heartache, tears of satisfaction. Never in my lifetime did I expect that a cycle trip would leave me feeling as emotionally drained as I’ve been these past few days.

It all started on May 30th when I boarded the ferry from North shields near Newcastle upon Tyne to Ijmuiden.I took it nice and steady for the first few days , averaging 40 -65 km per day. The weather was good, I crossed the amazing Afsluitdijk (sea Road) which goes 30 km across from Den Oever to near Harlingen.
It was at Harlingen that I met Tony and Toos two Dutch cyclists who were camped near to me. We started talking and little did I realise then the amazing part they would play in this adventure.
About a week later I was a guest at Tonys In Vorden and such a wonderful person she is, one of my road angels.
Not long after I was a guest of Astrid a caring person who showed me around Utrecht and tried to help me find sleeping accommodation on two other occasions.
Then In Rotterdam, I spent an evening with Robert and Emmy two cyclists of great experience and the very different recumbent bikes that they ride.
Robert and Emmy really made me feel welcome,allowing me to try their bikes, as we cycled around the lake in Rotterdam, Robert also displaying his amazing talent for playing the didgeridoo.
The following evening I was a guest in Den Haag of Friedel and Andrew who have cycled around the world and now have a wonderful baby son who I have no doubt will be an adventurer like his parents! (don’t forget “Moon river” Friedel)
Off I set towards Arnhem and the fantastic small campsite on the outskirts of the city which was one of the best sites I stayed at on my entire trip , Frank the owners son is a great looking lad and if he came to Newcastle would have the ladies falling over themselves to meet him ( They are waiting Frank !)
Then I met Anton and Jenny.

These wonderful two people who I cycled with for 5/6 days saying goodbye on three separate occasions but like a magnet I was drawn back to them later in the day. They were special people for me, and a joy to spend time with.
Soon after we teamed up with Henk and Lotty who made me laugh on several occasions, I really enjoyed our end of the day beer and snacks.
With a touch of sadness, but excitement I left the R1 cycle route along with Anton ,Jenny, Henk and Lotty and again on my own headed up the river Saale.
How could I leave out Wolfgang and Silke who adopted me for the night when the campsite was closed and I was struggling to find somewhere to stay, They allowed a total stranger into their home , fed me, gave me a room , beer, and the warmth of their kindness will stay with me forever.

The highlight of the trip for me and the most emotional day was the day I reached the very source of the river Saale high in the wooded hills above the small town of Zell in Germany .

I spent half an hour alone in the forest with a small spring trickling out of a hole in the ground which then begins its journey for hundreds of miles downstream, the feeling was truly amazing. Only the day previous I had some personal news which really upset me,so with a sense of satisfaction, a sense of great achievement , a sense of sadness along with a multitude of other emotions I sat and had myself a few tears, alone in the forest.

From the river Saale it was onto the river Main for another 8 days of adventure. the two events which will stay with me are the night I wild camped on the riverbank, woke early, packed up, then spent 30 mins sheltering under a tree while the mother of all storms was going on all around me. Lightning, thunder, torrential rain, one flash of lightning directly above me and hitting a tree very close, causing me to dive to the ground and say “f Me” with fright.
The other event which will always be with me is the crazy and wonderful people of the campsite at Zellingen.
Ralph , Nico , two great German motorcyclists I met, Frank and the Sauna he built, the wonderful Nina, Footsy, and all of the great folk of the site who allowed me to spend three days with them , including a Birthday party, BBQ, which went on till 5am ! and the day at the swimming pool. The rest allowed me to recharge my body, mind and spirit and cycle on.

From the river Main where it flows into the Rhine I cycled on Following the Rhine to Dusseldorf and the day I put my biggest effort in to cycle 207 Km (128 miles)including part of it in the middle of the night! to towards Venlo on the Dutch German Border. Then another amazing event happened , I had not blogged for a few days and my phone went with an email from Tony to see if I was ok, I explained where I was and minutes later I had an email from Toos the charming friend of Tony who only lived a few Kms away in the town of Horst. I was offered a bed for two nights , shown fantastic hospitality and genuine friendship from a very caring special lady.
Onwards I went towards Amsterdam in some shocking weather and spent my last night in a warm dry Stay Ok Hostel before heading to the ferry and the overnight crossing back home.

To me its pretty obvious that this trip has been made special by the warmth, kindness, and fantastic personalities of the people I have been Lucky enough to meet while on this crazy wonderful adventure.People who I will keep in contact with, people whom I shall never forget, people who restore your faith in a world full seeemigly, of bad news, but scratch below the surface and you will find the true diamonds of this world.

Regarding equipment everything worked fantastic, I would make some changes but not many. I’ve experienced some brilliant sunshine, some nice weather and some shocking weather but it all added to this crazy adventure. I’ve had hedgehogs in my tent, being surrounded by rats, nearly had three bad accidents , had an old lady try to push me off my bike because I rang my bell to tell her I was approaching, and she took offence at this and tried to push me off!!
I’ve had two months of my life experiencing every emotion possible and have made it to the end.
Today Ive had “George” out for a spin upto Rothbury in Northumberland, a trip of 80 km and it felt great to spin the pedals again, get my legs working in the glorious sunshine. It did feel strange riding the bike without it being fully loaded and looking like a Christmas tree with everything hanging off it.!, also I am determined to stay fit, and improve my lifestyle.

Finally, I want to thank a very special person for setting me free to follow this dream. A person I shall love for the rest of my life, a person who I have nothing but respect for, and wish her every happiness, because she truly deserves it.

I’ve now come to the end of this blog and my future life and plans? I know how I would like it to turn out, but if it does !!
Thank You and Goodbye.

Alex Morrison.


After 3,425 km (2,128 Miles) I’m back at my parents house in Cramlington.

Ive felt great all week ,but now I’m back all of a sudden I feel drained. I got back to my parents house at 11am ,and it was SO GOOD to see them and my dog Mitch.

ImageThis afternoon, I have downloaded all 787 photos from my iPhone to my laptop, and tonight I’m going through them with my elderly dad who has not had the chance to see any of my trip blog. I have very mixed emotions about being back at my parents and it will take a few days no doubt to get to grips again with the reality of everyday life.

I  will do an evaluation blog, by The weekend, I plan to start work again next week, but for now I need some adjustment time.

There are a lot of Thank You’s to be said, some special memories to recollect, and share, then thats my blogging over. I have a life to rebuild.!

Easy day!!

After saying yesterday that I would have an easy day, how wrong I was.
My plan started well. After spending the night camping next to a young family from Durham , I had a nice breakfast of crossiants x2 with jam and made two big mugs of coffee. I left at my latest start for a nice ride to Amsterdam.
The weather was cloudy but warm, that soon changed. The heavens opened and it’s rained very hard all day , that along with a strong headwind was not what I wanted .
I got to Amsterdam and decided that it was not fun to look around in the torrential rain so took one picture then left.

I was going to camp north of Amsterdam but got lost in the rain , saw a sign for Haarlem which I knew was near Ijmuiden for the ferry tomorrow so headed for it.
After stopping under a bridge to strip down to my pants and put some dry clothes on

I cycled on in the torrential rain

There was NO WAY I was camping tonight that I was certian of. Then on one of the direction notice boards I saw a Stay ok hostel marked in Haarlem so as a member of the youth hostel I used my card to get my own room for €23 .
All day I’ve cycled in this .

When I was checking in their were puddles on the floor around me from all the rain dripping off me !
I’m now showered , dry, warm and on my 4th coffee .
It certainly was not the day I planned but like most of this adventure it’s worked out just fine.
Ferry tomorrow .
I’ve made the decision to honour commitments I have made back home as my first priority , then Its one of two directions my life will go in . I’m not sure which one yet , Time will tell.


After staying with the wonderful Toos and her fantastic kindness in Horst I set off accompanied by Toos for 28 km , 5 km in the wrong direction because we were talking and I missed the sign!
Thank you Toos for your friendship.
Not long after setting off I was in America !
The weather was not good , strong headwind along with frequent showers and when they arrived they were very heavy.
I cycled best part of the day as the ferry is now booked and I have to be in Amsterdam on Tue morn.
I camped at Kasteren, but the tent site was waterlogged so not very nice!
In the morning I quickly packed up and for the first time put the tent away soaking wet.
All day I’ve followed the LF7b (north) towards Utrecht , but passing some wonderful scenery. As today is Sunday everywhere is closed , but I stopped for a wonderful lunch at Hei -en Boeicop 20120715-200349.jpg
All day as I’ve cycled I’ve been starting to reflect on the last 8 weeks . From leaving home to date , I have had some amazing times, some crazy events have unfolded which you could never of planned , met some fantastic people along the way ,seen some amazing sights , had some very high points ,and some very low moments as well . I want to do an evaluation blog of the trip once I’m back home staying with my parents until I decide my future.
Having being through Utrecht twice I decided to bypass the city centre and follow the signs to the west for the outskirts of the city, this proved a good move as it was very quiet and easy to follow . I’ve passed some spectacular houses on the river side at Breukelen so very pretty , so very expensive !

I had a feeling the choice of two campsites in the area would be expensive and so it proved. I’ve reluctantly paid €16 for a bit of grass and a hot shower, whereas most of the other sites I’ve stayed on have been anything from € 5 for one of the best at Armhem to the average of € 10 . The site is very very nice at Mijnden on the lake shore but it caters more for caravans , passing boats and motor homes than cyclists! It even has a supermarket not a little shop!.
I’m only 40 km from Amsterdam so an easy morning is planned with fresh croissants and jam , fresh coffee then a steady ride to a campsite near Amsterdam for my last night before the ferry on Tuesday at 5pm from Ijmuiden back to Newcastle on Wed morn!!
It’s nearly over !


(Left,Right,Straight Ahead).

My last blog finished with me wild camping on the banks of the river Main at Great Wallstadt, so that is where I will begin this long blog!.
After a good nights sleep on the riverbank, I set off following the river towards Hanau.

I then passed Offenbach closely followed by Frankfurt.
You can tell the German economy is strong from the amount of new building work going on and this very impressive new 125m tall building under construction.

I originally thought I would arrive in Frankfurt at 3pm ,but as the trip has progressed so has the my strength in my legs so Frankfurt was reached at 11.30 am. I had made a request to a Warmshower host but sadly they were working and unable to offer any accommodation. Now when your cycling alone and your bike is your only mode of transport you take extra care of it, and I decided against heading into the city centre to start looking for alternative accommodation with a safe place to leave “George”.
As time was on my side, I decided to press and leave the city behind me.

Later in the afternoon I came to the junction where the river Main Flows into the Rhine and the with another great sense of achievement I took a picture of the sign which shows Bamburg as 389km adding to that another 160 to Bad Berneck from where my journey down the River Main began making a total of 549 km.

So another tick in the box for one of my planned routes .
My campsite for the night was at Mainz
Another very good site for €8 all in. On the site I met some nice people including Adam from Jersery who was himself taking time out to cycle Europe but covering a lot more countries than me.
I Also met Peter from Denmark who was pitched next to me and having a 3 week tour , having previously completed the entire North Sea coast route.

After a few beers I went just outside the camp gates sat on a bench with my last bottle of beer for the night and took this very nice sunset .

At this point my original plan was to head towards Metz in France then down to Montpellier , but as ive always stated from the outset, when I felt the time was right to start heading home then I would, and watching the sunset over Mainz the decision was made to head up the Rhine as far as Dusseldorf then cut across towards the south of Holland then back through Holland to Amsterdam for the ferry to Newcastle.
The Rhine was not part of my plan but it made sense to me to follow it for a few hundred Km’s. Still I had not booked the ferry for the return, so decided to press on to see how long it would take me to reach Dusseldorf.
My daily target was approx 100km , and even though i was heading into a headwind i felt amazingly strong. To me the key factor is that im taking time to stop for a good lunch at a cafe or pub/ restaurant along with eating snacks on a more regular basis, basically every hour- two hours. I was going along a good speed of approx 20 -22 km ‘s so Bonn and Koln were reached very quickly. Being honest in my opinion the Rhine is not as nice to cycle as the Main or my favourite so far the River Saale. Its nice but maybe I was spoilt on the previous two rivers!


After 7 weeks cycling so far ive been very lucky and never once felt in danger, and my personal choice not wear my helmet , its being strapped to the bike since arriving in Holland, was nearly a bad move 3 times in one day. I know today is Friday the 13th, but my bad day was Thursday the 12th.
the weather has been very nice for a good five days , but then the rainstorms have appeared again, and event no1 happened near Bonn as I was approaching a couple who had stopped under bridge to shelter from the rain. The lady decided to set of trying to take her jacket off at the same time as cycling and swerved straight across my path forcing me swerve quickly, go onto the road and if a car or something bigger was approaching !!!
She apologised for it but it was a close call.
No2 happend at Koln when a pedestrian, who I had rang my bell for, to warm them I was behind decided to cut across my path , I locked up my brakes and hit her but not at the speed I was travelling a few seconds ago. She knew it was her fault and in good English said “she was sorry and was I alright”!
No3 came soon after and was potentially the worse of all. While going towards the very busy outskirts of Koln down a one way street I was “doored”.
Thats where someone without looking opens the car door ,without looking in the mirror to see if anyone was approaching from behind, I was and as Ive read about the nasty consequences of being “doored” I had left just enough space to at the very last second swerve,sharply left and miss the door but causing the car behind me lock up and also swerve to miss me and her now fully open car door! if the traffic had being coming from the other direction I have no doubt I would not be typing this now!
I gave her a lot of verbal abuse, which Im not proud of but it was in the heat of the moment and after two previous close calls in a few hours I had had enough. She did not understand my choice words but I am pretty certain she got the message!
Now to clear it up, I was not going to fast even though I was pressing on but if I had not being concentrating at the time then all three incidents could have been a lot worse.
The River Mossel also joins the Rhine and one day that is a route i would like to cycle as ive heard some very good reports about it.

My distances the last few days have been 112km ,134km 143 km, and not once at the end of the day have I felt tired only stopping for campsites, and the sun starting to set.
Once I reached Dusseldorf at approximately 7 pm , and now having the “Im ready for home feeling”. I stopped to use my iPhone to go online and book my ticket from Amsterdam to Newcastle for next Tue- 17th July. Again the iPhone has proved fantastic, allowing me to take some great pictures, do my blog, emails and use the sat nav (google maps) when needed.
So with ferry booked and a nice warm temprature of 20′ I made the decison to see how close to Holland I could get before dark. Setting the maps for the shortest route from Dusseldorf to Venlo in Holland I cycled on and stopped for a very nice Takeaway pizza and 1.5 litre bottle of coke at 8.30 pm. Quickly consumed and feeling great on I went and then my phone went to say an email had arrived. It was from Tony the lovely lady I met and stayed with in Vorden. she has been following the blog and as I had not blogged for 4 days she sent me an email to see if I was ok. I told her I was heading up the Rhine and now towards Venlo. A few minutes later I had a second email from Toos , Tony’s Best friend who She cycles with and we met up all those weeks ago in Harlingen . Amazingly she said she only lives 20km from Venlo on the German- Dutch Border and I was welcome to stay with her if I wished.
I had just enough battery power left to send her a quick email reply to say I would see her in the morning as the time was now approaching midnight.
Having made the decision to cycle on in the dark, using my fantastic Petzl headtorch to light the way I arrived at the town of Horst at 12.30 and headed to the town centre as it was now raining very hard. I made the decision to stay in a bus shelter till the early hours of the morning and sat and watched the world go by slowly in the night!
At 5 am a guy came out of his house across the street and asked if I was ok, I explained I was going to a friends at 8.30am but was not exactly sure of where it was. He vanished appearing quickly after with a detailed street map showing me exactly where Toos’ house was! this at 5am !!! again the kindness of strangers amazes me.
So at 8.30 am and after cycling a total distance the previous night of 207 km (129 miles)

I arrived at Toos’ house. Feeling pretty good for having approx 1 hrs sleep!
During the night I added additional layers of clothes to keep me warm and dry from the unrelenting rain, thank goodness for the glass wrap around bus shelter! then called at a local garage at 6 am once open to consume two cups of coffee, and then the bakers for warm croissants before meeting Toos.
we’ve had a second breakfast, Ive had a very nice warm shower, 3 hrs sleep and now while Toos does her job in the Tourist information office Im telling you about my last few days of craziness!
Im staying here until tomorrow morning then starting the ride towards Amsterdam, looking for somewhere to say two nights then the ferry from Ijmuiden back to Newcastle arriving on Wed 18th July.
You will have to put up with a few more blogs as I feel I still have more to add to this crazy adventure , then its decide my future time!.
Thanks for your patience reading this blog . I know its long but so has this adventure, now having covered 3112 km so far ! Just under 2000 miles.