May 11 will see the inauguration of three new Wooler Wheel cycle rides – WW160, WW100S and WW80. The WW160 is an extended version of the original Wooler Wheel 100 cycle challenge which was first held on 6 October 2012 (now designated WW100N to distinguish it from the more southerly WW100S).
WW160 is 163.2km (101.4miles) long with an estimated total ascent of around 2400m (7800feet) – equivalent to climbing three Cheviots stacked on top of each other. WW100S and WW80 are shortened versions of WW160. WW100S is 103.7km (64.4miles) long with an estimated total ascent of around 1600m (5300feet), and, WW80 is 77.7km (48.2miles) long with an estimated total ascent of around 1200m (3900feet).
All the routes go through the beautiful Coquetdale area lying to the south of Wooler and Glendale and they open up new upland vistas of the Simonside Hills and the Border Ridge.
From Wooler, WW160 follows the WW100N route to East Lilburn near the southern tip of WW100N. It then trends south westerly, crossing the A697 to Roddam and goes on to follow the boundary of the National Park into the majestic landscape of the Breamish Valley, rich with prehistoric earthworks, to Ingram.
After crossing the river at Brandon via a hair-raising footbridge, the route follows a big loop in Coquetdale via Alnham and enters the National Park at Alwinton. Then it’s on to Harbottle, Thropton, Whittingham and Eglingham to rejoin the route of the WW100N near Old Bewick.
The changing views of the Simonside Hills as the route traverses Coquetdale are magnificent, but save your awe for the northern outlook from Cartington Hill towards Hedgehope, Cheviot and the border ridge – a view on a par with those from the top of Lyham Bank.
The Coquetdale extension is hard in its own right with three severe uphill sections including the long steep climb up Cartington Hill. Then you will still be faced with the treats of the WW100-north: Lyham Bank, Thornington Bank and the climb up to Flodden Edge. You will appreciate the ice-creams at Doddington Dairy even more.
WW100S follows the route of WW160 all the way round to West Lyham, just north of Chatton. It then heads west along the B6349 (while the WW160 turns east to take on the challenge of Lyham Bank), and, at Fowberry, it takes a scenic loop north through West Horton to Weetwood Bridge and then on to Wooler.
WW80 follows WW100S until, just north of Alnham, it cuts off through the pretty hamlet of Little Ryle and goes on to reach Callaly via Yetlington (after a short steep climb) where it rejoins WW100S. It then follows WW100S all the way back to Wooler.
With these new routes, the Wooler Wheel portfolio will cover a good range of distances – 50, 80, 100, 160 km – and it will allow participants of differing abilities to enjoy a wide range of landscapes of North Northumberland, which, contrary to some “official” opinions, does NOT just consist of Bamburgh, Holy Island and Alnwick Garden.
When you ride these routes, you’ll be experiencing the true Northumberland – enter today.