“Do not follow satnav”

In this part of Cumbria you see lots of little roads with warning signs like “Lorries: do not follow satnav”.  Well, I was caught out myself today.  Someone lent me a cycling GPS – you link it up to an app, tell the app where you want to go, and it selects a good biking route.

I told it I’m on a ROAD bike.  Yes, a road bike, not a trail bike or anything like that.  I was cycling to Carlisle, to Tullie House Museum, for the send-off concert that marks the beginning of the Highway Cello trek to Rome.

The thing sent me down a farm track.  I thought it must be just a bit of rough road left like that to discourage traffic.  Until, by the time I’d been through two gates (have you tried to open a gate while holding a fully loaded bike??) I found myself in a field, looking at a 30 degree slope, which I couldn’t possibly cycle up.

After I’d walked the bike for half a mile I did eventually come to another road (through another gate).  There was a red sign on this gate, in capitals, NO PUBLIC ACCESS OR RIGHT OF WAY. 

I’m not trusting that satnav again.  Proper maps from now on.

I did get to Carlisle, not much more than half an hour later than planned.  ITV Border News were there, waiting for me.  Cumbria Life wanted an interview.  I did nearly everything I should have done, before the concert, except have lunch.

I love the look on the audience’s face when they realise my opener is James Bond.  It was a cracking audience, in the beautiful Tullie House Museum – very fittingly in their “Edge of Empire” exhibition for the 1900th anniversary of Hadiran’s Wall!

The Mayor presented me with a very official looking letter of greeting for the Mayor of Rome.  And then the “official” departure from Hadrian’s Wall, pedalling out along the old Roman road, wobbling a bit among the traffic, with my pink cello case sticking out behind.

Will I make it to Rome?  We’ll see. 

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