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.