As part of the latest diet and fitness regime, I got the bike out and headed for Archers Ice Cream Parlour (pictured left) this morning.
The farm is on one of the Council's suggested cycle routes. From Haughton, most of the trip is off-road, using purpose-built cycle paths - in turn the Skerne Valley Path, North Park, Faverdale Black Path and the old Barnard Castle railway line past Branksome (top).
The weather was atrocious, with driving rain thudding into my waterproofs, bringing back long-repressed memories of school rugby on an exposed hill-top in Failand. Still the coffee was good when I got there, when I was joined by Sandy and AJ (middle, scoffing carrot cake).
The cycle paths were in great nick and well-signposted. I'm particularly pleased with the new route along the old Barnard Castle line, which is wide and well-lit. The only tricky elements for relatively inexperienced cyclists (like me) are the places where the route crosses North Road near Zetland Street and then Whessoe Road at Elmtree Street. At both locations we should have purpose-built cyclist and pedestrian light-controlled crossings in the next 9 months.