You’ll be glad to have some kind of angel watching over you in the Wiggle Northern Angel sportive, such is the nature of the remote, sprawling Northumberland National Park roads, twinned with a host of steep and testing climbs. The route doesn’t forget civilisation altogether though and the Angel of the North will check in for a glimpse of your progress every now and again, making up one of a number of excellent sights on this route.
Starting out in Kirkley, just outside Newcastle-upon-Tyne, you’ll head north-west as you continue on the path to get as north as north gets. The scenic villages of Walton and Rothley play prelude to your adventure in the Northumberland National Park, where most of the day’s route is based.
Undulating terrain won’t be easy to get used to as you’ll be in and out of your saddle on short and punchy climbs staged on back roads in the Park area. The first challenge of the day could have your legs pleading for mercy on one of the course’s most northern points, as a major climb awaits just after Burradon. Get this out of the way, though, and you’re free of challenging ascents for another 15 miles – the following roads are a formality until you reach Elsdon, a short but steep hill.
Climbing challenges will come and go and soon after Elsdon you’ll reach the highest part of the course in the approach to Bellingham. One more serious climb waits for riders on the way back, around Ridsdale, as you’ll head back towards ride HQ with a big sense of satisfaction from your testing day in the ever-impressive National Park.
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