Today was the first mild day of 2015 in County Durham; an opportunity to commute to my placement church in Sedgefield and then meander home after the service. The benefit of a bit of blue sky and a touch of warmth to the air was that my mind wasn't occupied with looking for black-ice. I had time to peer over the hedgerows and contemplate the world.
I headed north through Fishburn, Trimdon and Trimdon Grange before joining the B1278. The road was undulating sufficiently to make my thighs warm and my breathing heavy, but as I crested each hill I coasted down the other side for leisure instead of a workout. As I approached Wheatley Hill I chose to wiggle my way through the town rather than suffer the A181.
It was interesting to see remnants of ice and snow on the pavement in Thornley, clearly the recent snow flurries had been heavier here than in Durham itself - but bigger towns are often warmer anyway.
Just outside Thornley I was back onto the A181 for a very short section and waved to a gentleman cycling the other way, before I turned right at the first opportunity and was on my way to Shadforth. At one moment the view to my left opened out into a panorama of Durham and the surrounding hills with a clear view of the Cathedral standing above the city. I only had a phone camera unfortunately.
The road dropped with a steep descent to Sherburn Beck and then followed the Beck upstream to Shadforth and the climb past St Cuthbert's church to Sherburn Hill which had loomed dramatically above me.
Finally I followed the B1283 back towards Durham along the enjoyably wide and steady descent to Sherburn Village and beyond. The road itself is a bit rough and drains momentum, but eventually I crossed the A1 again and came back into Durham through Gilesgate Moor overtaking the inevitable line of stationary traffic.
I am enjoying working with the community at St-Edmund's Church in Sedgefield, and having the opportunity for a meander home afterwards was the icing on the cake. What a glorious day.