The Great North Road

The Great North Road

London to Edinburgh - 11 Days, 2 Wheels and 1 Ancient Highway

Steve Silk
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The Great North Road is Britain s Route 66 we ve just forgotten how to sing its praises. In 1921, Britain s most illustrious highway, the Great North Road, ceased to exist on paper at least. Stretching from London to Edinburgh, the old road was largely replaced by the A1 as the era of the motor car took hold. A hundred years later, journalist and cyclist Steve Silk embraces the anniversary as the perfect excuse to set off on an adventure across 11 days and 400 miles. Travelling by bike at a stately 14 miles per hour, he heads north, searching out milestones and memories, coaching inns and coffee shops. Seen from a saddle rather than a car seat, the towns and the countryside of England and Scotland reveal traces of Britain s remarkable past and glimpses of its future. Instead of the familiar service stations and tourist hotspots, Steve tracks down the forgotten treasures of this ancient highway between the two capitals. The Great North Road is a journey as satisfying for the armchair traveller as the long-distance cyclist. Enriched with history, humour and insight, it s a tribute to Britain and the endless appeal of the open road.
Steve Silk is a journalist working for BBC Look East in Norwich. His two previous books The Wherryman' s Way and Hidden Riverside Norwich saw him take to a canoe to explore the Norfolk Broads. He' s now more comfortable on an old-fashioned touring bike with a pannier full of obsolete maps and flapjack.