Bicycles Over the Pass of Jesmond

As we sat ruminating at Techmediate Internology headquarters, watching a black and white telly with the sound turned down, the problem of fundraising vexed our collective mind. Something that would not look like a nice holiday in the mountains of Africa. Something a bit more relevant, closer to home and less reliant on funding and equipment. And more importantly, a bicycle expedition that could be completed in a single day, with no need to carry lights. "I've got it!" said Captain G. "A winter crossing of the Pass of Jesmond!" "Audacious!" "Unfeasible!" "Too much!" chorused the team. But the gauntlet had been thrown down. It would require considerable planning and dedication, but we thought that we'd be ready to start by the following day.

Newcastle siteAt the Osbourne basecamp gloomy clouds piled in, threatening snowdrifts. The weather had been bad for several days and it was clear that we were taking a gamble, nevertheless with today's modern equipment and clothing, one is more resilient than the adventurers of days gone by. Our rusty, er... trusty bicycles started off where the Land-Rover could go no further, and with trepidation, we entered the eerie damp woodland of the dene. Almost straight away, outright disaster. Equipment failure. Michael's tracksuit was catching on the cotter pin of his crank and he had to tuck it into his sock. Phew! A narrow escape that luckily happened in a relatively safe location. After steadying our hearts, we pushed further into the dripping trees, ever careful to avoid skidding from the indistinct path into the void of the dene.

After what seemed like a mile, we encountered signs of an ancient civilisation and stopped to explore. Traversing a dangerous precipice, the adrenaline was making us light-headed and we could not stop ourselves from larking about. It was time to leave the dark satanic mill and push through to brighter places beyond. Many minutes of slippery wandering later, the path began to level and widen and soon the joyful sound of wildlife filled our ears. We had made it! A beautiful lake came into view, with birds of myriad sizes and colouring. Our marvellous Moultons had carried us through the desolate snowbound wilderness of the Jesmond Pass. Soon we came upon a primitive hut near a Fisherman's Lodge where the villagers gave us delicious teas and coffees for buttons. How welcoming was this hospitality!

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Sustained by the hot coffee, the final leg of the journey seemed as if our bikes were pushed onward by an unseen hand. They glided down the hills of Jesmond Vale, up the Goldspink Lane and back to the ancient cobbled streets of town. The rigours of the trip had taken their toll, but we were contented. That is, until it dawned upon us that we should have got sponsors and in fact had raised no money whatsoever