Different bikes over different ‘tracks’; sixty miles covered accompanied by echoes of musical ‘tracks’, and with no mishaps, no ‘tears,. As you can see the classic track riff continued until the end. The Smokey Robinson song “Tracks of my tears” was my final flashback on that day of the brake block – Hardrock run. Back home it was straight into the vinyl collection. I carefully pulled out Wonderland by Nils Lofgren from 1983, Motown Three with Smokey from 1969, Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks from 1974 and Bridge over Troubled waters by Simon and Garfunkel from 1970. With the albums all lined up ready to play, my life clock was poised to rewind for a while. If only things were that simple. Sadly, the old Technic SL22 deck from the same era failed to oblige, spinning Nils round at a lumbering 30rpm! Not to be thwarted I took off to Richer Sounds in Edinburgh where I was advised to update my ‘separates’ system with a Project Essential deck. And a fine piece of kit it has proved to be so here I am on March 21st wrapping up this piece with Smokey helping me along in the background; even the old vinyl crackle sounds ok at the right speed.
With the old system now alive and kicking what else is there to say about those three bike runs? Well the old railway line I crossed with Nils ringing in my ears had been constructed by the North Eastern railway Company and ran from Cornhill to Alnwick. In its heyday from 1914 to 1930 the passenger train ran up and down the line four times a day. This service ended in 1930 though freight continued to be carried until the lines eventual closure in 1965. All that can be seen now is the hedge lined track bed and old station houses and buildings at Mindrum, Kirknewton, Akeld and the ones I passed by at Yeavering. (1) Of course distinct though it still is, the track is just one of the archeological remnants which shape this locality. Yeavering Bell, the Hill of Goats, which overlooks the Glen, station and railway was the site of of an Iron Age fort and settlement. First investigated in 1862, recent survey work and excavations have revealed some of its structures and pathways between the two hilltops. Aerial photography has also revealed the sunken tracks traversing the site of the later Anglo Saxon settlement down in the valley known as Gefrin. My cycle run along the B6351 to Yeavering passes by Gefrin on the left with the twin peaked Hill of Goats overlooking it to the right.
Vinyl tracks, railway tracks, long lost tracks; my getting back on track with my cycles had resulted in each of their exploration. While writing the above I played an all time favourite album, ‘All things must Pass’ by George George Harrison. It provided a final reflective coda:
“Sunrise doesn’t last all morning
A cloud burst doesn’t last all day……
All things must pass
All things must pass away.”
The week I played it, George Martin, the ‘fifth Beatle’ died. This prompted one last delve into the box of albums or should I say ‘records’ for that is what we called them back in 1964. This was the year I acquired my first ‘LP’, Beatles for Sale. All things must pass for sure but happily somethings pass more slowly than others: Beatles tracks will always leave a trace.
1. Caplan. N. 1981. Border Country, Branch line album.