Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock up at Cragside or buried on the beach at Embleton for the last three years, you can’t help but know about Lance Armstrong’s dramatic fall from grace.

The one-time God of Cycling finally admitted in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that he had cheated his way to all seven of his Tour de France victories. It hit the cycling fraternity particularly hard after two decades of scandal after scandal as one big name after another was caught taking all manner of banned substances.

If you are a pedalling novice now unsure whether anything good comes out of being a cyclist – fear not. Cycling is about more than winning competitions, so there is no reason to avoid heading for the beautiful vistas that accompany the Coast to Coast Cycle Route (NCN Route 7) or The Sandstone Way between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Hexham.

To prove our point, we’d like to dispel a few more of those myths that hang around pedal power like a bad smell…

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Want to exercise between your ears? Go for a run

We all know that running is good for us. Heading out to pound the pavements is a sure-fire way to burn calories, improve cardiovascular performance, shed fat and perhaps even achieve that smokin’ physique. But is there more to the art of running?

If you’ve ever put on a pair of running shoes and taken up jogging, you can’t help but have noticed that putting one foot in front of the other for miles on end does something much more than just trim a couple of inches off the tummy.

Look past the burning muscles, the heaving chest and the pounding heart and you’ll find that a swift 5k also does something for the grey matter between the ears, too. Call it nourishing the soul or a primal form of catharsis; running has a knack for exercising the mind as well as the body.

From elite athletes to business professionals with hectic lifestyles, any keen runner will tell you that the benefits of running are more wide ranging than just a bit of a workout – especially when there’s a beautiful landscape waiting out there beyond your doorstep.

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Battlesteads Hotel & Restaurant – extending the friendly paw of hospitality!

Battlesteads in Wark

Whether you’re exploring on two legs or four Northumberland has to be one of the most tranquil and unspoilt areas of the UK to discover. Criss-crossed with age old walking tracks across rugged countryside, pretty hamlets and world class historical sites the county is a walker’s paradise and an ideal ‘escape from it all’ location for dog and nature lovers.

Always on the sniff for a good walk is our resident dog Winston, who just like us loves to get out and enjoy our clean fresh air and a romp through Northumberland National Park.

As dog lovers we know how much fun it is to enjoy a trip away with your pet – why leave them at home when there’s so many great places for them to explore – so we pride ourselves on offering a number of dog friendly accommodation options. Find us listed in guides such as The Ruff Guide, The Good Dog Guide, Smooth Hound and Sawday’s Dog Friendly Places to Stay

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