The Countess of Wessex made a surprise visit to Tynedale this week, during a 450-mile Edinburgh to London bike ride

Sophie stayed overnight in Otterburn on Monday for a short break from her journey, which is taking her from Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, to Buckingham Palace. She then stopped for a break in Corbridge.

The NCEA Cadets seeing Sophie and her team off from Otterburn. Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES
The NCEA Cadets seeing Sophie and her team off from Otterburn. Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES

She is pedalling from palace-to-palace as part of her Diamond Challenge in support of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

The Countess left Otterburn at around 9.30am on Tuesday and was given a send off by members of the Northumberland Church of England Academy Combined Cadet Force.

Cadets and learners travelled from Ashington to see the Countess head off from outside of St John the Evangelist Church, where she took time to chat with them about DofE.

Major Eyton Parker accompanied a group of 13 to the send-off.

He said: “She was lovely and really took time to chat to the cadets and learners about their experience of DofE and their expeditions.

“It’s great for DofE that she is doing the Diamond Challenge because it really draws attention to the award scheme.

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, making a short stop in Corbridge. Photo (C) GETTY IMAGESSophie, Countess of Wessex, making a short stop in Corbridge. Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, making a short stop in Corbridge. Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES

“All of the places she is stopping off are drawing more interest to what we do. It’s also a good reward for the cadets to be able to meet her.

“It’s something they are able to do only because they are involved with DofE so it’s a real privilege and inspiration to chat to her.”

Sophie and her team then made a short stop in Corbridge to grab a coffee.

Judith Henry, owner of Cafe No6 in Market Place, Corbridge, said that she and her son were bewildered by the appearance of cyclists, who were accompanied by Land Rovers, in the square.

She said: “When my son spotted the cars outside we were wondering what was happening.

“We weren’t aware of what was going on. It must have been kept very quiet because there was no one out on the square trying to catch a glimpse either.

“We had a group of around eight cyclists come into the cafe on Tuesday, and they bought coffee and some cake.

“But I couldn’t tell you whether she was one of them because you don’t expect a a member of the royal family to walk in without warning!”

Judith said the group sat at Market Place for a while before heading off.

The NCEA Cadets seeing Sophie and her team off from Otterburn. Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES
The NCEA Cadets seeing Sophie and her team off from Otterburn. Photo (C) GETTY IMAGES

The next part of the journey took Sophie and her team, which included members of the Royal regiments with which she is associated, towards North Yorkshire.

She is expected to arrive in London on Sunday afternoon.

Source: hexham-courant co uk