Lakes and Dales 2012


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June 24th 2012
Published: June 25th 2012
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A one week tour around the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District followed by the Morecambe Bay.

The group of ten riders set off from Billington, Nr Blackburn and cycled through the Hodder and Ribble Valleys to Hawes for an overnight stay at the Youth Hostel. The hostel is to be recommended with good clean accommodation and good food. The 600 year old Castle Bolton beckoned and its cafe for a pit stop before the steep climb at Redmire over to Grinton for lunch. Eat little and often is the key to hills.

A long haul up the valley of Swaledale is rewarded with coffee and scones in Thwaite before the hard climb to Tan Hill for a quick beer. Drink and eat, drink and eat. A long fast descent to Kirkby Stephen in the sun for a well deserved nights rest at the Jolly Farmer Guest House with its excellent meals. Best of all freshly baked scones and tea on arrival.

The following day started with light rain for the first hour as we descended Mallerstang before changing slowly to sun and warmth by Sedbergh where coffee and cakes were the order of the day again. Kirkby Lonsdale for lunch and then a steady climb to Kendal for the night. Our Stay was at the County Hotel, unfortunately, since this was by far the most expensive on the tour and the worst - tatty and poor food. In to Kendal to the Infusion Restaurant for a meal and a beer in Weatherspoons in what was the Old Bath House complete with Mill type chimney.

Next morning a quick visit to Wheelbase Cycle Shop and a short ferry across Lake Windermere to Grizedale to have a taste of Cumbrian Hills - vicious. Lunch at the Grizedale Centre and a quick spin through Hawkshead, up Hawkshead Hill and over to Coniston where we saw the Steam Yacht Gondola skimming down Lake Coniston. Following the lake to Greenodd to feast on a cup of plastic coffee at the garage before venturing across the estuary on a bumpy bridleway to meet the road south to Flookborough. Somerset House in Grange over Sands was our overnight stop with the very friendly hosts of Geraldine and David who know how to cook a good meal or two. We had a nice walk along the Promenade and back through town, which was quite pleasant on such a warm night. Unfortunately it was raining when we set off the following day and the cape went on for the first hour. As we got to Levens the rain eased off, which was just as well since Malcolm developed a puncture. Continuing around the estuary to Arnside for our coffee stop where all ten riders were all together for one of the very few times on the tour. A nice little climb now to Silverdale before descending to Carnforth, around the estuary again before emerging at Crag Bank and joining the canal down to Morecambe. At the northern tip of Morecambe Promenade the cycle path starts its journey to Heysham and alongside the statue of Eric Morecambe where we had the annual photograph before going along to the Battery Cafe for a lunch of paninis and tea, plus a bit of cake of course. The high tide was in our favour so we went down to Sunderland Point along a very rough bridleway, much to not a little muttering from some, before visiting Sambo's Grave. Our return journey was along the tarmac road, which is submerged for four hours at high tide and is covered in a little debris - fun or what. Eventually we joined the cycleway into Lancaster over the attractive Millenium foot and cycle bridge. The Royal Hotel was our overnight stop, which is better than it looks with nice rooms and a good Tapas bar. We awoke on Friday morning to the most vile day ever with rain and more rain continuously until late at night. Unfortunately the Olympic torch was to be taken through Lancaster that day and also a cycle race - oh dear. We set off into the rain with all our wet weather gear on and headed down the cyclepath to Glasson Dock. John had two punctures in his worn out tyre caused by glass. We escaped the rain for a while in Glasson Dock cafe where we decided to cut short our route and head for Garstang and the shortest way home. John got a new tyre in Garstang whilst we had lunch in Booths cafe and Eric got a taxi back to Billington since his pedal had stripped the threads in the crank. We formed a snake like a team time trial and headed through flooded roads back through Longridge and Ribchester to Billington to a nice warm shower and some dry clothes. A good meal and wine on the last night and a well deserved rest. Saturday morning saw us all depart for home across the country in better weather, having enjoyed a taste of the beauty of the North. Touring at its best.


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