I had occasion to give my friend Sue a ring today but she didn’t answer her phone. It turned out, as you can see from today’s guest picture, that she was picking chanterelles for her tea at an intensive fungus weekend in the Lake District. Some people have all the fun.
The reason that I rang her was to see if she would like to join me for part of a cycle ride that I was doing which passed not far from her house. After a couple of wet and windy days, the forecast was good and as Mrs Tootlepedal was busy with an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting, I hoped to make good use of the day with a long ride.
I didn’t make up my mind about where I wanted to go until I had had breakfast, looked out of the kitchen window…
….and considered the wind direction. I didn’t have time to measure out a route exactly so I chose a trip that would give me a good variety of terrain, some new roads to pedal along and be about 100 miles in length. The first two criteria worked out very well but disappointingly, I was a bit out on the third.
It was quite a bit cooler than of late with the thermometer only just making double figures but with very light winds, it was a good, if rather grey day for cycling.
I started by doing a flat 20 miles down the main roads to Brampton…..
…a small town with a very pretty town centre which would look a lot better with no cars in it.
Considering that I soon passed under this massive bridge….
…which lets the Carlisle to Newcastle traffic by-pass the town, you might wonder where all the cars come from but the town seems to be thriving so perhaps I shouldn’t complain.
In contrast to the gentle start to the ride, the next thirty miles were a very up and down affair but they provided me with some new roads with excellent surfaces and no pot holes to cycle along. The route took me along the edge of the northern fells, where I saw this cow having a paddle….
…before I turned west and crossed the River Eden at Lazonby. The bridge is wonderful but was too wide for my camera to catch all its beauty without walking miles into a field full of cattle.
I peered through one of the many smaller side arches.
The river was quite full so it had obviously rained in England as well as Scotland yesterday.
This is one of the rivers (I crossed the others too) that brought severe floods to Carlisle last winter. People are keeping a very nervous eye on the long range forecasts.
There is another bridge at Lanzonby….
…and this carries the Carlisle to Settle railway line through the village. This line is still being repaired after the floods. The railway is open to the south of the village but a passenger needs to take a bus to get north to Carlisle.
Having crossed the Irthing near Brampton and the Eden at Lazonby, I only had the Petteril to cross before I got to the Pot Place where I aimed to have a bite to eat. Before readers get too excited about the Pot Place, it sells pots…..pots and pots of pots….
…and nothing more stimulating than that. It is sited at a disused station on the main London to Glasgow line and the old station master’s house….
…is now a cafe, very popular with old folk. We have had good meals there before but the egg and chips that I got there today left a lot to be desired. Still, they filled me up and the lemon cake which I had for afters was excellent.
I was joined by a couple of friends for lunch.
Leaving the pots, I headed for the hills once more and suffered the embarrassment of slipping my chain off the cogs, thanks to a clumsy gear change, just as another cyclist passed me. I replaced the chain and got to the top of the hill where I was able to to enjoy a view of Hutton-in-the-Forest…
…and the pedal along the ridge to the tiny hamlet of Hutton End….
…which always seems a little ominous to me.
I took the road towards Carlisle and enjoyed the first level patch of cycling since I left Brampton as I followed the road along the ridge. I didn’t go into Carlisle though but swooped down the hill through the splendidly named Buckabank and into Dalston.
From there I was in familiar country and cycled home back on fairly flat roads round the Carlisle by-pass bike path and then by Gretna, Kirkpatrick-Fleming and the Kerr.
The sun was out by this time and the back roads were a cyclist’s delight….
As I came along the Kirkpatrick-Fleming road, I was pleased to see that preparations for connecting up the new windmills to the grid are going forward.
At present the windmills are turning but no power is being produced. This is a waste of good wind.
On a nearby line, a flock of starlings was singing lustily.
I was a bit miffed when I got home to find the computer telling me that I had only done 92 miles but I didn’t have the oomph to fiddle around adding an artificial eight miles to get up to the ton.
Mrs Tootlepedal was on hand to attend to the important matter of the post ride scientific recovery nutrition….
…and she had also made a venison stew in the slow cooker so I was well looked after.
I didn’t have the opportunity to catch a flying bird of the day but I did get a chance to catch the nerine without the wind spoiling things so it is the flower of the day.
Those interested may click on the map below to see the route details.