Through the Lakes

Posted by on 28, Aug 2023 in 2023 - Cathedrals, Europe, UK, Western Europe

Through the Lakes

Having said goodbye to our family after a lovely 5 days which included our first ever game of lazer tag which was awesome, a canal boat trip, a d with Ben off the beer, copious amounts of Gin!.. we headed back to Liverpool and more cycle traps…

We had just bypassed one by going through a gap in the fence when we bumped into the cycle path Ranger. Who told us these barriers were to stop motorbikes. We said we’d never seen a motorbike anywhere on a cycle path without barriers and then promptly saw 2 quad bikes.. They were Police Quads on Patrol!

Our Hotel for the night was another ex Victorian grand seafront hotel. The staff were brilliant, the chef coming and carrying our luggage up to our room and chatting about cycling and Tilly being left in pride of place in the restaurant in front of the fireplace. We had to eat in the restaurant just to watch everyone else admiring her!

The cycling up the coast here is gorgeous. Most of its off road and if you can ignore the traps it’s really really well done.

For once we whizzed along with the sun out and the wind behind us and thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

We even managed to get the tent out to camp for the night in a site with one toilet for about 30 people and (bad planning on our part) no showers! Oh well.

The site was billed as idyllic and silent, but quite how anyone could say this with the motorway right next door we couldn’t figure out, but it sufficed and we were up early and packed up and away about 3 minutes before it started to rain again. At least we’d got the tent packed in the dry.

We followed the Blackburn canal all the way into Blackburn and the Cathedral invited us to bring the bike inside while we had coffees and a look around.

We loved this relatively new cathedral and just outside is the Victoria monument where my mum and dad met on their first date during the war when my dad was a Bevin Boy. Called up and sent down, he always wanted to fight, but 1 in 10 had no choice but to become Bevin Boys due to a shortage of miners. Fortunately for me, he didn’t fight and met mum and it was quite moving to go around the Cathedral they would have undoubtedly visited on their first date as they were both Christian Youth Group leaders.

We left Blackburn in rain and shortly after the Biblical rain returned we were like a pair of drowned rats. But as is this summers modus operandi, by the time we reached Preston the sun was out and we were dry as a bone. What a weird summer.

We had planned a night in Lancaster and booked a room with a sofa – an essential thing for our bums! But arrived and found the Airbnb wasn’t the one in the picture. I spoke to the owner and he said the staff were on hols and he didn’t really know what was going on so come over to his other luxury apartment and stay there instead. Wow, that was spectacular and when we saw the weather forecast for the next day of, you guessed it more rain with extra rain we booked another night.

The rest day was the wettest day I think we’ve ever seen. It didn’t rain all day, it poured. The manager said he’d never seen rain like it and he was supposed to go over the road to his other property but decided to not go all day as it was too wet!

But we had a sofa and our bums had a very nice rest!

It’s a long way to our next English Cathedral – Carlisle – so we made a detour to the Isle of Man to visit their Cathedral in Peel. The Morecambe coast was wet, cold and windy – which seems to be the daily weather for us – but the Isle of Man was glorious it was like going abroad, which technically we were as the IOM is not part of GB or UK. The place was also deserted. You’d think it was a nice October’s day, not the height of the school hols and we loved the place.

A great cycle track on the old railway to Peel, a quiet laid back old fashioned sea side town with another Cathedral closed for renovation. Doh! Still, the gardens were great and we did visit their temporary accommodation the church hall to get our stamp on the badminton court.

Naturally arriving back in England the weather returned to normal and we headed up toward the Lakes.

The cost of accommodation here is crazy. We couldn’t find anything for less than £200 a night so stayed short of Kendall at a farm camp site which charged tourers £8 for 2 people! And it was empty! What?

We had a lovely night there and got away just before it started to rain and cycled on toward Windermere alongside the main road linking it with Kendall. Fortunately on a cycle path and the traffic both ways was nose to tail and going around 20mph. We actually overtook cars on the downhills!

Windermere was jam packed with cars and people but we stopped for coffee and sat in the window watching everyone take photos fo Tilly before setting off and getting our first sound of the pipes! Eh? We’re nowhere near Scotland, yet Scotland the brave rang out form a marching band all dressed up with bearskin hats, gators and kilts.

We pulled over to watch and it was an Indian marching band from Bolton and they seemed to be having a tree planting ceremony with loads of their family and friends watching, all in traditional dress, It was great!

We then had to get the ferry across Windermere where we sailed past the huge queue of cars waiting to the front and found that the ferry may be cancelled due to the high winds. In the end we got over ok, but they told everyone they may not come back today. Windy again? We’re so used to it now we hardly notice!

We had a fab cycle around the lake stopping for our sanies and following National Cycle Route 6 which goes on the opposite side of the lake from the main A591,… only it doesn’t anymore.

It’s closed due to dangerous rock falls and has been for over 2 years so cyclists and pedestrians have to walk on a very busy main road with no shoulders or pavements.

We were not happy bunnies, but belted along as it’s slightly downhill and we had a hurricane following us. Wouldn’t like to have been going the other way though.

Obviously we had our flag out full and we have often wondered what the Old Bill would make of it if they were behind us. Well, we zipped past a speed camera and we’re somewhat disappointed we didn’t get pulled over but later on, the camera van patiently followed us round a series of bends then overlook on the straight and didn’t bat a camera lens.

We had booked an Airbnb that had come up a fair way north of Thirlmere for the night but they cancelled us in the morning due to overbooking. Nice. So we’d set off with no accomodation booked and thinking we were just going to have to wild camp for the night in the rain.

The parks say wild camping is illegal, then tell you how and where to do it. Very odd, but as fate would have it we stopped for coffee and a pub vacancy popped up and we both bit their hands off so ended up with a short ride to Ambleside a lovely room and nice pub meal. Result!

Guess what the next days weather was? We set off in the dry! Though not for long and soon had our rain jackets on as the rain swept across the hills quite dramatically. It was spectacular to watch it approach as we climbed up the side of another hill. In the end we headed away from the hills and the rain gave up the chase and we actually sat on a bench for lunch in the sun! Well, it was raining as well obviously. But the rain did go away and leave us in the dry for the rest of the day to reach Carlisle in sunshine… A miracle!

One Comment

  1. That all sounds like a really interesting few days. We definitely have the IoM on our must do list as you are the second strong recommendation this year.

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