Monday, 21 July 2008

DAY 3 – SUNDAY, JULY 20TH - Morecambe, Lancashire to Longtown, Cumbria – 76 miles

We woken up very early by other guests in the B&B – American contractors, apparently working at the local nuclear reactor - snoring and showering. The landlady cooked us a large breakfast and gave us a potted history of the area.

And, on a positive note, the bill went down from the arranged £75 to £45 thanks to me having to sleep on a camp bed, and then even further to £20 when Gary discovered that they didn’t take credit cards – and because he had apparently been ‘good value’…

First up we visited the Eric Morecambe statue on the prom for a photo. One of our greatest comedians, he was actually christened John Eric Bartholomew, but took the stagename Morecambe after the town he was born in.

On the road it was soon clear that my bike was not in the best of shapes, with the pedals making a dreadful (and expensive sounding) creaking noise. Aren’t these expensive machines meant to make things easier?

But, despite a strong wind, it was a sunny morning with clouds racing across the countryside. Limping into Kendal we managed to find a shop to repair the bike, while Gary discovered an M&S to stock up on essential supplies – couscous, salad and fruit – just the kind of fuel you need when using up 6,000 calories a day…

After mucking about for an hour and a half again the next issue was to scale the biggest hill of the ride – the 10-mile, 600m climb over Shap Fell. Actually, with a pretty low gradient, and beautiful countryside, it makes it a surprisingly enjoyable, if far from easy, ride.

Shap Fell - Long, but worth the effort...

After lunch on top of Shap Fell the route showed a gentle downhill/flat ride all afternoon up to Carlisle. But sadly the un-seasonal north wind that had been the bane of the ride so far meant it felt like we were struggling uphill. But at least my pedals weren't making their grinding noise any more.

And Gary's wasn't happy to find out that the route is 10 miles longer than expected again [thank goodness for the new online route planners, this shouldn't happen again!].

But with the help of a pretty level road and little traffic, it was 25 miles – and 2 hours - of surprisingly enjoyable riding to Penrith. Not quite the market town we expected, we sat under a beautiful bandstand for something to eat and drink, circled by young BMXers, while local youths in various ‘pimped’ cars – including a dreadful yellow Nova and a red Citreon AX van - drove noisily around the town’s inner ring road beeping their horns. Quaint it most certainly wasn't...

Cycling another 20 miles into the wind to Carlisle got harder. And when we arrived at 6.30, the place seemed to be full of more ASBO teens and drunks.

The final few miles to Longtown felt even longer and we arrived to find the place shut up, except for an ancient pub serving micro-waved haggis and steak pie. I actually quite enjoyed mine, but Gary's face was a picture! And we were too tired to even crack open a tinnie...

Today's route:

Bike route 288917 - powered by Bikemap 

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