Cycling The English Lake District

 

For our 2013 cycling holiday we cycled from Stocksfield, Northumberland, west to the Lake District.

 

Follow our route on the map below: it can be panned and zoomed. Route grading using Cycalc.



View Cycling 2013 in a larger map

 

We set off from Alasdair’s home on Saturday 31 August…

 

Our first day (31-miles, grade C+) was a little windy. We did have sunshine however, as we crossed the moors of Northumberland and Durham…

 

Long, quiet, roads, and strange residents…

 

The wind was occasionally directly in our faces, therefore quite tiring at times…

 

The wind didn’t seem to affect Julie, as we crossed into Teesdale…

 

Looking back towards the Durham dales…

 

We finally made it to the Forresters Hotel, Middleton-in-Teesdale…

 

Day-2 (30-miles, grade B+) was even windier: ~14MPH, as later estimated, into our face most of the day!

 

One section in particular, climbing over the pass into Cumbria, was extremely windy!

 

And on and on, into the wind across the Cumbian moors…

 

We finally make it to our night-stop, Westmorland Hotel: was I glad!

This day was supposed to be the easy-cycling day, however due to the wind it was the hardest day of the holiday (estimated grade D)…

 

The next day, day-3 (30-miles, grade C+), the wind was much subsided. And we finally reached the Lake District…

 

As we progressed towards Shap, the cloud got lower providing a cooling damp…

 

Over the bridge of the River Lune…

 

Spectators turned out in force to cheer us on. And finally we crested the last hill of the day…

 

We catch our first view of a lake: Lake Windermere…

 

Our accommodation in south Windermere was the Newby Bridge Hotel…

 

The following day (32-miles, grade C) the weather had improved enormously: 18degC, blue sky and no wind!

 

It was a fabulous day. We passed many lakes and tarns (as here: Esthwaite Water)…

 

Passed through many beautiful Lakeland villages (such as Hawkshead)…

 

And not forgetting the Lakeland Mountains (the view of Langdale from Skelwith Fold)…

 

There was the occasional 27% hill, but on the whole the cycling was fabulous…

 

The downhills could be scary, but the views were worth it! (Here looking towards the Helvellyn massif, with lake Grasmere).

 

There’s always time for tea and cake…

 

How idyllic: tea, hot chocolate and cakes on the shores of lake Grasmere…

 

Back on the road we cycle nearer and nearer to Helvellyn as we approach Thirlmere…

 

Thirlmere…

 

All of the cars use the road on the other side of the lake. The quiet west-lake road is superb cycling…

 

In the 1890 a dam turned two smaller lakes (Leathes Water and Wythburn Water) into Thirlmere…

 

From Thirlmere we cycle into St John’s in the Vale…

 

An old packhorse bridge over St John’s Beck. Skiddaw is in the far background of the right-hand photo…

 

We visited Castlerigg Neolithic Monument, dating from around 3200B.C.E.

 

Not far now to Keswick, and two nights stay…

 

We finally arrive at the Highfield Hotel, and our day of rest in luxury…

 

Julie is overjoyed with finding the BIG bath…

 

The following day, our rest day, we meandered around Keswick and Derwent Water…

 

Time to relax and wait for the ferry…

 

Derwent Water is a lovely lake: ideal for kids in boats…

 

We are on holiday, after all…

 

Market day in Keswick, but for us it’s time to leave. We head-out on the disused railway line on route for Melmerby (32-miles, grade C-)…

 

In the village of Greystoke there is a great cyclists rest stop: not to be missed!

 

An absolutely stunning, imaginative, restoration of an ancient building: Blencowe Hall

 

Sometimes the going got a little tricky…

 

We arrived at our B&B (The Gatehouse) in Melmerby not knowing when the much-forecasted rain would come…

 

We managed to stay dry when we went to the local pub for a meal: Shepherds Inn…

 

The following day (37-miles, grade C+ without the inclement weather), which was the longest day of the holiday, and up the highest pass (1900ft), it was absolutely p***ing-down! The MET Office issued flood warning for the very roads we had to use! I was not a happy chappy…

 

From Melmerby the road progresses constantly uphill for the first 5-miles to the top of Heartside Pass. Water was running down the road in torrents. Luckily for us very little traffic was using the road – some folk at least heeded the weather warning…

 

You’ve just got to keep smiling through. At lease Heartside Pass has a tearoom!

 

Needless to say, the cameras were packed safely away in waterproof containers. There are no other photos of this epic day…

 

The rain finally stopped after about 24-hours. We stayed our last night in the Anchor Hotel, Haydon Bridge, right on the banks of a much swollen River South Tyne. We couldn’t face another day of rain and steep hills, so we radically revised the route for the last day (31-miles, grade C-)…

 

Back into Hadrian’s Wall country, with occasional showers to keep us cool…

 

The route back to Alasdiar’s was not without difficulty…

 

Well, another year’s cycling adventure comes to an end: 218-miles with 23000-ft of accent…

 

Many thanks for accommodating us Alasdair. And:

 

Thanks to Pushkin for his entertainment…

 

After the holiday, the very next time Julie was on her bike (cycling back from work), the rear wheel disintegrated!

 

We’re very lucky that this didn’t happen whilst we were cycling across remote moors…

 

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