Friday, 30 March 2012

Four Day Trial (2)

On Wednesday, I managed Shap Fell with a short pause near the top where it did get very steep. George was waiting for me up there and we had a pleasant, generally downhill, ride on the other side into Shap village and then on to Penrith where I enjoyed a baked potato with chili con carne filling for lunch from a street vendor - tremendous!

The weather continued to be really nice and we made it to Irthington near Brampton in Cumbria just before 5.00pm. Our hosts, John and Yvonne, really looked after us and we had a great evening in their company, catching up with what we were all up to and the kids etc. It is worth recording that this is a very special location because Hadrian's Wall actually runs, or ran, through their back garden and they have had to sign declarations about what they can and can't do.

John pointing to Hadrian's wall
under the grass in his back garden
We had a lovely meal with a couple of beers and some nice wine. George and John were both in high spirits because their team had won that night and reached the FA Cup semi-final. I was pleased for them and toasted their victory with some Black Bottle Whisky, an excellent blend of Islay malts. Predictably, I slept well and we left just after 9.00 the next morning in great spirits. We decided to return a different way via the Eden Valley which certainly was beautiful, but for me there were too many sharp ups and downs and my heavy load was taking its toll. After passing through numerous tiny villages we sort of lost our way and found ourselves heading to Penrith which wasn't really a bad thing because after Penrith there was Shap Fell the easy way, if there is such a thing. I had been aware for a while that I was slowing George down and at Shap village we agreed he could nearly make it home if I left him to it. He had to be back for appointments on Thursday morning anyway and had planned to take the train from Oxenholme back to Ormskirk on Wednesday night. We shook hands village and I watched him hurtling away. I continued at my own pace and made it over Shap Fell again and on to Kendal. I gave the duff "campsite" at Oxenholme a miss and continued South until I started to feel really tired after Milnthorpe. There were no campsites around so I stayed at the Kings' Arms at Burton-in-Kendal. I freshened up there and had the Wednesday curry special with a couple of pints and after a decent night's sleep and full breakfast, I left for home on Thursday morning thinking "it's only 50 miles or so". There was a time 50 miles would have been a real challenge. Those days are gone. I made it home early afternoon and got sorted and well rested for the Thursday session which was a good one, even though there were no scratchings. I didn't make a fuss.


  1. So good that you're thinking it's ONLY 50 miles back to home. Shows how far you've come. We're members of a Facebook group here in Fethiye and FIG have said they're planning stuff for your arrival in Fethiye - sure you're aware of all that. When it comes to your blog post though, the only thing we miss about our life in the UK (apart from family and friends)is the Lake District. Bet you had an amazing (if very tiring) bike ride. Good luck to you!!

  2. Thanks Julia, All comments welcome, especially when I actually get started.