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

 

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We set off from Alasdairís home on Saturday 31 August

 

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Our first day: 31-miles with 3915ft accent, grade-Off-Scale(80W+11): the hardest first-day ever! Windy, but we did have sunshine however, as we crossed the moors of Northumberland and Durham

 

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Long, quiet, roads, and strange residents

 

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

 

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The wind didnít seem to affect Julie, as we crossed into Teesdale

 

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Looking back towards the Durham dales

 

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

 

Day-2: 30-miles with 2547ft accent, grade hard-B(65W+0), was even windier: ~14MPH, as later estimated, into our face most of the day!

 

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

 

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And on and on, into the wind across the Cumbian moorsÖ

 

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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 hard-C)

 

The next day, day-3: 30-miles with 3300ft accent, grade-Ex2(75W+6), the wind was much subsided. And we finally reached the Lake District

 

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

 

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Over the bridge of the River Lune

 

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

 

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We catch our first view of a lake: Lake Windermere

 

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Our accommodation in south Windermere was the Newby Bridge Hotel

 

The following day: 31-miles with 2840ft accent, grade mild-C(68W+0) the weather had improved enormously: 18degC, blue sky and no wind!

 

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

 

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Passed through many beautiful Lakeland villages (such as Hawkshead)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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Thereís always time for tea and cake

 

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

 

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

 

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Thirlmere

 

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

 

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

 

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From Thirlmere we cycle into St Johnís in the Vale

 

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An old packhorse bridge over St Johnís Beck. Skiddaw is in the far background of the right-hand photo

 

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

 

Not far now to Keswick, and two nights stay

 

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

 

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Julie is overjoyed with finding the BIG bath

 

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

 

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Time to relax and wait for the ferry

 

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

 

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We are on holiday, after all

 

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Market day in Keswick, but for us itís time to leave. We head-out on the disused railway line on route for Melmerby (31-miles with 2370ft accent, grade hard-B(63W+0)

 

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

 

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

 

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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

 

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The following day: 36-miles with 3200ft accent, grade average-C(66W+0) 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 Ė some folk at least heeded the weather warning

 

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Youíve 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!

 

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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 couldnít face another day of rain and steep hills, so we radically revised the route for the last day: 28-miles with 2850ft accent, grade mild-C(70W+1)

 

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Back into Hadrianís Wall country, with occasional showers to keep us cool

 

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The route back to Alasdiarís was not without difficulty

 

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Well, another yearís cycling adventure comes to an end: 217-miles with 21000-ft of accent

 

Many thanks for accommodating us Alasdair. And:

 

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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!

 

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Weíre very lucky that this didnít happen whilst we were cycling across remote moors!

 

 

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