Wednesday, 29 July 2009
Aiming for Cockermouth by the end of the day, we eventually finished the day off at the foot of Scafel Pike (Woo one more mountain to go).
We arrived at Cockermouth sometime after just after lunch & briefly considered pitching our tent due to being so far ahead of schedule. However 3L of Lemonade later, one sonic/stereo burp from Dave & a whole lemon cake (probably for about eight) later...well lets go!
This was all good and well until we were once again thwarted by the weather 30 miles shy of Wasdale. Naturally we were soon back in the nearest pub, to be greeted by a rather peculiar welcome.
A few quotes from 'The Central Pub'
"Your doing what!?....Your probably students arn't ya?"
"What are you doing!? Nothing, bloody lazy students. At least these bikers here have to do something! *motions twisting throttle*"
Leaving that madness behind, we soon found another, rather upright problem. The last road on the way to Wasdale Head was defiantly designed by someone who hadn't heard of gravity & it's effects.
For example, up one particular hill we were passed by a landrover (just) slipping and whining on its way up. More worryingly, shortly later we discovered a hill that was for lack of a better description, 'too steep to cycle down!'
The ridiculous path to Scafell did have one major upshot though, I will let you judge for yourself...
Eventually we slumped into the campsite around 10pm, casually noticing the 'green travel' discount (I should bloody think so) before heading for the tent. Through the night we were filled with confidence of the day to come as a thunderstorm rolled in over the hills.
Before long we stopped for quite a considerable time at some Edinburgh Woolen Mill outlet. There was good reason for this. We were distracted by food, Whisky (though Dave refused to let us have any free samples...the fool) &....rain.
Whilst stopped we devoured an awful lot of chocolate amongst other things (supplied by BRAWNDO powered assistant! ...."Brawndo will make you win at packing!!")
The other interesting moment from this here stop, was a coach bearing the number plate "HI WET" (says it all doesn't it?)
For dinner, we stopped again in the town of Ecclefeckin (fantastic name) for a quick burger. Once again we were quickly recognised as those 'mad buggers'. Most seemed somewhat shocked to see were still alive in all this.
Setting off about 7pm from the pub, we finally settled firmly back on English at the end of the day (by a good mile or so :P)
Code alpha: We won't talk about that
"It's happened again, we've gone mad."
Sunday, 26 July 2009
There was in fact a cycle path somewhere near the City centre, however being a City the signs naturally all pointed in the wrong (and generally circular) direction. Telford & Warwickshire have similar issues for those interested.
Quote of the day: "Why is it these people decide to design these places with a Spirograph?"
Anyhoo! After a lot of time going backwards and forwards (just to confuse you) we eventually managed to get out of Glasgow and start heading towards Crawford again. As we passed through Hamilton we stopped at a sandwich shop that we almost put out of business on the way up once more.
If a sandwich shop says that you can have as many toppings as you want for the same price, they really should expect a couple of gits (yours truly & co) to come and ask for everything. Twice. Each.
Once fully fueled we headed onwards again, only to get stopped shortly after as we entered (from the wrong side) a local parade. Eventually (though I'm not sure when or how) some movement happened again, reaching the ever haunted Crawford about 8pm.
In other News:
Random wave/cheering due to topless cycling count: 5
Some general advice:
If by chance...you see an iceberg. My suggestion is to almost defiantly stop!
[Aside] Iceberg != Mountain
Cunningly, a fair amount of dynamite and the like had been put to use on this path, cutting through the rocks around the Loch and keeping the path relatively flat (though I think they must have had budget cuts in some places).
Even with the wind behind us and a smooth path, the extra miles meant it was early evening by the time we reached Crianlarich. We eventually stopped (quiet suddenly) halfway down Loch Lomond, finding a nice little 'campsite' (In the loosest sense of the word) right on the Loch...literally.
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Quote of the day: 'Your dog's come loose again'
We set off from the visitors centre at about 10am thinking we had a full days climb ahead of us. By lunchtime we had reached the summit after apparently 'forgetting' to pace ourselves again. Thanks to this rather brisk stroll up to the top, we didn't see a thing from the summit as the cloud level hadn't had chance to lift. On this bright side, 'it's all downhill from here folks!'
After a brief scout around the plateau & a baguette or so later, we headed back down into the sunshine. Once again taking full advantage of gravity and then some, we were back with our feet safely on the ground after just over 4.5hrs of climbing/running/sliding etc.
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Everything after the Drover's Inn was an uphill struggle, with a mixture of strong head winds, rubbish road surface and having to climb over rannoch moor. But for every up, there is a down! To be precise, half hour of downhill through the winding roads of glencoe towards the end of the day. (No chance of going back the same way though!)
We turned into a bunkhouse just just before 10pm, turned out to be around the same price as a campsite...so why not!
Some important food facts:
Three ice creams from iceland one after the other = good
Fruit loaves that are the best part of your GDA from asda = better
Moving on, we arrived in Penrith around 6-7pm and were thinking of finding somewhere to sleep for the night. For lack of a better option, and just to see what happened we found a local police station.
Apparently, police cells arn't open to the public....even if your a few hundred miles into a 1000mile trip. Oh well, at least we tried.
Sleeping arrangements got worse after this, after getting kicked out of a field (people are less welcoming around these parts) we carried on through Carlisle. In the end, we simply pitched by the roadside for the night.
If your a police officer in the Lake District, you really do need a rally car!]
Eventually, we made our way to the Liverpool tunnel. This is apparently closed to cyclists apart from on Sundays :S. Given that it wasn't a Sunday, we were forced to take the train across.
This turned out to be a complicated experience given the platform was several floors below the entrance. Getting a bike with panniers and a tent into a small lift is an art in itself.
Once across the other side of the tunnel, we headed up to Preston. Arriving in Preston we decided enough was enough and a change of cloths was in order.
A place to change was eventually pointed out to us after a lengthy explanation as to why we needed to take loaded panniers into a shopping mall to the security team (twice).
Feeling thoroughly refreshed we pressed on towards Lancaster, stopping once more to ask for somewhere to sleep for the night. This was a more interesting experience than the previous time, meeting a fellow Scientist who originally taught in Hull. We also had directions and advice of "not Lancaster" from a Swiss chef, before heading once more for the coast!
After being persuaded that camping on the beach wasn't a good idea, we headed off once more into the night, but not before some fish and chips by the sea. At around 11pm, we'd had enough and Dave decided flagging down a random jogger would be a good idea. After advice of "camp anywhere" and not believing said jogger, we headed for a pub for better local info.
It turns out the jogger was spot on, as we were offered a variety of fields, barns and a morning brew by farmers and the like. We ended up setting up camp in a field at the back of the pub at midnight. Thanks, to all farmers around Carnforth!
By lunchtime we had made it up to Conwy by the coast, so decided to head off on the A55 towards Liverpool. Apparently one 5 is good (i.e. A5), but even numbers of 5 is very bad indeed (A55) as for some reason cyclists are not permitted on this road.
No matter though! We found a better way, closer to the coast. It turns out there is a very flat, very smooth cycle route that follows the coast all the way round to Flint (Fflint if your Welsh). For those wishing to cycle along this splendid piece of genius (highly recommended), its cycle route 5! (naturally).
Quote of the day: "Slow down, your back wheel's going faster than the front!"
Turning point: Here we gave up on campsites, and opted instead for asking random people "Say, if you had a tent...where would you sleep round here?" Best reaction out of these being "My bed"
Let's be typically British and start with a weather update. Yep, you guessed it. Hottest day yet (29 degrees!....That's getting on for West 117 hot!). With tee-shirts still seeming like a fairly pointless invention, we struggled to the top, taking around 3 hours in total.
Much to Dave's disappointment, we accidentally (thanks to a rather useless bus driver) made and assault on the Watkin path....again! (after swearing never to again). At the top the cafe was finally open, looking a lot less like a spaceship than I had expected.
Inside I ordered something (to quote Douglas Adams) tasted almost exactly, unlike tea. Whilst attempting to cheer up my tea with a few good helpings of sugar, we got talking to a couple of guys who had just completed the 3 peaks challenge (the 24 hour version). They seemed quiet startled to hear we were on the same mission, but pedalling between mountains.
The decent following the Miner's path down was much easier, making full use of that 9.81 ms^-2 stuff.
Back down in Bedgelert, we met an incredible fellow from Liverpool who turned out to be a soldier back from Afghanistan with one hell of a war wound. After hearing what we were planning to do, he instantly brought us both a drink and offered us a lift to Liverpool. This was dismissed, partly as it would have involved leaving his girlfriend behind.
Thoughts of the day:
Will not be discussed....ever
Has realised that the spell check will correct for Afghanistan but not Bedgelert....interesting
Road Kill: 2
Dave almost dying from the heat: 1
Thoughts of the day:
Temperature is 27 degrees and I'm waterproofs, a sleeping bag and thermal base layers....why?
A5 is amazing! - Top speed 35mph on flat (and that's not on a road bike!)
"If sound could travel to the Sun how long would it take to tell it to bugger off?"
"Well, it takes 8 mins for light travelling at 3x10^8 m/s to reach earth, and sound
travels at around 300 m/s. So it would take about 8x10^6 mins (...obviously)."
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