Skiddaw

Where we cycled in 2015

The year ended with having Mulled Wine and Mince Pies etc, hosted by David and Barbara on 15th December 2015

Unfortunately because of the recent floods our proposed Christmas Lunch couldn't go ahead on Tuesday 8th December. However 4 of the group braved the weather and met at the old Portinscale bridge to cycle around the Newlands Valley. We set off in heavy rain but it wasn't long until it had abated and it was actually not a bad day for getting out and about. We went clockwise so got the hills out of the way first and were able to enjoy lovely long stretches of downhill back towards Braithwaite. It really was quite dis-heartening to see all the flood damage along the way. Many thanks to Cathy C for hastily organising the ride.

On a horrid, wet, miserable and cold morning 8 of the group met to cycle what will probably be the last cycle ride of the year 24th November 2014. "It was hardly fit to put a dog out", one member said, but togged up with multiple base layers and waterproofs off we set. Leaving Keswick we cycled through Applethwaite and Millbeck, somehow losing Fran along the way. Thinking Fran was well ahead of us we were surprised to see her approaching from behind. Fran did an extra loop! We carried on to the A591 then detoured round by Scarness and onto Bassenthwaite. Going along North Row Frank decided to have a close up inspection of the grass verge. Unscathed! apart from perhaps a dented ego. Just another few minutes now to the Castle Inn where we all sloshed in more than ready for refreshments. Again, the catering was spot on, copious amounts of hot drinks, scones with clotted cream and jam and home made biscuits. We must have been a sight to behold, with waterproof trousers at half mast and waddling around in an almost anatine way. The bright sky we had glimpsed amounted to nothing so off we set again and made good progress over Ouse Bridge to Dubwath and then along the dual carriageway to Thornthwaite. Geoff seemed to have a penchant for bus shelters along the way, declaring they weren't big enough for all of us to shelter in though. Now on the back roads we just ambled away through the village, through Braithwaite and back to Keswick. Approx. 19 miles, all sodden wet but smiling still at the end.

On Tuesday 10th November 6 members cycled along the railway line to Threlkeld on an almost (trying very hard) dry and wind free day, quite a difference from the previous day. We met up with 10 other members at the coffee shop and had coffee and a chat about how we were doing and plans for 2016. The group has grown from 9 members when the group started in 2013 to an amazing 47 we have on the list today! welcoming another new member today as well. The weather had deteriorated somewhat after coffee but nevertheless 6 of the group decided to carry on through St. John's in the Vale. the winds had really picked up now, who would have believed that you can peddle furiously and be almost at a standstill. A decision was made and we cut up by Shundraw down past Burns and back onto the railway line. The few miles we did today turned out to be quite exhilarating and we all felt far better to have made the effort and cycled.

The 6 miles or so of the Grasmere to Ambleside section of the Sustrans Route 6 must surely rank as one of the best in the country....especially at this time of the year. On Tuesday 27th October 2015 13 members met on a perfect autumnal day just past The Traveller's Rest. From here we cycled through Grasmere and picked up Route 6 which took us around the back of the lake. We had spectacular views and all around us we had a kaleidoscope of autumn colours. So steadily we went along this new route. Nothing boring here as we tackled the lake shores, bridges, woodland paths winding not only up and down but throwing in a few chicanes, gates, cattle grids and a fair few tourists to contend with too! Once in Ambleside we cycled through the town with aplomb and soon reached Hayes for our coffee. It was such a beautiful day we took over a section of the outdoor terrace and enjoyed the sunshine. Suitable refreshed we returned to our cars the same way. Just a short ride of approx. 14 miles today but thoroughly enjoyable. "the best yet" 1 member proclaimed. We welcomed another new member today and it was good to see some of our original group back with us.

Great route, great weather, great group and great scones. What else could one possible want! On Tuesday 20 th October Cathy C led 15 of us from Roundclose Hill along very quiet country lanes through the hamlets of Brandlingill, Pardshaw, Mockerkin and Lamplugh. This quiet corner of the county really is a joy to cycle through. What fantastic views we had out to the coast and round to the Loweswater and Ennerdale Fells. A whizz down Fangs Brow then a steady amble alongside the tranquil waters of Loweswater soon saw us at the Kirkstile Inn for refreshments. Huge jam and cream scones and great slabs of cake seemed to be wolfed down quite quickly ! Now fortified we were on our way again, picking up the C2C route we cycled through Thackthwaite and Rogerscale to Southwaite Mill. Now the sting in the tail ....... A final steady climb back to our cars. We covered almost 20 miles ( although the energetic Geoff doubled that by cycling over Whinlatter) and 1500 ft of undulating ascent. We welcomed a new member to our group today and also had an overseas guest ! Word is spreading.

What a super bike ride we had today, 13 th October. There was a real autumnal feel to the day when 17 of the group set off from Mungrisdale. With Ann leading and Helen back marking we left the village, skirted around Bowscale Fell, through Mosedale then cut off and cycled along the deserted 5 gated road and on towards Heggle Lane. We carried on through Millhouse and arrived in Hesket New Market for our refreshments. All relatively easy going up to now but that was soon to change. A couple of miles of steady and steepish climbing lay ahead of us, just as well we were carb loaded! Our return to Mungrisdale was a delight, high up above the valley bottom we had superb views of Carrock Fell and Bowscale. Well worth the climb. A great 17 mile ride and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

8 cyclists met on the 29th September at Mungrisdale under a cloudless sky. We travelled across the valley to pick up the Berrier road enjoying fantastic views of the Blencathra range. Crossing the A66 at Beckces we then motored downhill between the 2 Mell Fells to Dockray passing by Gowbarrow on our way to the Royal Inn. Rather large cream scones were consumed here, delicious, but filling as we ascended the long uphill mile towards the coach road end. A stop, halfway up, just to admire the view over Ullswater was much enjoyed. From here it was mostly downhill, but in a very good way, arriving back at the A66 at Troutbeck, then back to our cars. 18.5 miles of sun and views, excellent. Fran led the ride today.

A small group of 8 met in Gosforth for the ride Phil and Cathy had arranged for us on 15th September 2015. We were going to be cycling in an area we hadn't been to before so eagerly leaving the village it wasn't long before we encountered our first major hill! Once this was ascended we followed a very quiet undulating road until we came to the shores of Wast Water. We were then rewarded with spectacular scenery, looking over the lake to the "Screes" then the high fells of Scafell, Scafell Pike, Gt. Gable and Yewbarrow to name a few. We just had a few minutes rest at Wasdale Head then it was off back down the valley and onto Santon Bridge where we stopped for a well earned refreshment break. From here 3 members returned direct to Gosforth whilst the remaining 5 carried on through Holmrook, and out to the coast at Seascale. Just a few more miles saw the group back at Gosforth. A total of approx 27 miles and 2000 feet of ascent and descent. A magnificent route thoroughly enjoyed by all

11 of the group met today 1st September 2015 in Askham. We left the village and headed through Helton, Bampton, Bampton Grange to Shap where we stopped for coffee. Suitably refreshed we cycled along the Main St. to the Wet Sleddale junction and then enjoyed miles upon miles of traffic free cycling taking in the wonderful panoramic views around us. What a difference a few months make, in March we were going to cycle this route but the atrocious sleet/hail etc defeated us. Today though was perfect for cycling. So back to Bampton Grange then we returned to Askham via the Knipe fell road. All in all a glorious day of cycling, almost 22 miles in total. Lorna led the ride today.

A record number of 22 of the group cycled today Tuesday 18th August 2015. We met at Kirkbride and Chris led us to Anthorn and round the Cardurnock peninsula to Bowness-on-Solway. The weather was perfect for cycling and the views over the Solway coast to Scotland and inland to the Lake District were magnificent. After our refreshments we carried on to Port Carlisle then returned to Kirkbride via Easton and Fingland. The roads were almost deserted and were a pleasure to cycle along. A great day out!

17 members met for a ride today, Tuesday 11th August 2015. Meeting at the Portinscale swing bridge we cycled from the village and headed out to Swinside. An optional loop was added in via Skelgill and Stair meeting up again at Little Town. There was no sunshine but the weather was comfortable for cycling in and all the members enjoyed the very scenic route around the Newlands Valley. Thanks to Cathy C for leading the route today.

Existing cyclists will be emailed of routes but if any new members would like to join us keep an eye on the web site for details or contact me via the "contact" button under the cycling heading.The awful wet weather in Keswick deterred some members from turning out today Tuesday 4th August but fortunately in Embleton the weather was just the opposite, a bit blustery but not a drop of rain. So after coffee and home-made cookies 11 of the group set off from the village, up and over Slate Fell and dropped down into Cockermouth. We detoured around by Jennings Brewery and over the bridge where the Cocker and Derwent meet. From the town we carried on through Papcastle and picked up the C2C route to Gt. Broughton. Crossing the A66 we cycled through Brigham and onto Greysouthen and returned to Brigham via Eaglesfield. From Brigham we cycled past the fish farm and again crossed the A66. Just a short whizz down to the Lakes Homecentre for more coffee/cakes/scones etc. We then cycled through the town and up and over Slate Fell again and back to Orchard House. By now the sun was shining and all the group were pleased they managed a cycle ride today.

What a challenging bike ride we had today Tuesday 21st July 2015. Cathy and Phil led 13 of the group from Aira Force along the shores of Ullswater then after passing through Watermillock it was onwards and upwards and upwards! Cycling at heights consistently over 800 ft we certainly had some magnificent views over Ullswater and the surrounding fells. We followed lovely quiet roads to Dacre then onto Penruddock where we stopped for a very welcome refreshment stop. Soon time to move on though and it was back onto quiet country lanes passing through delightful little hamlets. Little Mell Fell was viewed from all angles! At Thorneythwaite we joined the main road and very quickly descended through Dockray and back to Aira Force. The ride was a little over 21 miles and we had an accumulative ascent of 2300 ft. Phew. Little wonder the quads and knuckles had to work overtime. The constant damp in the air didn't deter our spirits and we all agreed it had been a thoroughly enjoyable cycle ride.

We had a short and easy ride today Tuesday 14th July 2015. 13 of the group pootled around Derwentwater, very leisurely, very relaxed and very sociable. Starting in Keswick we cycled clockwise enjoying wonderful sunshine and lovely scenery. It didn't take long to reach Grange where we stopped for tea and cakes, soaking up the sun on the terrace of Grange Cafe. Time to move on though and off we went now having to put in a bit of effort on the hilly sections. As usual the scenery was stunning with boats bobbing about on the lake and majestic Skiddaw in the background. Great downhill sections past Gutherscale and the hairpins, one last pull up by Lingholm then downhill all the way to Portinscale and all to soon we were back in Keswick. A thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours.

14 members met at the Sportsmans Inn on Tuesday 7th July 2015 on a wet and miserable morning. But off we set along Route 71 along the Roman road to Greystoke. Fortunately the rain soon stopped and we all enjoyed cycling in the sunshine for the rest of the way. From Greystoke we cycled through the villages/hamlets of Johnby, Lamonby, Ellonby, Skelton and on to Unthank where we stopped for coffee. The roads we had cycled along were so quiet and peaceful and we were all in awe of all the lovely orchids and meadow plants along the way. After our break we carried on along route 71 through Little Blencow and returned to the start via Greystoke and Motherby. 2 guests had joined us for the cycle ride. Back at the Inn several of us had a very sociable lunch sitting outside enjoying the sunshine. Ann led the ride today.

Our 2nd annual cycle ride around Blencathra and Skiddaw took place on Tuesday 23rd June 2015. What a fantastic ride we had, 17 members completed the whole route whilst 3 others did parts of it. Leaving the Leisure Pool our group must have looked a spectacular sight as we made out way along the railway line to Threlkeld. We made good progress to the Mill Inn at Mungrisedale for our first stop and then from there had a very pleasant ride round by Mosedale, Hesket-New-Market and Caldbeck. Apart from farmers going about their everyday work the roads were so quiet and a pleasure to cycle along. We stopped again at the Longlands junction for our picnic lunch then off we went, almost all downhill past Overwater to Bassenthwaite. A detour round by Scarness to cut off the A591 and we were soon at the OldSawmill for a well deserved refreshment stop. Only a few miles to go now to complete the round back to Keswick. The weather was very kind to us, dry all day, a little overcast but lots of sunshine too. A perfect day and great company. We welcomed one new member to our group too.

Just a short and easy ride today, Tuesday 16th June 2015, although 6 members cycled to the start and had already done 5/6 miles! 13 of us set off from near Sandhills Farm and cycled to Bassenthwaite village via St. Bega's and Scarness. It was a very quiet road and some good downhill to start off with. From the village we went along North Row to Castle Inn and then over Ouse Bridge to the Lakes Distillery where we stopped for our break. It was so lovely sitting outside in the courtyard having our coffee, the weather was kind to us today. After refreshments we did a loop round by Dubwath and the sailing club then re-traced our route back to the start.....finishing off by having to go up the hills we had effortlessly cycled down at the start! Just 12 miles (double that for those who'd cycled to the start) along some lovely quiet roads. A very pleasant morning.

10 members met up and had a great circular ride today Tuesday 9th June 2015. From Staveley we followed Route 6 out of the village and headed through Burneside and onto Kendal. There was no need to go through the town centre as there are excellent cycle paths to skirt around the town. We carried on through Natland and Sedgewick and then stopped off for coffee/cake etc at Sizergh Castle. Fully refreshed we now headed into some really lovely countryside surrounding the Lyth Valley. We returned to Staveley having cycled through the very charming little hamlets of Brigsteer, Underbarrow and Crook. Just one slight mishap when Frank got a puncture, but it was a lovely day so we were all quite happy to hang around whilst it was fixed. More drinks and cakes (plus a sausage butty for one!) at Wilfs cafe rounded off a super 24 mile route.

It was a perfect day for cycling and ten members turned up for a lovely ride from Cockermouth School through Embleton to the Castle Inn on Tuesday 26th May 2015. As this is a social group the coffee and cakes are important and Castle Inn's offerings had to be seen to be believed. Coffee and hot water in urns were waiting for us in the conservatory, and a huge spread of freshly baked scones with jam and clotted cream and various mouth watering cakes too.Very hard to get back on the bikes and cycle back over Ouse Bridge past the new distillery on the Isel road back to Cockermouth. Having put on pounds some of the hills were a lot steeper than they should have been!

8 of the group met on Tuesday 19th May just up above Uldale. The skies were grey and the wind was very "windy!" but fortunately it was dry when we set off towards Caldbeck. After a mile or so we turned off the road and did a loop through by Branthwaite and Fellside . Had a good long run down to Caldbeck where we stopped for coffee and cake etc. Back on our bikes for the return and what a head wind we had to battle against. It was slow going up the gradual ascent but we made it back to our cars feeling very invigorated. And just one short burst of heavyish rain. This was a thoroughly enjoyable bike ride on lovely quiet roads and just 11 miles in total.

On 12th May a roup of cyclists followed a route, led by Bill in West Cumberland which was in stark contrast to our usual countryside routes. Starting from the Melbreak Hotel we went through the pit village of Clifton to Camerton Church then via Seaton to Workington taking in a view of Siddick Ponds nature reserve. Then it was up to Moorclose where the route had been blocked by someone building a brand new Fire Station. Having found our way round, it was along the old railway line via Harrington, Distington and Lowca to Parton. The Old Coach Road provided the only level route into Whitehaven and its historic harbour. After a well deserved tea and cake break sitting outside in the sunshine and overlooking the wonderful harbour we retraced the route to Distington then followed the cycle path alongside the A595 back to the start. Distance about 25 miles only 2 difficult hills but a strong headwind on the way out.

On 5th May 4 members of the group met in Hawick ready for the two day "4 Borders Abbeys" cycle ride. We set off in pouring rain out of the town on a quiet "B" road and after several miles joined the proper route. Not long after disaster struck, Barbara managing to cycle over the only thorn on the road so for the men it was all hands to repair the puncture whilst Barbara took command from under an umbrella. Successfully repaired we were on our way again and arrived in Melrose very wet but happy (ish). Lunch was by the Abbey and hot drinks lifted our spirits. The weather improved as we continued but a bit of bad route signage sent us on the wrong road thus making us miss Dryburgh Abbey! A minor set back but the rest of the afternoon went pleasantly by and we eventually arrived at the half way point of Kelso, 38.50 miles so far. Day two dawned bright and sunny so off we set out of the town past the Abbey and Floors Castle and on towards Jedburgh. Following the river we were rewarded with sightings of deer, buzzards,a hare plus magnificient views over the rolling countryside. Lunch was taken by Jedburgh Abbey and then we were off again to complete the ride. Apart from a brief hail shower the weather couldn't have been better. A final refreshment stop at the Jammy Coo for afternoon drinks then on the bikes for the last 8 miles into Hawick. Phil had encountered a snapped spoke on his rear wheel so had to take it easy for the last few miles. Arrived into Hawick at 4 pm, 37 + miles done, a total of just over 75 miles in the two days. 4 cyclists were very happy to have done the challenge. Well done David, Frank, Phil and Barbara

It did not bode well when we had a heavy hailstorm at 8 on the morning of our bike ride Tuesday 28th April 2015 but 10 of the group met at Pooley Bridge and actually had a really good day, a bit breezy and cold... but fine all the time. Sylvia led us along the east side of Ullswater and we quickly got to Howtown. From there we had the very steep ascent between Hallin Fell and Steel Knotts and were rewarded at the top with magnificent views of the snow covered fells. We then cycled the length of Martindale Valley to Dale Head returned to the start of the valley then on up the next valley following the Boredale Beck as far as Boredale Head. Back down the valley again, now with the wind behind us back through Howtown and into Pooley Bridge for a very welcome hot drink..... plus scones, cake, bacon butties, sausage butties.....mmmmmm.

What a delightful cycle ride we had today Tuesday 21st April 2015. Our route was round the back of Thirlmere and we could not have picked a better day. The sun was shining, the lake as calm as calm could be and the reflections of the mountains were superb. 8 members thoroughly enjoyed this leisurely ride, made even better by the level profile and relative absence of traffic. Just 12 miles, (although some members added an extra 8 miles on by starting in Threlkeld and 3 cycled even more by starting in Keswick/Portinscale) but an absolute gem.

There was a lot of cloud about, very breezy too but thankfully it was neither wet nor cold for our cycle ride around the Lorton valley on Tuesday 14th April 2015. 12 members, including 1 new one and 1 guest set off down the hill to Southwaite Mill and then on through Rogerscale to Low Lorton. Here we picked up C2C route 71 and cycled through the lovely hamlet of Thackthwaite and on towards Loweswater. We stopped at the village hall to look at the Millenium Plaque then on past the Kirkstile and round by High and Low Park before ascending Scalehill. We stopped off for coffee at New House Farm and then back onto the road to Lorton. We detoured to cycle through High Lorton first stopping to see the Millenium Yew then onto the village hall, the original home of Jennings beers. Also saw the famous Lorton Yew made famous by Wordsworth. Just 3 more miles and we were soon back at our starting point. A thoroughly enjoyable bike ride through stunning scenery and just over 14 miles.

20 plus exhilarating miles of cycling were covered on Tuesday 31st March 2015 9 hardy lads and lasses met at Askham and after a good few minutes of sitting in cars watching the hail we decided that seeing as we were here we might as well got on with it, so all togged up off we went. Out of the village towards Bampton where we saw the first glimpse on an elusive sun. What weather we had,a whole gamut, sunshine, rain, hail, sleet, snow, blizzards and wind but nothing dampened our spirits and we soon reached Shap where we dis-robed and enjoyed hot drinks, pasties, cakes and scones. It was still sunshining when we left the village so carried on towards Wet Sleddale, but by now the wind was picking up (50 mph winds were forecast!)so rather than cycling on a route high and exposed we erred on the cautious side and just returned the way we came. With just 3 miles or so from Askham we were hit by a blizzard sweeping across, talk about cheap exfoliation of the skin, those hailstones were fierce! We had some fantastic views over towards Haweswater and the snow capped High Street range and surrounding fells. Mad, or what?? but we all thoroughly enjoyed the outing. Thanks to Lorna for devising the route and leading.

10 members met for the cycle ride on Tuesday 17th March 2015. We had a very pleasant ride through the villages under Skiddaw and got to Bassenthwaite after an hour. 2 more members joined us here. The next section was challenging and adventurous as we huffed and puffed up the Rake and cycled through fields at High Bewaldeth. After a good downhill section and a short while along the 591 we reached Bothel Craggs for a VERY welcome break. Good to see Frank here too. The route back to Dubwath was via Sunderland and Isel, very quiet country lanes. At Dubwath we took to the lake shore then had an uneventful amble back to Keswick via Thornthwaite and Braithwaite. What a great day to be out, we saw primroses, lambs, curlews and frogspawn .... a sign that spring is around the corner. 30 miles completed and all enjoyed the route.

6 members met at the Leisure Pool on 3rd March 2015 and cycled along the railway line to Threlkeld. Passing through the village we carried on along past the kennels and then up the A66 to Scales. Here we crossed over the A66 and cycled via Guardhouse and Stoneraise to Hutton Moor End. Again crossing the A66 we then cycled along to the Mill Inn at Mungrisdale for coffee stop. After refreshments we returned to Threlkeld via the fell road and then back along the railway line to Keswick

A smaller group of 13 turned out today to cycle the circular route around the Newlands Valley on 17th February 2015. This route is one of the groups' favourites, not many miles in total but for the scenery it can't really be beaten. Going anti-clockwise there were quite a few hills to huff and puff up and then a good run down from Swinside for a welcome hot drink at the end at the Chalet.

We welcomed a new member to our cycling group on Tuesday 3rd February 2015 and so a total of 19 set off from Keswick to cycle into the Borrowdale Valley. Temperatures were below freezing but what a superb day it was. It didn't take long to cycle to Seathwaite where we admired the stunning scenery around us. Back as far as Longthwaite YH where we were ready for a hot drink and cake. From there we continued on down the valley and at Grange 4 members returned directly to Keswick whilst the remainder detoured around the back of the lake. Again we were rewarded with beautiful views of Derwentwater with a skimming of ice on it and the surrounding fells. We had to take care on the hairpins because of the ice but once that was negotiated it was a lovely run down past Lingholm, through Portinscale and back to Keswick. A fabulous day.

It was -2 degrees when 19 members met for a cycle ride on Tuesday 20th Jan 2015. Bitterly cold! Despite of all the snow and ice, conditions were actually very good on the railway line as we made our way to Threlkeld. 3 members stopped here for coffee and the remainder carried on through St. Johns in the Vale and had a welcome hot drink and cake at Low Bridge End. By now the sun was out, blue skies above us and we had a very pleasant journey back to Keswick marvelling at the snow clad fells around us. Despite the cold all agreed that it had been a superb bike ride.

Not good weather for the start of 2015, but 12 members met at the Leisure Pool on Tuesday 6th January 2015 for just a short cycle ride around Derwentwater. It is a perfect time for cycling around our lake as it is a very quiet time of year. Cycling clock-wise the only strenuous section was going up past Manesty. A few stops to admire the views were welcomed! With all the hard work out of the way it was (more or less) downhill all the way and a stop in Portinscale for a hot drink was enjoyed. Thoroughly drenched at the end............but the first ride completed.