Right, to business then. Having slept on the games room floor at Coddington, the morning pack up was easy. I was bit short of breakfast but a muesli bar, some dried apricots and mango, and drink would see me right to the first cooked breakfast I could find en route, so I was on the road by half 7-ish.
It was to be a 57 mile day into the Peak District today, not (as planed) to Edale YHA as they were full up, or indeed to Castleton YHA because likewise. Instead, I was left with pretty much no option but a nice comfy B and B - a well deserved treat, I figured, after the nightmare of the day before. Not to be made a habit of, you understand, but just this once...
I found by breakfast easily enough, and the day progressed really smoothly. Despite being convinced I was destined for many steep climbs as I approached the Peaks, all I seemed to find was gently rolling countryside. Just my style! Needless to say, as Castleton drew ever closer, the hills did get more intense, but the biggest of all proved to be a down hill on the back of a long drawn-out climb (which, after a great deal of experimentation, is my preferred type of climb, it has to be said), which positively threw me at some terrifying warp speed down a narrow, high-sided gully into Castleton itself. It's actually a well known bit of road, especially locally, and I remembered driving through it a few years ago, but its name escapes me for the moment.
The B and B was fantastic. Super friendly hosts who I found thanks to a different B and B, which was full when I phoned to book, doing the running around on my behalf, and finding me a vacant room and making the booking for me! The owners let me at their computer for route planning etc, and I managed to squeeze in
a blog entry (the one to Llanberis), so all was so much better than the day before. My positive attitude was being restored.
I knew the next day was likely to be a bit tough, as it was up through the middle of the Peaks, popping out at Hebden Bridge. the weather and winds were not too bad though, and I defy anyone to travel through the Peak District and remain grumpy. OK, I packed a bit of a sad on some of the hills, but basically, its such a beautiful place that you can't stay mad at it for long. I kept finding tiny villages plonked on the tops of hills, reached by old-style cobbled roads. Clearly, the current inhabitants were - quite rightly - proud of the originality of the road surface, but I was slightly put out that the road builders of the past had neglected to consider cyclists of the future! And, of course, a last ditch mountain to climb to get me to Hebden Bridge was my own fault - there was a perfectly serviceable low road, which I'd opted to avoid in the planning stages, so I have, once again, only myself to blame for the strenuous push to the top, followed by a road so steep down that, in the morning, I wheeled the bike to the bottom as I wasn't confident I could control a full scale, gravity assisted descent before even turing a pedal!
|Hebden Bridge - a long way down some very steep roads!|
Day 14 Castleton to Hebden Bridge by SteveMcM at Garmin Connect - Details
|Ye Olde Clapham - not the flash-harry London one.|
The next day's ride to Low Wray was another battle with the wind, and in all honesty I kept checking my route to see if I could cheat and take a more direct line than the optimistic one I'd plotted in the secure environs of the kitchen table. At the time, my sense of adventure and lack of common sense had led me to choose exciting, remote looking roads, but the reality of extremely tired legs and bad weather was pushing me - reluctantly - towards modifications. I'd identified a fork in the road that would allow me to head up to an A-road for a faster run in to Windermere and the ferry across the lake to Low Wray, but somehow, with head down and more and more sun on my back, I suddenly found myself heading down to the ferry at Lake Windermere. I have no idea where the miles went to, but I wasn't complaining! Well, not about that, anyway. I was complaining about the ferry not running due to the wind (while at the same time feeling justified that the wind must have been strong enough to be complaining about earlier!), and began the detour round the top of the lake to approach the camp site from the other direction. It was then that I decided to phone tomorrow's hostel and see if they had space tonight, thinking I could go straight there. They did, and so I did, which added a few miles to my day's ride, but saved me a night of camping and opened up the opportunity to ride the big passes the next day without baggage. Straight to Grasmere and Thorney How Hostel it was, then, and just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend.
|Lake district traffic jam at Grasmere|