2013
08.09

Walking York

MONDAY 15 JULY.

Breakfast in the ‘downstairs’ part of this elegant house. It was lovely and we did our best before setting off to walk into York.

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York - looking towards the Minster

First stop a tour of the York Minster; built between 1291 and 1350, it is magnificent. Huge pillars hold a lofty soaring ceiling, but it is still very light and spacious, with magnificent carvings and stained glass windows. Enjoyed the tour with a local who had a very dry wit. Then we climbed the 275 tiny twisting stairs up an ever narrowing turret to get to the top of the tower where we could walk around outside. A long way down, but a view for miles.

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Tight steps in the Minster

Down again to the ‘Undercroft’ where there was a fascinating display of the structure and archaeology. In the 1990s when they had to do some urgent underpinning of the tower, they discovered the site of the early Roman fortress in the area (70-300AD), then the Viking remnants, and finally the earliest Norman presence. Fascinating. At the end of all that was the original York Gospel, AD 1000. Wow!

Nice to emerge into the sunshine and have quite a lengthy walk along the top of the old city walls, from Petersgate to Monks gate. Some quite intimate views into back gardens and buildings. Finally a last stroll through the ‘Shambles’, the network of little streets with the original tiny medieval shops. Not a McDonalds or Westfield shopping center to be had in this town!  Great ice creams, the rhubarb one was the best.

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2013
07.31

Mechanical coniptions

Both our bikes agree kept in good condition, by me, and in the run up to our tour I went through each from stem to stern, bearings, cables, changers, tyres lights were all checked, serviced or replaced as necessary. Both bikes had new chains, that is on chain for Jane’s bike and three for the recumbent. Jane’s bike had me chainrings and a cluster. Mine were OK. We carried Prolink chain lube and cleaned the chains with a rag before applying the Prolink. If I can do this at the end of a day I wipe any excess off the chain the next morning. As we covered some grubby ground I often word the chains down at the end of the day and kept an eye on the hockey wheels to make sure they didn’t get too grungy.

Jane had new brake blocks before the trip and in the Avid 1Ds they seem tho require little adjustment. My recumbent has BB7 disks and if used heavily I find they need adjusting Evey fee hundred km. I don’t know how long I’ve had this set of pads and carried a spare pair, just in case.

We probably had about seven kilos in each of our rear pannier bags and discovered that the rough roads caused welds to fail on both racks.

We both ran Schwalbe Durano tyres and have found them to be a reliable, comfortable choice. We carried folding spare tyres and tubes. We had no punctures in or time away.

2013
07.31

Over the moors – up, over and down!

Saturday 13 July.

We woke early so walked around Whitby, then up the 199 steps to see the ruined Abbey, partially destroyed in the 13th century.

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Bram Stoker was inspired to write ‘Dracula’ after visiting it. Whitby is a real holiday seaside town, but also famous for being the port where Captain Cook left from, in the Endeavor. Monuments abound.

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Then off on the bikes again. It was good to be in the country, up hill and down dale, lovely little lanes and great paddocks of wheat. Had a proper ‘ploughman’s lunch’ at an 18 th century pub and sped off down the hill, over the river, then up and up and up until we were pushing the bikes.

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Ploughman's lunch - skipped the onion

This was the way to the North Yorkshire Moors. It was hard, but it was great to be up at the top where the sky was huge, the heather was blooming, sun shining and wind following. Lots of hard riding, 5 hours to do 40 kms, but we felt strong and enjoyed it.

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Steeply up to the moors

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Finally rolled into the tiny ancient village of Appleton-le-Moor and our room in the 17th century pub. A gorgeous room under the eaves on the second floor. Showered, changed and in the bar in record time for our pint and Pimms, then a jolly nice evening meal.

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Room under roof at Appleton-le-Moors

>We wandered around the village which is one of the best known examples of a planned village in England, and dates from late 12th to early 13th century. Amazing. Couldn’t believe the sheep wandering up and down the main street, grazing on the grass verges.

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Sheep and red Tardis, main street Appleton

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2013
07.31

Cook’s country

Friday 12 July.

Up and away to ride to Whitby.  We enjoyed the first half, through lovely little villages where the stone cottages were now more golden stone like the Cotswolds and there were a lot more Georgian style buildings.  Had a hearty lunch at a farm shop/cafe. It was just wonderful. Love listening to all the different accents. 

Great Aryton, Captain Cook’s birthplace was gorgeous, houses with glorious gardens basking in the sun beside a clear, shallow little river. But the day got hotter and the riding got harder. We decided to catch the train to Whitby, from the little village of Commondale.

First, find the station. It was some way out of the village, along a public bridle path and across a field. Seemed strange to have it in such a remote spot. When we got on, there was a jolly group in the carriage, having a picnic and glasses of wine and beer.

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On the community train to Whitby

They were interested in the bikes and Peter’s Audax jersey and explained they would be going back and forth on the train all evening because when it stopped at Whitby, a band and a bar would be set up on the train, and there would be a grand sing along for everyone. They were very funny.

We were glad to get off and make our way up the East Cliff to ‘The Town House’ B&B. Why were we on the third floor again? But we had a great views, a good meal and enjoyed it.

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Whitby, a tightly beautiful seaside village

Rode 63 kms that day.

Jane

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2013
07.31

LEL rider tracking

A small bunch of Australians started LEL. The links below go to the tracking system as a convenience for me not to have to keep typing numbers.

Michael Bentley

Kerri-Ann Smith

Pat Lehane

Simon Maddison

Peter Mathews

Martin Pearson

Danny Rock

Barry Stevenson

A few others are shown below

Jean-Gualbert Faburel

Judith Swallow

David Minter

Julian Dyson

Susan Otcenas

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2013
07.25

Ambleside to Ullswater (the other route love Kirkstone Pass)

Wed 10 July’ Thurs 11

Up to have another hearty English breakfast in our room, then pack and on the bikes. A cooler day thank goodness, but fine as we did our last ride along the lakeside. Then the climb up to Kirkstone pass! It was lovely going past all the farms, then it got higher and steeper and wilder looking. We pushed the bikes up the last steep bit to the 1348m mark (have done a bit of laden bike pushing – P), and, behold – a pub at the top! It was quite cool by now so we rushed in and revived ourselves with coffee and hot buttered teacakes, spread with homemade rum butter and jam.

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Pub offers beer and got buttered tea cake with tea or coffee too

What a great rush down the other side, into the green valleys again until we reached Lake Ullswater. Suddenly we were diverted by the ‘Steamer’ sign and in no time were sitting in the bows, gliding over the glassy water, admiring the fells, the camping grounds and number of people out walking the steep paths. From the end, it was lovely riding through pretty farming country and tiny villages to Penrith.

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Ullswater ferries abound

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Wind swept tourist on Ullswater

Ullswater

Next adventure, train to Carlisle (10 min) change to go to Newcastle, then change for last leg to Durham. Enjoying the train trips, they are very smooth and comfortable. Then on the bikes to find the Moor End B&B, dinner at the local pub (good Pimms) and sleep well.

The room there was on the 3rd floor, up under the eaves, and filled with decorative glassware, mirror ware, welcome and love signs. Breakfast next morning was in over decorated room with red and white chintz everywhere, but it was the best hot English breakfast yet, with, oh joy, a pot of real coffee. Debbie and Martin were the nicest people.

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Big trains! Fast and comfortable

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Local trains are excellent too

Then, the bus to Durham and what an amazing sight to see the castle and cathedral rising above the trees on the high ground up from the river. Those buildings and their immediate vicinity are now UNESCO World Heritage classified and it is spectacular. William the Conqueror started building the castle in 1072. The cathedral was built in an amazing 40 years and finished in 1096, then additions were made over the centuries. It is vast inside, soaring 66m high, massive pillars, wonderful windows, 2m thick walls. Glad we had the guided tour to learn more about it.

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A short break then on to see the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition in the University Library. The Gospels were completed sometime around 800AD so it was wonderful to see them in an exhibition which put them in context with the history, and Durham at the time.

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Publicity logo for Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition

Had time for lunch, then a guided tour of the Castle. What a marvelous place – it now belongs to the University and students can board there. One of the students was our tour guide, she was excellent. The ancient choir stalls in the chapel were the setting for the Gringotts bank in one of the Harry Potter films.

Topped off the day by going back to the Cathedral in the evening to see a performance of “The Sixteen”. They are a group of world famous Medieval choristers and Peter was beside himself that we could get tickets for 10 pounds each. Sitting in that wonderful building, listening to such pure singing was spine tingling. Celebrated with a fine Italian meal, then rushed to catch the last bus back.

Jane

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2013
07.25

Kirkstone Pass

Tuesday 9 July.

A rest day and wander around Ambleside day for Jane. Peter set off to ride up the Kirkstone Pass which is our route to Penrith tomorrow. Our host and hostess had warned us it was steep, even the local maps had named the last section ‘The Struggle’. When he returned it was obvious that it would not be a route for us with our bags. Good to have time to work out an alternative route.

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Armit Library, Ambleside

So we strolled into our little village again and spent an hour at the Armitt museum and gallery. There was a wonderful Beatrix Potter exhibition of her early life. She was a very talented botanical illustrator and prepared a paper on fungi for presentation to the Linnean Society. She also supported the work of local archaeologists as they excavated an ancient Roman fort here. It was occupied until 370AD. Some artefacts from there were on display. Then, we really enjoyed the upstairs library, lots of lovely oak furniture, old books and an early copy on vellum of a King James bible (17th century). I was amazed at the huge size of it.

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Looking down The Struggle - it was!

Hot day by now, last dinner outside at the Glass House, watching the birds, then people on the roof. The English!

Jane

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2013
07.25

Ambling around the Lakes.

Monday 8th.

Slept well, bit still wake up soon after 6.00am because it is so light. Had a good breakfast in our room and set off to ride the unladen bikes to Lake Grasmere. 

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Road a bit busy but countryside is gorgeous. After several stops for photos, we reached Dove Cottage, the home of William Wordsworth, his sister Dorothy, then his wife Mary and 3 of their 4 children. He used to walk in the country, or sit in the garden and compose his poems in his head. Then he would come on and dictate them to Dorothy or Mary, because he hated the handwriting process. Then there was the editing. It is amazing such a tiny 17thcentury little stone cottage still exists.

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Home made Dursley Pedersen clone

Spotted this very homemade Dursley clone at Dove Cottage. Obviously well used – P

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Dove Cottage

After lunch at the cafe there we rode on and up and up until we reached the Drunken Duck pub at the top of the hill. It was time for a welcome pot of tea and rest in the shade. I was surprised at how warm and humid it had become.

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We pressed on and up and finally reached Hill Top Farm, where Beatrix Potter used to live. She left the cottage and its furnishings to the National Trust, so it is a gorgeous little time capsule from the early 20th century. (Actual building is 17th century).

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Hills near the Drunken Duck

The garden was lovely and there were bunny rabbits in the home field much to the delight of all the Japanese tourists. A generation ago Japanese children were taught to read English from BPs little books.

Finally, we sped down the last hills to Hawkshead where we caught the ferry across the lake to Bowness-on-Windemere. Peter was strong and decided to ride all the way back. I was tired and caught the next ferry back to Ambleside. He got back first!  Only a 40k day of riding forJane.

We went out to dinner at a different restaurant; nice,but the Pimms wasn’t as good as the Glass House the previous night. Really enjoy the walk up the hill through the woods to The Howes B & B.

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Woodland approach to Howes b&b.

Jane

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2013
07.25

To Ambleside by bike and boat

Sunday 7.

Up and away in good time after another hearty breakfast and my first taste of black pudding. Not a breakfast taste for me. (Or me, but I have since had it in a derlicious risotto, P)

Rode the 30 kms to Windermere, but the road got narrower and the traffic got heavier, so we moved on to plan B and caught the boat up the lake to Ambleside. Best decision, only 25 minutes, not long enough, it was calm and superb. The Lake is 12 miles long and a mile across at the widest point. It is dotted with little islands, was that Wildcat Island?  It was good having a commentary to point out the amazing pikes and fells and high peaks – all such incredible shapes.

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On lake Windemere

As we were negotiating our way up the steep hill through Ambleside, we were hailed by a cyclist wearing the same Australian Audax cycling jersey as Peter! It was Julian who lives here and had been to Melbourne to do the GSR last year. There was a lot of chortling, they will meet again on the LEL.

The Howes BnB here is lovely with a beautiful garden and a magnificent dogwood in full bloom at the front door.  It is on a quiet little road, we saw little robin redbreasts when we were walking in to go to dinner. Ambleside is amazing, lots of old slate colored stone buildings. Had a wonderful meal and bottle of Spanish white in the courtyard of a fine restaurant where it was still warm and sunny at 9.00pm

Jane

PS/ At the restaurant we were discussing pre-dinner drinks. Jane scored the most spectacular Pims, c freshly chopped fruit and mint picked by the waitress on he way to fulfill the order.  I had a local beer – not bad either, P

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2013
07.06

Out of the Peaks to Kendall

Saturday 6 July. 

Enjoyed our breakfast again, packed and left in quite warm sunshine, need lots of sunscreen. Rolling through lovely little villages again, then up a bridle path through the fields to get off the main road. It got steeper, we had to push the bikes to the top, but oh what a view! The hedges have been replaced by low dry stone walls now, which are lower and Peter can see over them.

Lots more up and down riding and the day was quite warm when we stopped for lunch at the ‘No car cafe’ behind Rushdon Hall. Superb !

Soon chatting to another cyclist there and he suggested a change in route to avoid the traffic. We rode along the tops for a while (just loving it) and then down a long VERY steep little road into the tiny hamlet of Edale to catch the train there. Watched lots of people setting off with packs to go walking up these lovely green hills. Chatted to a man waiting there and he identified buzzards and jackdaws for us. Every day, something new – it is wonderful.

On the train, the conductor sold us tickets to Manchester, where we changed for Kendal. Train travelling is very smooth and comfortable. We were here at the BnB by 6.00pm and later walked along beside the clear shallow river into town. Had a wonderful Italian meal and bottle of red wine at the Infusion restaurant.

Jane

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