Day 9: Ecclestone to Hazelslack

Total mileage: 61
Terrain: Hills – Fast paced A road riding

The start of the day meant getting away from Ecclestone and all the grim areas around that part of the UK.  However, once we were on the go, our mood rapidly increased as we hit pretty countryside and fast A roads.  The traffic was generally quite accommodating and gave us a wide birth.  We cranked up the speed and managed to bash out the miles really quickly along the smooth tarmac.  The sunny weather was back and the going remained good all day.

Although there was a good canal path, The Lancaster Canal, which we had originally planned to join at Garstang, the roads were so good, we continued on to Lancaster.  From here, we eventually joined the canal and cycled north as far as we could, ending up in a bizarre estate, where the path just fizzled out.

From here, we rejoined the A roads and made haste as we all wanted to make it to the Lake District by evening.  I had been hard selling how beautiful the Lakes were and they did not disappoint.  Our only issue was that we had to visit several campsites until we could find a pitch.  We ended up having a free pitch due to a very generous campsite owner and our charity ride status.

All in all, after the blandness of the previous day, today’s cycle ride was green, pleasant, fast and memorable.  Definitely a good cycle ride.  The promise of the Lakes was only slightly marred in the knowledge that I knew the terrain would get touch with all those mountains and hills to cross!

I ended the day rewarding myself with a few games of Sudoku.

Day 8: Kelsall to Ecclestone

Total mileage: 55
Terrain: Hills – Easy but dull urban cycling

Having an easy day was a good way to easy off especially as I had been feeling ropey.  My knee continued to be a source of continual concern a it was quite painful as the day ran its course.  Mary was in much the same state.  Pete however, seemed to be resilient in all but his behind.  That said, we were all suffering a little as the Brooks saddles had not yet broken in comfortably.

Today’s cycling was pretty non-descript really.  We cycled through a lot of urban landscape, most of which was pretty grim.  We got lost crossing the Mersey and were helped out by a lovely guy called Jimmy.  He guided over the river at Runcorn and told us the way to go, to avoid the downtown sprawl north of there.  Unfortunately, this was advice we all thought the other had listened to as we got hopelessly lost.  Eventually, we spoke with an AA guy talking his lunch break who told us the best route.

Overall, the day was perhaps one of the most forgettable of the entire trip.  We stopped in Ecclestone and stayed in a B&B.  Most of the day was spent looking at grim scenery and cycling through depressed urban landscapes.