Day 10: Hazelslack to Hesket Newmarket

Total mileage: 52
Terrain: Hills – Very challenging with many steep climbs

All of us had been very excited about the Lakes and the terrain ahead.  The campsite at Hazelslack, although it smelt of crap occasionally, was very comfortable.  We felt rested and ready for the day ahead.

We headed up to Windermere, passing along the lake side.  The weather, which had looked so promising, began to look more oppressive.  Dark clouds rolled in and the undulating landscape all combined to make us think twice about our destination point for the day.

We stopped in Ambleside for a large lunch and missed the short rain storm.  The food was good, the weather got much better and we all felt really up beat.  Next, we headed north, towards Kendal.

We had to climb perhaps the single toughest hill of the entire Le Jog trip to get there however.  The continual uphill was unrelenting.  Bathed in sweat, we reached the top of the hill to be greeted with a fantastic view of the surrounding countryside and the promise of a long downhill stretch.

Taking a small B road to the north east to avoid Kendal, we travelled along one of my top 3 roads for the whole trip.  The scenery was just fantastic.  Thereafter, we started heading due north through the hills and away from the A roads.  We ended up going through a system of gates to keep sheep within the farmer’s enclosures, all of which added more flavour to the day’s cycling.

Eventually, the rain storms caught up with us again as we were about 5 miles south of Hesket Newmarket.  In an attempt not to be soaked, we cycled at full pelt downhill.  I managed to catch up with a wasp, indeed ramming it from behind.  This ended up with the bloody thing stinging me and being stuck in my chest.  Really unpleasant…

That evening, we stayed in a barn at the end of a 3 mile driveway.  The farmer’s wife, Judy, was really friendly and cooked us a lovely meal, evening giving us a bottle of wine.  It really made our day – definitely one of my favourite days of the cycle ride.

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.