got an early train to Carlisle the other day. It was the 06:30 though, later than the 04:55 we had arrived on a chilly platform for. Bring an extra layer for those train cancellations fellow travellers!
understanding train staff on an overbiked train made sure we got there though. We had breakfast in the sunshine outside the station and got some supplies for the day ahead.
Komoot led us on rolling quiet roads and tracks crossing the M6 motorway and into the hills. Turning right and heading South we followed some of the South Tyne Trail to Alston, watch out for the section around Lambley Viaduct – a short road detour will save you hoiking your bike up and down a thousand steps. We remembered we’d done the same a few years ago, only once we were in the middle of it of course!
The cafe in the middle of Alston seems to have gone 😟so we hit the SPAR / petrol station for lunch and sat around down in the trees by the river with Olive giving the local wildlife a watchful eye.
A quick road section took us onto the quiet road linking loop to Garrigill and the loose gravelly climb up onto Cross Fell. Pushed and rolled on for a bit and stopped somewhere around Lambgreen Hills for a long nap – once we’d set up and crashed out the rain came and didn’t stop for 12 hours
One of the benefits of poochpacking™ is that their little legs can only trot so far and their bums can only take so much basket time. So, we waited for the rain to stop and headed out late!
just 2k down the trail is Greg’s Hut bothy – now, according to this www.gregshut.org.uk it was supposed to be shut for refurb, that will now take place later in the year, so us and a few others could share banter over breakfast that morning. The drop of the front of the hill is just great – flowing grass tracks interspersed with rocky bits and marshy stuff designed to confuse and throw you off track. Then it opens up into landcover track and down to the road into Blencarn. Not much here but a bench to snack on.
Onwards! to a reminder to check the route that you download from some random on the internet, grrr. Another lesson learnt ;o) Then off through more quiet roads, horsefair traffic and more police presence than we usually see even in Manchester, not sure if those two things were connected…
After a pizza stop ( Olive ate her own weight ) in Kirkby Stephen we doodled down towards Garsdale in the warm evening sun. It’s always a warm sticky evening when there’s a climb involved, eh? A push, spin and grunt up the Coal Road and onwards into a stiff headwind on Dent Fell where we called it a day on the sheltered side of a dry stone wall near Newby Head. Sheep bleet and howling wind competing for top noise trumps
Early start to vacate our smelly but sheltered camp spot we rolled down through Sunday morning light traffic roads and into Settle via familiar 3 Peaks Cyclocross territory of Ribblehead, Horton and Helwith Bridge. The cafe in the middle of Settle was about the only place open but that wasn’t a bad thing at all! A slow push with full bellies up onto the Pennine Bridleway gravel route towards Long Preston and then the ‘hell of gates’ that follows between there and Gisburn. More cafe ;o)
Up and over Weets Hill ( views!! ) to drop into Burnley and pick up the winding but useful Leeds to Liverpool canal to circumnavigate the busy roads. Came off there at a cafe of course ( Finsley Gate Wharf, not a bad stop off if you’re passing thru ) to make our way up past Burnley Wood and onto Deerplay Moor, home of the Singing Ringing Tree – down hill all the way home from there…!!
Would’ve taken longer over this route give the sights & views but given the weather forecast we traded more basket time for dry weather and blue skies. Lots of familiar places, new ones too and some alternative routes discovered for future adventure planning.