Ride to Mallerstang, via Ais Gill Cottages, Sunday 13th May 2018

Eleven riders turned out on Sunday for our annual ride to Mallerstang. Starting from Devils Bridge, the main road was taken, with some opting for the Barbon route but all made the coffee stop at Farfield Mill OK. 

Taking the Garsdale road in glorious sunshine, the normal peace enjoyed on this route was occasionally shattered by fast moving groups of motorcycles and sports cars, but all safely arrived at Garsdale Head. Here Frank and Ruth took the Coal Road route for Dentdale, whilst we proceeded up to the Cumbria/Yorkshire border at Ais Gill cottages. A very pleasant picnic lunch was enjoyed by the waterfall on the upper Eden river.

Passing by the highest point on the Settle to Carlisle, with magnificent views of Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang Edge, we took the narrow road over Birkett Common at Pendragon Castle. The cool air and sunshine made for splendid views of Cross Fell and the northern Pennines as we descended to join the A683 to Sedbergh. By taking the narrow high road past Cold Keld and Fell End, some of the main road was avoided and then it was a case of swooping down to Sedbergh for a welcome warm brew.

Opting for the main Middleton road, we headed for Kirkby Lonsdale, taking the narrow road to Barbon to finish off.  My computer read 52 Miles and 3018 ft of ascent - a splendid day and thanks everyone for turning out!     

Dave Hugill

After the coffee break at Farfield Mill a couple in the group rode on up Garsdale, but left at the Garsdale Station turning. It was the perfect day to be anywhere actually, but sudden inspiration had brought The Coal Road to mind. A perfect day for a feet assisted ascent to the summit at 1750', as in the photos. From here you can see forever and fresh good air is limitless. Dent Station way up there, is a perfect lunch spot, before the brake gripping descent to glorious Dentdale, all spread out below.

Ruth Tanner

Ride to Roots Café, Catforth via Garstang Arts, Thursday 10th May 2018

Eight riders waited patiently at Boot & Shoe for Patience and Len to turn up to lead a largely level-ish  50 or 60 mile ride (depending on where you live) onto the Fylde. A chilly prologue lasted well into the morning, and a lively westerly at times impeded progress but pushed us home later on.

The familiar route through Galgate and Hollins Lane brought us into Garstang from the west.  Matt and Mary and John L. awaited us at Garstang Arts, and we chatted at length around a long table in the back room.  Matt joined the group in regaining the saddles and continuing south past the Kenlis Arms, Sandholme, and across the A6 at The Roebuck.  A more or less direct approach was taken to the lunch stop at Roots Café, where we again sat contentedly around a long table and consumed cyclist’s fare.

The return began with a headwind, and took in the sights of Wharles and Roseacre and we applauded the gardens festooned with anti- fracking sentiments.  A local amateur photographer captured us as we cruised past, no doubt collecting evidence that cyclists of a certain age are regular users of the roads on weekdays.

Heading north, Elswick and Great Eccleston were visited, and the ever-grateful peloton accepted the largesse of the leader with alacrity, as he paid the Toll at Cartford Bridge.  A side wind kept us alert over Pilling Moss, and from Scronky became more helpful as it pushed us north- eastwards across Cockerham Moss. Despite detouring around Crimbles Lane and Jeremy Lane, we still had time in hand for another stop, at Café de Lune, before rolling along the Lune Cycleway to Lancaster Quay and home, the leaders clocking just over 60 miles.

Len Howard

Ride to Feizor via Goat Gap, Sunday May 6th

The clear blue skies promised an excellent day when six club members gathered on the Millenium Bridge on Sunday morning. This was unusual for a Bank Holiday weekend but nevertheless everyone appeared optimistic with shorts and short sleeves in abundance.

 

The only slight mishap on the way past Claughton was a dropped chain by the leader which was quickly rectified. It was with relief that the group left the road to Hornby which was choked with holiday traffic and headed for Wray which displayed bunting and many straw stuffed characters. A detour after High Bentham led up Windy Hill and along obscure lanes with views of Ingleborough to the A65 and Goat Gap Cafe which had a tempting selection of scones and cakes. 

The ride leader had foolishly thought that everyone would enjoy braving the high speed motorbikes and exhaust fumes on the road to Ribblehead but a mutiny by the entire contingent quickly put paid to this idea and a quiet lane was followed to Clapham Station then to Eldroth and Low Paley Green before heading to Austwick.

Ken sensibly decided to give the next part of the Tour De Yorkshire a miss and head to Feizor by road while everyone else found themselves on an unreconnoitred bridleway which the headstrong leader had chosen. The combination of steepness and roughness of this resulted in Neil snapping his chain but with the necessary tools this was soon fixed. After passing some balloon tyred mountain bikers and some getting off and pushing in places, a pleasant grassy downhill section gave way to houses and Elaines cafe in the hamlet of Feizor. An outside table allowed the sunshine to be enjoyed to the full before setting off on the return leg.

 The A65 had to be briefly braved again, then Keasden and Mewith Lane were reached via Clapham. Remarkably all six of those who set off in the morning were still present on arrival at the last brew stop of the day at Bridge House Cafe which thronged with Scarecrow revellers consuming large amounts of ice cream, beer and barbequed meats. 

When Mike and Nick, the last of the bunch not to have peeled off arrived back in Lancaster, the heat of the day had still not subsided.

Bowland Forest Populaire - Audax Event

We had 53 entrants but only 50 started.

Riders came from various places - the extremes being two riders from the A5 Rangers CC [Northants]; an A & E doctor from Keswick; riders from Pilling and Leeds/Harrogate.  We were very well represented with no less than 11 of our regular riders plus a similar number of CUK/CTC members from Lancaster and South Lakes.

Until Chipping everything went well and, similarly, until Dunsop Bridge. 

Only 6 riders [+ me] got thrugh the crash site before the road closure.  After that a further 24 managed to get through via some off road riding  but after that the police were instructed to let nobody through, including cyclists.

Several riders opted for the Trough of Bowland but 8 riders attempted to re-route via Whitewell and Cow Ark.  For some, with local knowledge, the extra 12kms was hard but do-able.  However, three without a map had long conversations with me over the phone when they got well and truly lost.  The two from Northants finally made it after finding  Wiggleworth at about 4pm - but they didn't get back until after 7pm.

All safely gathered in - but a bit of a nighmare scenario.

I kept the check at Wray open until 6.30pm - only the duo from A5 Rngers didn't make it.
We had quite a long chat on the phone and they were quite enthusiastic about the event and want to come back next year.
[There is a family connection in Scortron - and apparently they were returning there for a fine lamb roast].

Well done everyone and thanks for the good turnout and for Anne, Pauline, Dave and Ray for their help.

Mike Hutchinson
 

Ride to Arnside via Clearwater, Thursday 26th April, 2018

As agreed with Ian Roberts I only did to Clearwater he took them on to Arnside, so here is the report for the first bit!!!!

About 15 set off from Kellett Cross Roads heading down towards Halton with muttering of where is he taking us!! Going through Halton heading towards Woodies and the cycle track at Caton we headed east then on to the main road to go through Hornby with a nice tail wind (dam those beans).

Turning left to go over Loyne bridge then we headed up hill through Gressingham to hit the Arkholme road. We turned left to get the the Sunny Bank road so we had a nice descent to Capernwray Church were we turned left heading towards the Kellets but turned right before reaching them to drop down over the canal and railway to get to Clearwater.

Inspite of me notifying them we were coming evidently the message hadn't got through, however, after a quick word it was sorted out and we were well served. Ian Roberts took over at Clearwater and took the group to Arnside.

Jim Gardner

Ride to Cartmel via Beetham, Sunday 22nd April 2018

Six CTC riders set off from Beaumont College into an increasingly soggy morning, heading for coffee at Beetham Garden Centre, and lunch at Cartmel.  As usual, there were a number of other CTC bods who had beaten us to Beetham, and we stayed in the café until the rain subsided.

Four riders (Adrian, Brian, Len and Neil) continued on with the promise of fairer conditions awheel, and made good progress through Heversham, Witherslack, and (eschewing the Tow Top route!) turned right at the foot of the big climb and with the wind at our backs headed up the west side of the Winster Valley. This gave us a slightly easier but still demanding climb onto Newton Fell, via Thorphinsty , and at the top we imagined what the view would have been but for the atmospheric mist clothing the Bay area. A welcome drop into High Newton was succeeded by further downhill work to Cartmel, where a convivial lunch was partaken in the Mallard Café.

By this time, the day was improving as forecast, leading to the shedding of layers as we headed down valley to Cark. Then it was around the coast to Grange, where the pace thankfully slackened in consideration of the promenaders and their dogs.

The homeward leg was at first with the wind to Levens, then at an imposed sedate pace to Sandside, Storth, and Leighton Moss, where Adrian and Len benefitted from the forbearance of the volunteers  in the café by staying till 5.00 pm!

A slightly longer and lumpier Sunday ride, at 63 miles, but a good preparation for next week’s Audax event.

Len.

A short break in Hawes 18th-20th April, 2018

This trip grew out of a few conversations about how nice it is to get away for a day or two. Patience and Len kindly co-ordinated those who were interested, leading to a group of eight of us meeting up at Halton Station on a not particularly spring like morning. There was some evidence of confusion in peoples clothing as the forecast heatwave had clearly not arrived.

The group (Len, Patience, Helen, Roy, Tracey, Peter, Nick and myself) opted for the well worn direct route from Halton to Kirkby Lonsdale via Redwell and Arkholm. On arrival at the A65 no time was wasted in heading for the delights of Casterton Golf Club's cafe. From here we took the lovely lanes leading up to the terrace behind Barbon village. The steady climbing kept us warm and continued to do so as we wound our way up the beauties of Barbondale. Nick had a brief technical along this section when his chain sucked round to jam against the frame. Nothing a good jiggle couldn't remedy.

Over the top and down steeply to Dentdale was a cooling experience and we were beginning to think about cafes and the like. It was at this poiunt that Peter advised me that my back tyre looked none too healthy. Len stayed with me as I changed the tube, the rest going to Dent in search of sustenance. Just as I was struggling to get the tyre up to pressure a local resident turned up to observe my efforts and make general conversation about the advantages of motorised transport.

We soon continued and found the others focussed around a handy pair of benches. It was drawn to our attention that there was no cafe open and the shop was on the point of closing. Our alarm was defused when we found that sandwiches and drinks had already been bought for us. It was pleasant sitting on those benches, the weather improving (it had never actually been bad) and thoughts of the steep climb only hazy in our minds.

After a delightful meander up the valley, those thoughts came into sharper focus as we ground our way up under the viaduct to Dent Head. But it was soon over and we were sweeping down Widdale towards Hawes. We took the little lane to the left down to Appersett before rolling down the main road into Hawes. It didn't take long to all agree on a visit to the Creamery cafe.

Soon we were all being welcomed to the YHA hostel, excaept for Nick who had special Chairman's accommodation at the Fountain Inn. Patience had booked a table for us at the White Hart, where we enjoyed good food, good beer and good cheer.

Suitably rested we met for breakfast the next morning with clear blue skies giving a lift to the proceedings. A visit to the shop was in order – we weren't risking getting caught without a sandwich again! Also Patience (what a trooper!) wanted to pre-order supplies for the evening meal she was planning for us all.

We set off for Buttertubs pass in glorious sunshine and before long were pushing hard up its tasteful slopes skirted by heaps of old mining spoil. At the steepest point some of us got off to push; I was recalling that the Tour de France had come to a halt at this same place, though for slightly different reasons. Over the top of the pass we paused to admire the Buttertubs themselves, with their creamy limestone. (Well some people shot straight past and for some reason, when advised of their error, seemed loath to ride back up the hill for a look)

In the valley bottom of Swaledale we had a nice cruise to the village of Muker where, yes, we went to the cafe. Here we checked on the correct pronunciation (not “Mucker”) and heard that a Mr Hoy had visited. Riding down valley from here was a delight: easy and cruisy with quintessential dales scenery all around. We arrived in Reeth, ensconsed ourselves on the green there and ate our sandwiches whilst passing comment on all the other people we could see.

The next section of the ride was a staggering one mile downhill to the Bike Centre at Fremington. This is an excellent establishment with a bike shop and a cafe which we felt obliged to investigate: good. We also checked out the accommodation they have for possible future use: again good.

From here we went through Grinton and over the noteworthy climb of Redmire Moor. It was hot, it was wonderfuly wild and uplifting. Downhill to the village of Castle Bolton with (you guessed) its fine imposing castle and then on down again into Wensleydale. The downhills were uplifting too.

We followed the small road on the north side of the dale, pleasantly and steadily up the valley through Carperby to Askrigg. Here we found a cafe still just open (well it had been a while since the last one). Len and Patience nobly forsook this opportunity to go and get the evening meal started. After another pleasant little sojourn in the sun we followed the remaining undulating road back to Hawes.

Back at base there was a little preparatory outing to the pub before we set upon the excellent meal Patience had organised for us at the hostel. We had done about forty miles but they were the longer sort of mile. Quite a bit of wine flowed and as a result I offered to write this report.

The next day dawned to mist over the hills. We had already decided to head over Garsdale to Sedbergh as an easy way home. As we were going over Garsdale Head it was doing a good impression of raining. Approaching Sedbergh we called at Farfield Mill. A couple of us took an unplanned excursion through the museum-cum-workings before finding the cafe, and very interesting it looked too.

The next stage was to Barbon village for a fine lunch in the sun before following the Lune valley back home. What a lovely outing!

Andy Gordon

Pictures from Peter Wild

Ride to Bashal Eaves via Dunsop Bridge, Thursday 19th April, 2018

Eleven riders turned up for my sojourn to Bashall Barn via Dunsop Bridge, on a day so nice that I thought I had actually got the date wrong & picked someone else’s!  Indeed so good was the forecast that instead of as usual packing all the wet & thermal gear I possess I actually had arm & knee warmers on with a cut off bidon in the bottle cage to deposit them when it got TOO WARM for me to continue wearing them, bizarre!  We set off through the Uni’ & along the usual lanes to Marshaw & thus through the Trough to Puddleducks, which as I remarked upon arrival was “full of bloody cyclists”, do these people have no gainful occupation to occupy them on a Thursday other than filling up cafes throughout the county?  Then upon leaving we selected low gears to turn right over the steep canal bridge, which was a complete waste of time as we weren’t going that way, so instead we selected higher gears & then turned right towards Newton, this subsequently required considerable concentration as we negotiated numerous pot holes on the way, some so capacious that they might swallow an entire bike & rider should one fail to negotiate them.  Once in Newton we turned to climb the mighty Waddington Fell, you always know a big hill is big when they stick a communications mast on top which you have climb to in order to reach the other side.  At the summit, so called as it is summit you have to climb to to get to the top, I warned my group of  the dangers they would face on the plummit from the summit, the descent being long, fast & resembling crazy paving in parts, I being leader went first, the spirit of Brits in the trenches continues on!  After the downhill slalom I waited for the others at the church who appeared in various states of distress but much time elapsed & no sign was there of Norman on his electric bike, this caused some anxiety for this leader as if he had crashed on the descent I might have to climb back up the bloody thing to retrieve his bike & it probably weighed more than I do!  Anyway, thankfully he finally appeared, explaining that like we who had to pedal up the Fell road & were drained by the top, he was all right but it had drained his battery, hence the time required to change the thing before he too joined us at base camp.  All together again we made our way to Bashall Barn & refreshed & refuelled prior to climbing yet another sodding hill in the form of Chaigley, then home via Chipping, Garstang, Scorton & Lancaster, by which time I had to put the arm warmers back on, still I enjoyed summer while it lasted!

Ken Roberts

Ride to Clapham via Ingleton, Sunday 15th April 2018

Was it the weather forecast? Was it the thought of that steep climb out of Inglelton on Oddie’s Lane? Was the idea of a 60 miler round the back of Ingleborough too much? Whatever, only six of us set off from The Boot, winding our way up to Newlands Road to descend down Quernmore Road into Caton. We passed a continuous stream of cyclists going the other way on a sportive around the Trough but on we went through Brookhouse and Caton Green to minimise riding on the A683 and then off to Wray and Wennington. A turn up Spout Lane brought us round eventually into Raven’s Close Brow via some gentle hills. And then on to Dumb Tom’s Lane for a quiet descent into Ingleton.

As we drank teas and coffees and enjoyed Inglesport cakes, it became clear that only three of us were wanting to continue riding out and we re-checked the weather forecast. Heavy rain scheduled for 3 o’clock. So, we decided to miss out the Horton-in-Ribblesdale route that was planned and cut across directly to Clapham. The wind, which had been easterly and against us all the way to Ingleton, seemed to have veered round to the south to blow in our faces as we climbed up Clapham Old Road and with the wind, the clouds began to gather. There weren’t many cyclists on the ride to take photographs of but there were flowers (primroses, celandines and lots of daffodils) and there were enchanting lambs. We called in at the Reading Room café and made our apologies – it was too early for lunch and we wanted to get closer to Lancaster before the rain hit. Then we set off towards Clapham station with mist and poor visibility. But then we whizzed along Mewith Lane with the wind behind us, whistling up and down the switchback route with ease. At the junction with Thickrash Brow we watched some of the sportive riders zoom down the hill and Ken met some Luney vet riders.

We all got to Wray without a drop of rain falling on us but Ken and Neil were nearly wiped out by a honking van that insisted on overtaking them as they turned off for the Bridge Café. As we ate soup and drank tea the rain poured down – we dallied and wondered how long it would take to eat our way through the dessert menu… People came in dripping; other riders braved the wet, pulling up zips and hunching against the rain. Eventually, we felt we should join them and Ken put on all the waterproof clothing he didn’t have on already. Which is what saved us; although the bikes were wet, the rain was lessening, and by the time we had ridden through Claughton, it had stopped. The ride was shorter than planned but we’d ducked the drenching that was forecast.

Tim Dant

Ride to Staveley via Milnthorpe, Thursday 12th April 2018

Brian Greenwood led a 60 mile ride to Staveley, via Milnthorpe with a loop over Fell Plain and Borwick Fold that was new to many of us. His route home round the base of Potter Fell, through Bowston and Burneside also took us through some great Cumbrian countryside. Daffodils and young lambs were a feature of the ride.

Wednesday Taster Session - Mountain Biking in Grizedale - 11th April 2018

9 cyclists met at the Grizedale Visitor Centre in glorious sunshine.  Some brought their own bikes and some hired mountain bikes – Patience on a standard hard-tail, Len on a “gravel bike” (drop bars and fat tyres) and Nick, fancied a power-assisted bike.  Linda was trying out Gordon’s daughter’s mountain bike and Gordon, Myles and Nigel rode their own mountain steeds.  Ruth and Pete preferred their usual road bikes.


We started with most of us having a brew in the sunshine outside the café, having already endured close on an hour in the car to get to the start.  We set off to ride the Green Trail which keeps to well-surfaced forest roads.  Although conditions under-wheel were good there was quite a lot of ascent soon after the start as we climbed over the ridge to cycle with occasional glimpses of beautiful Coniston Water and village.  The “Old Man” and his cronies were coyly hiding in the mist to start off, but as the day warmed up the summits came into view, making all that climbing well worth it.  

Some of the more adventurous in the group diverted off at several points to try the Red Mountain Bike trail, which conveniently shares part of the Green route.  The Red route was single track and included some boulders, steps, lots of puddles and exposed slopes.  The roller coaster sections were greatly enjoyed but nobody was keen to ride on top of the boulders, but kept to the gravel at the side.

Six of the nine stopped for a picnic at lunchtime, with the other 3 patronising the café at the centre.  This was the first time this year that it felt warm enough to enjoy an outdoor picnic.  After meeting together again at the Visitor Centre everyone agreed that they had really enjoyed the route and there was enthusiasm for another mountain biking session, maybe at Gisburn Forest at some point.

Len, Patience and Nigel were game for a bit more in the afternoon, so cycled the Purple and Blue trails.  We paused to watch some people on the high level zip wires, part of the “Go Ape” adrenaline-boosting activities and wondered if this might be another possible activity for the Wednesday Tasters?

There was a bit of chaos at the car park at the end as the “super-efficient Park with Ease” car number plate recognition system for paying to park was not working and dozens of people were milling around the machines trying to make them work.  We were able to pay online once we got home, but it certainly wasn’t “pay with ease”!!


Look out for our next Wednesday Taster, which will be tennis and bowls at the Tennis Club on Lune Street, Lancaster, just off the Quay, on Wednesday 25th April from 2pm.  Contact Patience if interested.

Patience Cooper
 

Ride to Grizedale via Haverthwaite, Sunday 8th April 2018

Ian Wood led a ride from Lindale to Grizedale visitor centre with a coffee stop on the station at Haverthwaite. Some beautiful country that Lancaster CTC seldom ride through... but it was rather damp most of the time!

Ride to Sedbergh via Kirkby Lonsdale - Thursday 5th April 2018

The signs were good, a confident weather forecast of fine weather, and so it proved to be.  Perhaps the best day of the year so far with cloudless skies until mid-afternoon, and virtually no wind.

The group of 12 riders assembled at 9.15 at the Crook o’ Lune and with fresh legs climbed up past Halton Park to the top road.  Beautiful views all around, then a detour on the Aughton Road eventually joining the B6254 Kirkby road.  But not for long, as we turned left at the pub in Arkholme for a quieter loop, re-joining the B road at Newton.  Again, not for long as at Whittington we turned up the Hutton Roof road, turning right to go into Kirkby Lonsdale via Low Biggins.

At a café, we joined those who had decided to make their own way, making a total of some 18 riders. 14 of us then continued via Kearstwick and the Cumbria Cycle Way along the Lune valley to Sedbergh.  Some had a cafe lunch, others enjoyed sandwiches in the warm sunshine overlooking Sedbergh School cricket pitch.  The return route was via the back roads past Holme Farm, then onto the A683 for a short distance before turning off onto the minor road at Middleton and down to the Devil’s Bridge for a welcome brew.  Riders then took their own way home, with 10 deciding to go over Hutton Roof and onward.

Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable day’s ride, in glorious weather, enjoying the best of the English countryside; what more could one ask for?

Tony Parsons, leader

Ride to Settle via Ingleton, Sunday 1st April 2018

Patience and Len welcomed Norman Gardner (making a rare appearance on a Sunday ride) and five ‘regulars’ at the start of their ride to Settle.  A fine but cloudy day, with the remnant of the Beast from the East  making for a challenging morning but an easy return.  What memories did we bring back from the our day “awheel” ?

·       hills from the start, through Halton, up to Aughton, down to Gressingham, along to Melling and across to Wennington.

·       the electronic whirring of Norman’s bike as he shot past us climbing up Raven’s Close.

·       a leisurely coffee in an eerily quiet Inglesport and meeting up with Ray and Linda as we were leaving. Six of us continued to Settle.

·       more hills on the old road to Clapham, swoop down to the village, looping around Austwick, the impressive façade of Lawkland Hall, tales of country-dwelling rogues and vagabonds.

·       an unusual  roller-coaster approach to Settle; fast downhill past Giggleswick School Chapel.

·       savouring the excellent value fare at the ever-busy Singing Kettle Café in Settle.

·       the wind at our backs along Mewith Lane. Regroup at Bentham crossroad and further tales, this time of robotic camel jockeys (which, despite the date, were claimed to be true)

·       a final extended coffee stop at Wray.  Dash down the valley to Caton, and home.  62 miles and 5,000 feet of ascent.

Len Howard

Ride to Kirkby Lonsdale via Cafe Ambio

John Law led a ride in cold but bright weather to Kirkby Londsdale. I had left the battery out of my camera so here are few shots from the tail light camera.

Ride to Clapham via Bentham Thursday 22/03/18

Dave Hugill's ride was through great countryside with no rain and little wind. But both riders and the vegetation could have done

with some more warmth!

Ride to Chipping via Dunsop Bridge, Thursday 15th March 2018

Today’s ride  was a good test of the application of Chaos Theory to the organisation of a bike ride.  Initially flagged as having Beacon Fell as the destination (via Chipping, from Halton Station), it passed through a number of re-incarnations and only attracted a small cadre of hardy individuals (nice to see Phil again after a temporary lay-off), who presumably thrive on uncertainty.  Some of the usual crowd may have been deterred by the forecast, as it is difficult to believe they would have been put off by the prospect of riding into a moisture-laden headwind up to Jubilee Tower!  In an attempt to mitigate the damage caused by the initial plan, our gallant Rides Secretary offered to head a ride to the new coffee stop at Dunsop Bridge from a more sensible start at Boot and Shoe (as it transpired no-one joined him).

After pausing at Jubilee Tower to shelter from the South-Easterly wind and admire the mist-shrouded fell, the main group continued through the Trough in rapidly deteriorating conditions; we almost lost two of our party who unaccountably thought that it may have been easier to turn around and get blown home.  As we rolled into Dunsop Bridge we admired a thin band of brightness on the southern horizon.  We cheered up even more as we sat around a table for 7 in Puddleducks (Mike having beaten the Halton starters by 30 minutes).

The first of two revolts from those disenchanted with the hills occasioned yet another change of plan; it was decided to get to Chipping via the Whitewell Inn (sorry, the Inn at Whitewell!) and Doeford Bridge, instead of via the hillier Wild Boar Park route.  By this time we were in more ebullient mood, sensing that with the rain abating, the wind was getting up and would soon be at our backs.

The second “insurgency” occurred at Chipping, which was deemed too soon to stop after Puddleducks.  We were also getting the hang of the following wind, and so it was decided to make a dash for Cobble Hey via Bleasdale.  Just before Bleasdale Mike C punctured, but was soon mobile again.

A late-ish lunch was consumed in the usual convivial fashion in front of a blast-furnace of a wood-burning stove, occasioning even Patience to move to the other side of the table.

We eventually headed down the hillside and on to Lancaster via Scorton (we didn’t stop – another change of plan).  Those riders who wisely opted to stay at home missed a 55 miles Spring excursion which proved that Chaos Theory can indeed be applied to leading a bike ride. Hopefully we will be better organised next time!

Patience & Len.

Ride to Staveley via Sizergh Castle, Sunday 11th March

A large group of cyclists met outside Beaumont College for Neil’s ride to Sizergh Castle and Staveley.

On a fine, dry day with a forecast of higher temperatures than of late, we set off enthusiastically along Green Lane crossing the Canal and turning towards Halton. We took the Kellet Lane turn and the long, steady climb to Nether Kellet. We followed Back Lane towards Carnforth and took the road through Carnforth and Warton towards the ‘Yealands’. Unfortunately, between Yealand Conyers and Yealand Redmayne the leader managed to puncture a front tyre. The rest of the riders carried on a short distance while Tim and Adrian helped Neil change his inner tube. Thanks to Tim and Adrian for your help, ‘Ace pump you’ve got, Adrian!’

We regrouped a little further on, just past Yealand Storrs. We made our way through Slack Head and Beetham , through the Deer Park and across the Mosses to Levens. We subsequently arrived at Sizergh Castle, somewhat later than anticipated after the puncture, and met up with several other fellow club members. With the delay causing us to arrive slightly later, somewhere between coffee time and lunch time, the anticipated Mother’s Day queues didn’t materialise and we were served promptly, sitting outside to enjoy our refreshments.

Several members now took their leave, some having made other Mother’s Day arrangements, but we still comprised a good number.

Passing through Levens, Brigsteer and Underbarrow, although a testing route, the scenery certainly compensated for the effort required. Onto Crook and into Staveley where picnic sandwiches or great ‘Wilfs’ hospitality were enjoyed. A quick look round ‘Wheelbase’ before departure couldn’t be missed, and all the ‘nice, new shiny things’ were much admired.

The return route took in Burneside, Kendal, Milnthorpe, Holme and Burton, finally riding through the Kellet’s and home.

A ride of 58 miles and lots of testing hills, but more importantly, lots of descents as well.

Neil Westwell

Ride to Sizergh Castle via Barbon, Thursday 8th March 2018

A good number of enthusiastic riders met at Halton Station for Neil’s ride to coffee at the Church Mouse café in Barbon and lunch at Sizergh Castle.

Crossing the River Lune by the Denny Beck bridge the we took the long, steady climb out of Halton via high Road and Kirkby Lonsdale Road to Redwell, through Arkholme and onto Kirkby Lonsdale. Although an uneventful ride to Kirkby Lonsdale in excellent cycling conditions, events took an unexpected turn when one rider’s bike had a mechanical fault which meant he could not continue the ride. It was lucky this happened in Kirkby Lonsdale since buses were available to take him back to Lancaster. The rest of the group, after trying unsuccessfully to help repair the bike, carried on over Devil’s Bridge and onto the old Roman Road all the way to Barbon.

We were given a warm welcome at the café and met up with several other riders who had made their way independently. In fact, we took up most of the tables in the café.

After partaking of excellent tea, coffee and cakes we rode out of Barbon and joined the main road towards Sedbergh. Taking the turn towards Rigmaden we were surprised to find the bridge across the river was closed and completely fenced off making impassable even for bikes and pedestrians.

We decided to carry on towards Sedbergh and finally crossed the River Lune via the B6256 where we headed back in the direction we had just ridden, albeit the other side of the river. We finally joined up with the road we should have been on from Rigmaden having covered several more miles and a great deal of extra ascent. Phew!!

We continued to Old Hutton and took the right turn in Gatebeck and subsequent route through Halfpenny. Finally, after passing through Sedgwick we arrived at Sizergh Castle for lunch just after 2 o’clock. There was a notice to say that food was served until 2 o’clock but luckily there was plenty of food left and we ate our fill.

The ride back via Hincaster and Ackenthwaite was uneventful and our tired group arrived back in Lancaster having covered 60 miles and 4000 feet of ascent.

Neil Westwell

Ride to Applestore.... but not Goosnargh, Sunday 4th March, 2018

Seven riders set off from Scotforth into a bitter East wind to climb out of Lancaster heading towards Caton. Turning left and taking the road through Quernmore and on to five lane ends, a little light rain helped to freshen things up a bit more. Onwards to wards Scorton and taking the route past Syke’s Farm and the water splash, (braved only by Andy), we encountered the thawing vestiges of snowdrifts but fortunately only one road-wide stretch of ice that was walked through with care.

After refreshments and warming up in the Applestore Café a decision was taken, in view of the wind and less than ideal weather, to abandon the original destination of Goosnargh and return to Lancaster. Taking a route through Garstang and crossing the A6 through the somewhat confusing 3way crossroads led to a welcome return to quiet lanes and the somewhat more pleasant experience of a following wind. Potholes were the main hazard now.

Heading Northwards past Winmarleigh and via Killcrash lane to Cockerham and finally along Jeremy Lane to arrive at the “Lac de Lune” as the estuary was full with a 7.2mtr high tide. Two riders who opted to take the main road found the tide over the access road to the car park. However we were pleased to find the Café de Lune was not crowded, so passed a very pleasant lunch stop to conclude the ride, the pie and peas being especially recommended.

Not the best weather but a considerable improvement on the “Beast from the East” suffered earlier in the week and a very enjoyable and social ride of 30miles resulted. We rounded off by returning north through Stodday to Aldcliffe

Nigel