Ride from Boot and Shoe to Waddington, Thursday 15th June 2019

Thirteen seasoned cyclists gathered outside the Boot and Shoe for their regular Thursday ride.
Setting off, they went through the University and on to the Fleece and Dolphinholme using the usual route.
At the crossroads we took a left turn to go through Dolphinholme and on towards Abbeystead but instead of descending to Abbeystead we took a left turn to go up Plantation Lane to join the Jubilee Tower road where we turned right for a fast descent to the Tarnbrook turn off then the nasty little climb up Rakehouse Brow then on through the Trough into Dunsop Bridge for well earned refreshments at Puuddleducks.

Suitably refreshed off we went heading past The Inn at Whitewell (much to some peoples disgust we didn't turn left there). Taking the next left we did a small section of the old roman wall (avoiding the chariot ruts), through Cow Ark to pass Browsholme Hall.

Then we took the next left onto very narrow lanes just wide enough for large vehicles which was evident when we met one coming towards us. A sharp pull up Talbot Bridge brought us to the B6478 leaving a turn right and a fast descent into Waddington.

After well deserved refreshments (including a pint) we set off for Bashall Town then over Higher Hodder Bridge for the long slog up Chaigley Brow.

Turning left after Walkers Fold to drop down to Chipping passing the Gibbon Bridge Hotel.
Problems in Chipping due to lack of legs (mine) I decided not to go via the gliding club but take the flatter way. Unfortunately I hadn't worked out the alternative route but thanks to Mike and Ken we made it to the top of the lane leading to Walmsleys Bridge where they said “you know where you are now so lead on!”.
Usual way back to Scorton via Claughton, Sandholme Mill and Barnacre to stop at Daisy Clough for yet another refreshment break.

All in all an excellent ride with 62 dry miles for me and according to Neil 5000 feet of climbing.

Jim Gardner


Ride from Boot and Shoe to Chipping via Dunsop Bridge, Sunday 16th June 2019

Rain was forecast. But it is ‘all about the descent’ as I repeated during this short ride with some steep climbs. Firstly I lead the small group of six down Blea Tarn Road (the first good descent!) and up Proctor Moss Road. The countryside was soggy but green and there were moments of warming sunshine as we passed Welby Crag and descended to Lower Green Bank and turned for Abbeystead. Now everyone remembers the thigh burning climb out of Abbeystead but they forget the earlier bone jarring descent into Abbeystead on the seriously damaged Strait Lane. It gets exciting as you realise a vehicle might be backing out onto the road towards the narrow point of the bridge. The culvert works on the Marshaw Road at Well Brook Clough meant there was an off-putting ‘road closed’ sign on our route for the Trough, but it was the first one of two that we ignored. And indeed, the road was open all the way as we wound our way up to the cattle grid at the top of Trough Scar. The wonderful descent into the Trough itself was spoilt by the slicks of water draining from high to lower ground across the rather greasy road surface. But it was still good going as we rattle through Sykes Farm onto the switchback above the Marshaw-Wyre to arrive in Dunsop.

There were lots of cyclists going the other way on an Audax but there was room in the cafe for all of us to sit around a big table where a couple of the group that Chipping was too close to make a good leg before lunch. So we went to Newton and enjoyed the views across the Hodder valley. Crossing the river presented us with that steep road leading to Waddington Fell, but we turned off right before it got too much and followed the single track road that gains height through a series of ever steepening sections up to Brownsholme Heights where the trig point told us we’d made it to the top. Some of us had wobbled our way up the last stretch of this single track road as a surprising number of vehicles came down it. After what is a long and rewarding descent into Cow Ark alongside Hagg Clough on a much improved road surface, we discovered the reason for the traffic; the road down to Whitewell was closed for top dressing. John woke up the two dozing road men and they said we could ride on it provided we went slowly. It was a noisy descent as gravel spun of the wheels (Geoff got some stuck in his excessively narrow Italian forks).

At Chipping we met up with two riders who’d arrived late at Dunsop (Nick who’d missed us at the start and Mike who had ridden from Preston) but chosen the Wild Boar Park road (that lacks a decent descent…). Most of us set off for home after lots of beans, and enjoyed some brief but whizzy descents across the two tributaries of the Brock River at Bleasdale. We slogged up and then cruised down Delph Lane and wound round the corner at Oakenclough onto the fellside road overlooking the Wyre valley and the sea. The descent was good but caution approaching the rain dampened cattle grid took a few mph off the final section. We all stopped for a gaze across to the sea before the big descent to Lordshouse Brook that gives enough impetus to float almost all way up the other side. Then the last big descent of the day towards the Old Forge and we were nearly home. There was some rain and putting on of coats. But then it was too warm so we had to stop and take them off again in Galgate. Only 47 miles of up and down but my Garmin said my maximum speed was 39.34 mph! I kept both hands on the bars going downhill.

Ride from Beaumont to Cartmel via Beetham, Sunday 12th May 2019

The excellent forecast enticed   15 members of the Cyclists Touring Club to assemble at Beaumont College for a 65- 70 mile ride to Cartmel.

We made good time to the coffee stop by using the A6 to Cragg Bank, and using the woodland shade to keep us cool on the long climb to Yealand. A downhill  to the A6 at Cinderbarrow, and by familiar lanes to Holme and the garden centre, where we just managed to secure enough seating.

Here the group swelled by the addition of the Carnforth contingent, and a juggling around of personnel resulted in 14 riders continuing under blue skies  and a warming sun. A short section on the A6 between Heversham and the A590 was  surprisingly quiet, followed by single track  lanes across Levens Marsh and an ‘exciting’ ( ! ) crossing of the A590, before reassembling on the north side.

Only the roar of the traffic disturbed us between Gilpin Bridge and Witherslack, before turning away from the clatter and by lanes less frequented to the foot of Tow Top. There were no takers for the direct ascent to High Newton, so we followed the west bank of the River Winster to Thorphinsty Hall. Here the serious climbing began to get us up Newton Fell, but with the welcome distraction of panoramic vistas across to Milnthorpe Sands and the distant Three Peaks.

Having temporarily mislaid three of the group at High Newton we headed south and with gratitude downhill to Cartmel, which proved to be not as busy as anticipated considering the benign conditions. Suitably fuelled by café fare or picnic, we turned the cranks in the direction of Grange via the fell road, and opted for the main road through Grange so as to avoid annoying the promenaders.

The ‘usual’ route home was followed across Meathop Marsh, Levens Village, Heversham Marsh and Storth. At this point our average speed plummeted by helping the farmer to take his cows half a mile along the road for milking. A final dash was made for a late afternoon tea at Silverdale Golf Club, soaking up the afternoon sun on the terrace and reflecting on the magnificence of the day ‘awheel’.

Len Howard.

Ride from Boot and Shoe to Cleveleys via Bridge 64, Thursday 9th May 2019

This was our annual fish and chip outing to Cleveleys.

Weather awful rain and cloudy and the temperature was cold. I arrived at the Boot and Shoe hoping no one would turn up but 11 nutters did so I couldn't return home.

Off we set taking our usual way through the Uni the up Stoney Lane to turn right down Whams Lane and to cross the A6 at Potters Brook, then down Cockerham Road to turn left before the canal on to Tansy Lane to eventually join Park Lane.

Heading towards Garstang I decide to take a right after the pub and this is where things went awry but inspite of some meanderings we did arrive at Bridge 64 albeit a bit later than expected. After coffee we went through Nateby then left and quick right to take us through Out Rawcliffe and over Shard Bridge, through Poulton then into Cleveleys where we were welcomed and refreshed with lovely fish and chips(most of us had the smaller potions).

In the afternoon straight up the prom to catch the ferry with a couple of minutes to spare. Through Knott End over Pilling Moss into  Cockerham where we split up(three of us heading for a coffee at Pudding House) Then straight back through Conder Green and home.

53 miles in the legs and the felt like it but the average speed was faster than a normal Thursday's ride.

Jim Gardner



Ride from Beaumont to Sedburgh via Sizergh, Sunday 5th May 2019

Beaumont ( yes, Beaumont) to Sedbergh on Sunday 5 May.

Taking the policy of splitting into groups of 8 or less for traffic safety reasons to a new level, Nick decided to form a second group before arriving at the Beaumont start and started his ride from Millennium Bridge. The rest of us, those who had read the rides diary, set off from Beaumont having welcomed Maz and Graeme to their first CTC Sunday ride. We took the Halton road and turned up Kellet Lane passing through Nether Kellet, Over Kellet and Capernwray, where Mike took a comfort break, promising to catch up. We waited in Borwick, but Mike didn’t catch up, so thinking he had taken a different route we carried on. The weather, although cloudy, remained dry and cold, ideal for cycling through the quiet, welcoming countryside and good progress was made through Holme, Ackenthwaite and onto our destination of Sizergh Castle. It was there that we discovered Nick, who, somehow, had arrived before us, and re-discovered Mike who had somehow managed to join the ‘Millennium Bridge’ group. We had arrived at Sizergh Castle marginally before the Bank Holiday queue so we were able to enjoy our coffee break in comfort without having to wait to be served.

The 2 groups now combined for the second leg of the journey having lost only one rider to the ‘pull’ of home and the dreaded gardening duties. We took the road through Sedgwick and followed the delightful Halfpenny loop before joining the Gatebeck road, where we turned left towards Old Hutton. As we climbed, the wonderful countryside opened up before us, and the views were extensive. Riding through Killington village, we encountered the first, and only, mechanical of the day in the form of a puncture for Maz.

When we arrived at the main road we turned right and went back across the river to take the narrow lane across to join the Sedbergh to Kirkby road. It was along this lane that the Bluebells were at their most dazzling, lining both sides of the lane as we rode along. We followed the road into Sedbergh and began to explore the lunch possibilities. Half the group carried sandwiches so didn’t need to join the lunch option seekers. Unfortunately, the first cafe was full, the second closed, so into the pub it was! The Bull in the High Street turned out to be an excellent choice and we sat in extremely pleasant surroundings whilst the very friendly staff took our orders. We were presented with our excellent food pretty quickly, but having spent time hunting for our venue, the sandwich brigade were beginning to feel the cold.

Having said good bye to Maz and Graeme who had a previously arranged party to attend we set off back down The Kirkby Lonsdale road, taking the track into Barbon, where Nick decided to take his group (Nick) a flatter way home. We climbed out of Barbon onto the old Roman road and followed it to the end. Passing through Tunstall we took the turn at Wrayton, taking us to Wennington and Wray. We continued on our way towards home, the group now fragmenting as we neared our own homes.

An excellent days cycling in good company with lots of interesting climbs and wonderful views to go with them. 67 miles 4700ft of ascent in extremely suitable cycling weather.

Neil Westwell

P.S. The fragmentation of the group on the A683 allowed those with legs to go up the series of bumps through and beyond Brookhouse, while those wanting a more level bimble went along the cycle path to rejoin the Nick group. This group of three finally dispersed as we went arrived at Lancaster.

Tim Dant

Ride from Millenium Bridge to Staveley (AKA Neil & Ken’s Birthday Bash), Thursday 25th April, 2019

A throng of cyclists met at Millenium Bridge for a ride celebrating the 70th birthdays of Neil and Ken. With a less than optimistic weather forecast, the numbers were bolstered by the promise of coffee and cakes provided by the aforementioned septuagenarian ride leaders, with a little help from the stars of Heron Cafe In Arnside, Sheila, Julie and Helen. 

We set off not knowing whether it was going to be ‘fun in the sun’ or ‘pain in the rain’, but it promised well in the broken cloud and light, but cold, wind. No rain, so far! We took the road towards Halton, turning up Kellet Lane to Nether Kellet, where Brian was waiting to join the ride. Over Kellet, Capernwray, Borwick and Priest Hutton were quickly passed with Mike leading the second group, and all riders maintaining a good pace in anticipation of a good fare awaiting us in Arnside. We took the turn towards the ‘mucky farm track’ towards Cinderbarrow with the assurance that it wouldn’t be as described, however, the promise turned out to be false, but we bravely rode through it! We crossed the A road, onto Yealand’s Redmayne and Storrs, then took the climb up past Thrang End Farm. We enjoyed the descent, taking care at the sharp left hand bend at the bottom. Then, onto Arnside where a good number of friends were awaiting our arrival at the Heron. Coffee and cakes were served and a super birthday cake was paraded through the cafe. Julie and Helen served us with their usual happy, cheerful efficiency and thanks to them and Sheila for their excellent hospitality.

With the threat of less than appropriate weather and other prior commitments, the number of riders reduced somewhat for the onward journey to Staveley and the cast changed slightly. We rode through Sandside towards Milnthorpe and took the left turn to cross the mosses. Heversham, Levens, Brigsteer were admired as we ‘hurtled’ through, then we undulated considerably through Underbarrow and Crook before descending into Staveley where, once again, Wilf’s Cafe awaited. Surprisingly, we found no queues at the counter and food was quickly ordered and delivered even more quickly. Continuing with the quickly theme the food was consumed so an early departure could be made in anticipation of the forecast rain arriving during the return journey.

Ken took over the leading duties from Neil and set a good pace as we went through Bowston , Burneside and into Kendal. The usual volume of traffic was encountered through Kendal, but we rode carefully and left Kendal on the Natland road. Sedgwick, Hincaster and Ackenthwaite were ‘gobbled up’ at strong weather beating pace, although the ‘odd’ drop of rain was felt. We rode through Holme and this time avoided the ‘mucky farm track’ as we arrived in Burton in Kendal. We rode along the A road as far as Tewitfield where we took the Over Kellet turn. As we passed Clearwater cafe the afternoon tea stop was offered and our party was reduced by two as Mike and Jim took the option. How appropriate their decision turned out to be, as the clouds thickened overhead. As we approached Over Kellet ‘ it arrived’, however we just happened to be passing a handy bus shelter, so the question was posed ‘ how many doddery old cyclists can you fit inside a bus shelter in Over Kellet’? The answer was 6 and that was all of us, so we were saved!

It was only a short shower, although heavy, we were able to continue pretty quickly. By the time we reached Nether Kellet the party split as people headed for home.

A super, celebratory day with April typical weather, 4000 ft of ascent, 62 miles covered at a good pace. Cycling at 70, as good as ever!

Neil & Ken

Ride from Kellet Cross Roads to Staveley via Shap, Thursday 18th April 2019

Up the Shap Road

It’s always good to introduce members to new routes and although it seems we have covered all the roads in our area there are still gems to find. The Shap road is near the edge of our natural territory but it leads to new lanes and on a bright, sunny day it’s worth the effort.

Leaving Kellet Cross Roads, Len led the second group and kept a sensible distance behind us, as we cycled to our first regrouping at Over Kellet. Passing Capernwray church we made our 2nd regroup off the road at Borwick. We continued through Burton and made our way to cross the A6 at the Wild Life Park to regroup in the lay-by. The attempt to not stop on corners or tops of hills was working well. Climbing over Slack Head we continued to Beetham and the Deer Park before reaching Cafe 17 at Milnthorpe for coffee and scones.

John Jackson took over the 2nd group as we pedalled through Hincaster, Sedgwick and Natland to regroup just before the Kendal Roundabout. Passing the football and cricket grounds we avoided the town centre but found the road through the Sandylands Estate busier than expected. Clear of the town the road was clear as we climbed up to meet the Shap road.  A steady uphill led to the turn off for Longsledale and the fast descent to Garnett Bridge. It was the start of the superb, twisting lanes below Potter Fell. This was followed by the dash to Staveley and Wilf’s for lunch.

The return route was by our favoured lanes to Crook and a regrouping at Underbarrow before heading for Brigsteer. Here we diverted onto the flat lanes beside the River Gilpin to then cross the A590 and more flat lanes to High Sampool and Levens Bridge. We soon left the Busy A6 and crossed the moss roads to make our way to Storth. The thought of a cup of tea at the RSPB cafe or a quick ride home guided us over the remaining miles. A good day out, helped by excellent weather and good company.

65 – 75 miles and 4,000 feet of climbing.

Brian G

Ride from Boot & Shoe to Clapham

I was a bit late and there were six riders waiting so off we went. Over the hill via Newlands Road and then that nice descent towards Caton down the Quernmore Road. Up round the back of Brookhouse and then on to the A683. From then on we followed the same route as Nick (Wray, Wennington, Spout Lane, Burton-in-Lonsdale) to get to Ireby Green. They always have a good range of cakes… and our table included three Lancaster CTC riders who had arrived independently.

The wind seemed to have strengthened as we went back towards Burton to take a pretty side road up to the A65, then past the Marton Arms and up through Ingleton. Strange not to stop for a mug of tea and a piece of black gingerbread at Inglesport. But we pressed on, into the wind up the never ending hill to the top at Cold Cotes. It was cold and we were glad of coats as we enjoyed the view over the Wenning valley. The descent into Clapham wasn’t so speedy because that head wind was slowing our freewheel down - but still fun. Lunch was good and so was the chat out of the wind. Getting home was quick with the wind bowling us along Mewith Lane and into Wray where some of us had a last cup of tea (and I had a cake).

Tim

Ride from Crook O'Lune to Goosnargh, Thursday 11th April

Gathering at Crook o Lune were about 15 riders all looking forward to the really fine sunny day I had organised.
Setting off on the cycle track heading for Caton we managed to pick up Debbie on the way.
We crossed over the main road at the roundabout and headed south towards Postern Gate. Instead of turning left on to the "happy valley road" we carried on up then turned left to go parallel to the motorway and behind the university into Galgate. In Galgate I managed to confuse some by crossing the A6 at the lights and went to Conder Green via Sellerley Farm.
Into Cockerham to take first left then over canal to take second right and weaving our way to the A6 again where we went left then a quick right passing Six Arches caravan site to Daisy Clough.
After a refreshment stop(no sausage butty!!!) we headed for Garstang where at the Brockholes Arms we took a left turn to let us weave our way through the country lanes to Inglewhite then on to Goosnargh.
Finally after a long wait for dinner we set off in the fantastic weather down Goosnargh Lane then Langley Lane and on to Whittingham lane to what was Broughton traffic lights.
Crossing the old A6 we travelled west on Woodplumpton Lane to turn right on to Hollowforth Lane, Eaves Lane, Benson's Lane, Moss Lane, St. Michaels Road to cross the A6(again) for Bilsborrow Lane to turn left on to Lydiate Lane and the usual way home.
After another refreshment stop at The Barn by the time I arrived home I had managed 62 miles in with great company and fantastic weather.
Thanks everyone.
Jim

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Leighton Moss, Sunday 4th April, 2019

A group of 11 riders set off from the Millennium Bridge in Lancaster for Nick Hall’s ride on Sunday.  In the absence of Nick (resting after a not-too-serious cycling accident), Mike Codd stood in for the section to coffee.  The group headed along the Lune Cycleway into a light breeze, joining the road for the familiar route to via Wray and Wennington.  They followed Spout Lane, bypassing Ravens Close Brow on route to Burton in Lonsdale, before heading to the picturesquely situated café at Ireby Green, where another 2 members had arrived earlier.

The typical swapping of members going back and members going on resulted in a reduced group of 6 continuing the programmed route with Mike Bridges as leader, with others departing in various directions.  The sun was out and the breeze followed, as best it could on a typically Nick Hall-esque zigzag route, crossing the A65 3 times before arriving in Kirkby Lonsdale via Devil’s Bridge.  A further A65 crossing took the group via Low and High Biggins then onward and upward past Hutton Roof for a fast descent into Burton-in-Kendal.

One cyclist departed homewards from Burton, leaving 5 to continue via Tarn Lane, Yealand Redmayne and Yealand Storrs to reach the RSPB Leighton Moss café for lunch.  Another 2 members arrived to share the occasion.

From this point, the members of the group found their own individual ways back to Lancaster in their own time, with 1 opting for a short stroll via the nearest bird hides before departing.  A variety of routes were available, with the canal towpath and the A6 being among the favoured ones.  Whatever route ended the day, there was no doubt that a good day in wonderful scenery and company had been enjoyed by all.

We wish Nick a recovery as speedy and as pain-free as possible and hope to see him back on the bike shortly.

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Roseacre

Thursday 31st looked to be perfect for cycling & inevitably as I arrived at Millennium Bridge for the Depart the pedestrian area was awash with about 30 cyclists obstructing said pedestrians who were attempting to go about their daily business unsuccessfully.  I announced my intent to use the cycle path to get to Aldcliffe, but was interrupted by Mr Hutchinson who informed me it was flooded, to which I replied that I had ridden there the day before & could see no hint of flood.  Unfortunately I had neglected to use a telescope for my recon' & by the time we got to Aldcliffe the excessive standing water was immediately discernable so plan B was adopted which entailed riding through the rough path above; as often occurs, 'the best laid plans of mice & Ken' went awry.  Peter & Tracey joined us there having thought the Depart was from B & S as maybe they were already aware of the flood & assumed I wouldn't be so uninformed!  Having informed Neil's cohort that we would be turning next left into Galgate I set off & waited for them to appear, once in sight I assumed they had seen me indicating left & carried on, unfortunately being a dwarf dressed in red they didn't see me & they carried on to Conder Green, however, by Galgate X roads we were all back together in disarray!  As we approached Garstang Arts Geoff suddenly appeared on my right & thus the sprint for the sconeline began, I managed to hold him off as we locked the bikes up & was able to grab the one remaining scone, my one success of the day as it happened.  Upon leaving I lost 3 & gained 1, so still a sizeable group, I planned a long route around the Fylde & hence arrived around 2.00 pm to find the café so full of motorists that we had to sit outside on the veranda, but in warm sunshine this was no bother.  We perused the menus which the waitress brought out for us & waited for her return, whilst all around us the people who like us had pressed on 2 pedals all morning (as they all drive automatics so as not to burden their left foot too much) were served before us.  It was then we found out that we had to order our food at the paydesk, otherwise we would still be waiting for her even now; finally fed & glycogen replenished we set off towards Great Eccleston & the Cartford toll bridge, it is the 'privilege' of the ride leader to pay for all his & in my case, many, charges, thus I handed over the £27.80p for everyone & carried on towards the most tedious road in the word that is Pilling Marsh. I neglected to have an afternoon tea stop as my finances were by now summarily depleted & I have to buy everyone coffee & cake for my & Neil's birthday ride on 25th April, admittedly shared with Neil, then I spent the rest of the day in consultation with my bank manager who agreed to the loan providing he can come too & have double helpings, see you all at Arnside then!   

Ken Roberts

Photos: Matt Hodges

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Sunday 24th March, 2019

A tour of the Three Peaks was the aim on this bright Sunday morning, taking advantage of the best cycling conditions for some Sundays. The miles seemed to melt away before the lunch stop. Then it dawned upon us that our sense of achievement was illusory, bolstered by the strong following wind. This made the return to Lancaster quite challenging!

Twelve members met at Millenium Bridge, wondering if the leader would turn up, which he duly did a minute or two late.  The ride to Ingleton went smoothly, with Tim and Brian doing a sterling job heading up the second group on the road (that is, until the aroma of coffee overcame them two miles from the café and they shot past the rest of us). As well as being met at Inglesport by Sandra and Miles, we were also surprised to find the cycle parking facility had disappeared.

Although the cloud cover was increasing, it stayed dry as a reduced group of seven were pushed by the wind along the by-way to Chapel le Dale, and thence along the main road to Ribblehead and down the valley to Horton, with excellent views of all three peaks.  Cyclists’ fare was devoured at Blind Beck café, before turning the cranks in the direction of home, into an increasingly testing wind, particularly once we turned off towards Austwick at Helwith Bridge.  Our usual return route from this neck of the woods took us to Clapham village and past the Station onto Mewith Lane.

As it was only about 3 o’clock, we had time for a final get-together at Wray café before facing the final leg to Lancaster, Norman taking over the leadership on his electric-assist so we could tuck in behind him. The skies finally yielded some moisture, in the form of brief showers, but did not dampen our spirits as we reflected on a splendid day out enjoyed in excellent company, with the bonus of 60 miles under our belts and (I am informed) over 4,000 feet of ascent.

Ride to Hornby ... and back! Sunday 10th March 2019

Snow and winds of 40+ miles an hour were forecast for Sunday and so the leader for the ride, Patience had forewarned anyone reckless enough to come out that we were unlikely to go as far as Dent.  In the event it was raining heavily at 9.15 at the start at Beaumont.  Surprisingly 4 people turned up and it was decided that even getting as far as Casterton Golf Club seemed a bit daunting in the conditions, so the ride was shortened to a morning’s dash out to Hornby and back.

The outward route took us to Halton, then up Green Lane to the Halton – Kirkby Lonsdale Road.  Patience and Len were out for the first time in over a month, having rested their cycling muscles in India in considerably warmer and drier conditions than these.  As a consequence they trailed behind on the ascent to the top road.  However on turning right we had the wind at our tail and made a quick pace to the Aughton road.  Up here the snow came in earnest, but thankfully all the earlier rain ensured that the snow did not stick.  Neil’s fears of becoming a snowman were not realised and Len and Patience were relieved to be wearing their unfashionable but effective capes (as long as the wind was behind us!).

Hornby Tea Rooms was a shining beacon in the gloom and the four of us squelched into the welcome warmth and draped our gloves in front of the stove.  We were given the tempting news that fresh scones were in the oven and due out in five minutes.  We rapidly agreed to wait for them to come out and warmed our hands on hot brews in the meantime.

A longer than usual coffee break saw an improvement in the weather and we eventually sortied forth to find that the forecast stronger winds had arrived along with some blue sky.  Packing away the capes, we set sail for Lancaster, via the Lune cycle path, saying farewell to Ian at Halton as he continued into the city centre whilst the other 3 ascended Foundry Lane to Slyne and their respective homes.

Ride to Casterton Golf Club via RSPB on Sunday 17 February 2019

Considering the late announcement of the ride, a good number of people congregated at the Beaumont start for Neil’s ride to Casterton. We took the Caton Road from Beaumont and turned onto Kellett Lane to Nether Kellett and Over Kellett where, having heard mention of Warton Crag Mike left us to take the Carnforth route to RSPB Leighton Moss. The rest of us carried on to Capernwray, Borwick and Warton before taking the road over Warton Crag, where the short, steep climb rewarded us with fantastic views over the bay and towards Leighton Moss. A short descent took us down to join the main road which we followed to Leighton Moss. Waiting for us there were several other riders who had made their way independently, and we took our time enjoying the good company and fare provided.

With Miles now taking the place of Mike, we set off towards Yealand Storrs and Yealand Redmayne, where we took the turn towards Burton. Arriving in Burton, we took the Hutton Roof turn and followed the long climb as far as Johnson House, where we turned left towards Hutton Roof village. We took the Kirkby Lonsdale turn in the village and passed through High and Low Biggins before arriving in Kirkby Lonsdale. We cycled through Kirkby and crossed Devil’s Bridge, making our way to Casterton Golf Club where Dave, who had made his way independently from home, and Sandra, who rode ahead of us from Leighton Moss, were waiting for us.

Having refuelled satisfactorily we regrouped outside and readied ourselves for the home leg. Adrian’s bike lock key, however, hadn’t entered into the departure spirit and promptly snapped off in the lock. A plea to the proprietors produced a pair of bolt croppers, but the cable resolutely refused be cropped. Out came the Angle Grinder and the cable soon surrendered. Thanking the proprietors and promising to call again, took the minor road and joined the old Roman Road crossing the A65 and onto Overtown. Through Burrow and Tunstall, we took the Wrayton turnoff and followed the road to Wennington, onto Wray and Hornby, before riders began to choose their own ways home and the group rapidly diminished as we neared home.

4000 ft of ascent, 48 miles in good company on a fine, occasionally sunny day and home for 4 o’clock. What better way to spend Sunday!

Neil Westwell

Ride from Preston Dock to Rufford, Sunday 10th February, 2019

A small group of 5 riders met at the Car Park on the quay wall at Preston Dock on Sunday for a car-assisted ride, starting in cloudy, cold weather and led by Mike Bridges.  They headed east along the Preston Guild Wheel then south along the Old Tramway (NCN Route 55) to Walton Park, using back roads and cycle routes to bypass most of the traffic through Penwortham and Leyland as far as Worden Park.  A short wintry shower caused waterproofs to be donned.

Having reached Worden Park in Leyland, the continued using NCN Route 91 southwards, bypassing Croston to reach Eccleston for a break at the friendly Manna café.  The weather remained cold and clear with sunny periods and no further rain.  One member returned to the start at this point.

The others continued gently then more steeply upwards to the highest point of the day at Harrock Hill, where an extensive view northwards was enjoyed.  The sights included Preston in the middle distance, with a backdrop extending from Heysham via the Bowland Fells to Winter Hill.  Descending, the group followed minor and B roads to reach the lunch spot at the Boat House Brasserie.

A short distance on the A 59 brought the group to another section of Route 91 from Sollom to Bretherton, crossing Red Bridge over the Douglas on route to Bretherton, with extensive views across the Lancashire Plain to the West Pennine Moors.  More minor roads took the group to Walmer Bridge then via Hall Bridge to Longton, Hutton, to reach Penwortham.

A quiet cycle route traversed Penwortham and descended to the river for the last leg to Preston Dock.  A most enjoyable ride, giving a pleasant introduction to an area not often visited by the Lancaster and South Lakes Group.

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Arnside via Wallings Cafe, Thursday 7th February 2019

Extremely unpromising weather greeted us as we assembled at Millennium Bridge for Neil’s ride to Arnside. As the 8 of us started the ride, it became increasingly obvious that we were going to battle against both wind and rain for the first leg of the ride which included Lancaster Quay, the cycle path to Aldcliffe, where Ian joined us, and onto Stodday, before taking Tarnwater Lane to Galgate. Stoney Lane, Chipping Road and Long Lane took us to Scorton where we passed the first roadside cafe with envy, having already informed Wallings that we were going there for coffee. Passing two more cafes we travelled along Cabus Nook Lane and onto Park Lane arriving at Wallings around 11am ,where we enjoyed our coffee and cakes and indulged thankfully in a substantial drying process.

Leaving Wallings we were grateful to see the rain had stopped, and was that a hint of sunshine peeping through the cloud? We took the turn onto Cockerham Road and made our way along to Whams Lane to 5 Lane Ends towards Quernmore through ‘Happy Valley’. We arrived in Caton by which time we were down to 5 participants, the other 4 having previously arranged appointments. The sun was now shining, the rain had gone away, only the wind to contend with now, and that was only intermittent. Continuing our cycle stop cafe conquering ride at some pace now, we crossed the Lune by the road bridge and carried onto the top of Green Lane. The next village was Over Kellet then Borwick, passing Clearwater Cafe on the way. Greenland’s Cafe was the next cafe to pass before we arrived at Burton, taking the Yealand turn. Sunny skies and moderate wind continued as we passed RSPB and Silverdale Golf Club. Through Waterslack and the edge of Silverdale, we arrived for our extremely well earned lunch at the Heron Cafe in Arnside, where we were made very welcome.

We then left to make our own way home, arriving at varying times between 4pm and 5.20pm. A challenging ride of over 63miles, 3600 ft of ascent, 9 cafes, but we only stopped at 2 of them!!!

Neil Westwell 

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Arnside (but not Casterton)

The sun was beating down from a blue cloudless sky and the waves were lapping gently on the golden, warm sand under my feet! Then I woke up, got up and looked outside to see yet another night’s frost set hard on the garage roof. Was it a good idea to ride to Arnside for coffee and onto Casterton for lunch? Only the number of participants would confirm that, so on with the several layers of clothes, a good breakfast and onto the bike. The forecast was for slowly increasing temperatures, but lots of rain in the afternoon.

Arriving at the start made me think I had gone to the wrong start as there was nobody there, but Ken arrived and, sure enough, 5 minutes after start time, Nick arrived. So we were 3, but we had arranged to meet Brian en route, so 3 became 4. It was immediately obvious that, as we climbed Kellet Lane towards Nether Kellet, although extremely cold, the views more than made up for it, with a clear view of Grange and the snow covered Lakeland Fells in the far distance.

Passing through Kellet, we took the left turn and descended towards Carnforth, taking it fairly slowly in case of ice patches on the road, of which there turned out to be none.

Through Carnforth and onto Warton we took the left turn towards Silverdale. Arriving at the junction by the golf club, Nick decided to take the lower route past the station to Arnside, whilst the rest of us headed towards Silverdale village and over Arnside Knott to Arnside where we all arrived at the Heron Cafe together. Waiting for us in the Cafe were Sandra and Miles, and then Ian came through the door to join us, so we became 7, not a bad turnout considering the outside temperature of 0 degrees. It was warmer inside the cafe as we relaxed in the pleasant atmosphere.  The time came to discuss our onward options and it was obvious that nobody wanted to continue to Casterton given the forecasted rain, which would fall on frozen ground and may produce ice.

We left the Heron, Nick and Sandra taking the Silverdale route home and the other 5 of us heading for Milnthorpe. Through Milnthorpe, Wassett, Holme, and Burton and arriving at Nether Kellet we began to feel the first gentle drops of rain. As people dropped off to make their ways home the rain did stop and didn’t really reappear again during the ride.

In the end, 33 miles, 1900 ft of ascent and dry participants, an excellent mornings cycling, and our decision to take an early turn for home vindicated by the heavy rain arriving soon after lunch.

Neil Westwell 

Ride from Boot & Shoe to Great Eccleston, Thursday 24th January 2019

The power of prayer doesn't exist! There I was at the Boot and Shoe praying nobody would turn up but they did!!!
Seeing what the weather was like I decided to keep off the back roads and went to Daisy Clough via University then Whams Lane, Forton and a short stretch on the A6 before turning left to go over 6 Arches Bridge to Daisy Clough.
We were met in the cafe with warm smiling faces, was it a welcome or "oh dear look at these cold old men" … anyway we were looked after very well indeed.
During coffee the anticipated route was decided to be a possible icy problem so I elected to cross the A6 at the lights and go direct through Nateby to cross the Wyre at Cartforth Bridge where I tried to get away without paying for one (I had forgotten to count myself as a rider!!)
Long slow lunch was had before we headed back over Cartforth Bridge (got the numbers right this time) and headed for Pilling. Across the moss until Gulf Lane where Norman decided to leave us, then into Cockerham where Tim, Phil, Keith and Neil went straight on and the three left decided for another brew at the Pudding House.
Heading home via Ratcliffe Wharfe Lane (where Matt left us) crossing the A6 at Potters Brook, into Galgate back through the Uni and home.
An interesting ride with my Strava showing we were riding for 3hr 21mins but stopped for 3hr 40 mins(and they think women can talk!). What puzzles me is where the 637 feet of climbing came???
For me it was 41 miles but with fantastic company, thanks guys.
Jim Gardner

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Barbon via Bentham and Ingleton - Thursday 10th January, 2019

Following Neil’s alternative ride to Staveley, last week, it was suggested I might lead a longer ride, alongside Ian’s planned ‘short’ route. I agreed as long as there was sufficient interest at the start. Instead of my expected 5 or 6, there were 12 of us who climbed to Nether Kellet. We then rode via the Red Well on route to Gressingham. We followed the lanes to Wray and onto Bentham where we met up for coffee with Ian’s party.

From Bentham we made our way to Ingleton before starting to leap frog the A65.Our first leap took us from the Thornton in Lonsdale lane end to Lower Westhouse. We soon turned north towards Ireby which we reached across the A65. Once beyond Leck, we jumped the main road at Cowan Bridge to reach the small bridge over Leck Beck. Once back over the busy main road we followed the Roman Road north towards Barbon. We diverted round Whelprigg onto the delightful high fell road. A fast decent led us to Barbon. There was no room at the inn (cafe) so we continued to the cafe at Casterton Golf Club.

Sustained, we pedalled into Kirkby Lonsdale before crossing the A65, for the last time, at Biggins. Our route then led us over to Burton via Nanny Hall. Familiar roads took us back home via Over Kellet.

55 miles for me, 60+ for the rest and at least 1000m of climbing.

Brian Greenwood 

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Casterton Golf Club via Greenlands, Sunday 6th January 2019

 A pleasant surprise awaited  Len and Patience at the start, as a large contingent of active members had decided to turn up, perhaps  encouraged by the benign (not freezing) weather or a perfect storm of New Year’s resolutions to set a mileage target  for 2019.  I guess that there were 14 or so, including some who are only usually spotted on Thursdays.

Following copious New Year greetings, we turned our wheels towards the coffee stop at Greenlands, via the Lune cycle path, commiserating on the way with members of the Lune Valley Club who we overtook at speed (they were mending a puncture).  Regrouping at Crook o’ Lune car park, we took on the challenging climb of Halton Park and succeeded in riding it all.  The hard work over, Greenlands was reached at 10.30, via Addington Lane, Birkland Barrow and Over Kellet. We were greeted at coffee by 6 members who had gone direct from home.  A leisurely break was enjoyed by all, and convivial discourse flowed uninterruptedly.

Surprisingly, most riders decided to proceed to lunch at Casterton, taking the main road to Burton in a disciplined manner so as not to annoy Sunday morning drivers. Through the village and right towards Clawthorpe where lay our next challenge of the day, the climb into the hill mist onto Clawthorpe Fell.

Regrouping at the top, a controlled descent took us down to Hutton Roof and thence via Biggins to Kirkby Lonsdale, where it was noted that the increasingly dreich conditions had reduced the motor cycle presence by a few thousand.  It was only left for the 16 of us to tackle the long drag to lunch at Casterton Golf Club.

The staff coped admirably with the influx, having only been forewarned of about 5 cyclists.  We were able to swell the choir singing Happy Birthday to a 7 year old at a children’s party at the next table, before heading off into the mist again towards Lancaster.  Some took the low road along the east bank of the river, whilst most retraced across Devil’s Bridge and took to the hills between Newton and Capernwray.

Not a spectacular mileage, but plenty of climbs to keep us warm, and a chance to relate our adventures of the festive season and our hopes and aspirations for tours and day rides awheel in 2019.