Ride to Grange-over-Sands via Sizergh Castle, Sunday 9 December 2018

Bright early morning sunshine greeted a swarm of riders outside Beaumont College at the start of Neil’s ride to Grange. Considering the time of year, an attendance of 12 riders constituted a good number of participants, and we eagerly set off towards Kellet Lane in 2 smaller groups. As well as being bright and sunny, the views were clear and distant as we made our way through the Kellets, Capernwray and Priest Hutton. There was clear evidence on the roads and in the fields of the recent heavy rain in the form of puddles in varying areas and depths and care was taken to avoid those lying in the roads. Passing through Burton, Holme and round the outside of Milnthorpe, we headed towards Hincaster where we came across the biggest puddle of the day, which had spread across all the road, and made us think we had arrived in the Lake District by mistake. We all came to a halt and considered our options, concluding that we needed a volunteer. Mike B. was our hero and bravely took the lead through the puddle, and seeing it wasn’t as deep as feared, the rest followed. We made our way to Sizergh Castle to be greeted by 5 more riders who had arrived independently. 

As we took our well earned fuel, a survey was quickly taken and it was unanimously decided that we would continue to Grange as originally planned, so the group, now comprising 10 riders, headed for Levens. Up the steep hill away from Sizergh wasn’t the easiest of restarts, but there was no possibility of being cold, especially in the continuing strong sunshine. The long descent through Levens was a nice reward for the climb just completed. Through Witherslack and Lindale, we started the ascent of Lindale Hill but took the steep climb up School Hill, again hard work, but rewarded with the long descent into Grange. Butterfingers cafe was the lunch stop where we were served quickly and cheerfully by the master of the house.

Time was passing quickly, so, as we needed to make the most of the short hours of daylight, we managed to depart Grange around 1.30, although our numbers were depleted when Mick decided to catch the train home. We were unable to take the Meathop turn alongside the golf club owing to the floods, so we followed the main road for about 3 miles and then took the next Meathop turn, just before the roundabout. We followed the usual route through Witherslack, Levens, the Deer Park and onto Silverdale as the sun continued to shine, as it had, in fact, all day. We declined the tea stop at RSPB as the daylight was beginning to deteriorate now and kept a good pace to Crag Bank and onwards, where riders began to break off and make for home.

61 miles, 3300 ft of ascent at a good pace of 12+ mph made the most of a superb Winter’s day. If all December days were like this, we would want more December’s in the year!

Neil Westwell

Photo: The group of riders leaving Sizergh - all men again. There was a woman from the Club at Sizergh but she didn’t follow the ride so it was difficult not to end up with yet another all male photograph… Where are all the women riders? We need more women riders so we can have more photos of women riders.