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.