Dant’s inferno part two didn’t seem quite so hot but still it was hot at the start and then it got hotter. From Beaumont we rode up out of Halton on the Kirkby road just to get properly warm. The descents, like Sunny Bank, were fast and cool but with the extra thrill of melting tarmac; it looked like a slick on the road in some places, in others the little bubbles popped under our wheels. We did a short country lane detour to miss Borwick and enjoyed views across the fields before dropping into Priest Hutton. A bit of ‘A’ road to get to Cinderbarrow Lane but at least the ‘mucky farm’ was dry and the bikes didn’t get spattered as they usually do. Then around to ride beside the railway up to Holme, along the main road for half a mile until the left turn to Beetham.
We were a little depleted (from 11 to 7 riders) as well as repleted (with scones) as we left the coffee stop and took the rough lane through to Wasset and then on the B road to Ackenthwaite. Patience showed an early streak of impatience by setting off for Crooklands while I diddled with the Garmin. But the route the Garmin knew went north for a bit – so that’s what we did. And eventually we got to Crooklands and the swoosh down under the railway, past Farleton View, then up over the motorway. A few hundred metres on the A6070 before we turned onto the little roads again to wind our way up to the bottom edge of Farleton Fell. Both gates were open on Puddlethwaite Lane and we enjoyed the views back across the valley towards the Middleton fells. A bit of up and down to get towards Hutton Roof and then a glorious down towards Kirkby Lonsdale. Now most people had sarnies and found a bench overlooking a running track with no runners but Neil and I went to the Casterton Golf club to get a real nosh. When the sarnie eaters had rejoined us we went up the hill to the roman road and down along it to the A65. A few hundred yards on its cobbley surface and then we turned east at Cowan Bridge to join a delightful lane through Leck and Ireby with Gragareth rising on our left and views across the plain and our route home on our right. We whizzed down from Burton and turned right to take the quiet zig-zag up the hill to Ravens Close Brow. There was talk of diverting to Bentham and Len wanted to do another hill. But ice-creams at the Bridge Café in Wray won out. And then we set off for home, Patience towing us down the A683 at a cracking pace (we kept up, just, but only by staying close behind) until we got onto the multi-use path and were mixing it with dogs and children. A haze and a breeze had kept the heat a little lower than on recent days – can this glorious weather continue?