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.