Eight members of Lancaster and South Lakes Cyclists Touring Club met at Beaumont for the ride led by Patience to Ireby Green and Feizor. The forecast was for a fine morning, with showers coming in after 2pm. This proved to be accurate, although we weren’t expecting the thunder which rumbled intermittently on the ride home.
Ever in search of routes which don’t replicate recent rides, we set off to Halton, staying on the north side of the river, and turned off at Green Lane, meeting another group of cyclists with the same challenge in mind. A steep climb brought us up to the main road between Halton and Kirkby Lonsdale, where we turned right, then right again after a couple of miles on the Aughton Road. We took the narrow lane to Eskrigg, by-passing Gressingham, then across the Loyne Bridge to Hornby. We turned left onto the main road through Melling and Tunstall, before turning off at The Highwayman pub and taking the minor lane to Cowan Bridge. It took a little while to cross the A65 as there was a lot of traffic, and we thankfully gained the quiet lanes again, taking the Leck and Ireby loop on our way to Ireby Green farm café, where we enjoyed some morning refreshments and met up with club chairman Nick who was nursing a sore knee.
After a welcome break we carried on down to Burton in Lonsdale, then along undulating lanes to Ingleton, where we girded our loins for the long climb over the fell to Clapham, where Neil and Ken left us in a bid to beat the predicted rain. We carried on via the cyclists’ link alongside the A65 to Austwick. The original plan had been to carry on up the Helwith Bridge road, then drop down to Feizor on a bridleway, but the sky was darkening and some of us had tired legs, so the remaining six opted to take the quicker route to lunch at Feizor which involved half a mile of cycling on the A65. Fortunately most of the traffic was going in the other direction, and a cautious camper van driver stayed behind the group, providing some unintended protection for us.
Four of us enjoyed the cyclists’ staple of beans (and eggs for some) on toast at the café, with 2 others leaving us briefly to consume their sandwiches. As we gathered back together to leave the first few drops of rain fell, but did not amount to much, so we did not have to put waterproofs on yet. We turned back towards the A65, but turned left before reaching it and took the high level route which took us to the top of Buckhaw Brow. An exhilarating 40+ mph swoop downhill to Giggleswick was followed by a steep haul up over the fell to (you guessed it!) the A65 which we crossed for the final time and carried on to Eldroth and Keasdon and the ever-popular cyclists’ route back to Wray on Mewith Lane.
An afternoon tea stop at Wray gave time for the rain to finally catch us and give us a thorough, but rather welcome, drenching on our way back to the cycle track through Caton and Halton to Lancaster. The rain had ceased by the time we reached the cycle track and the sun came back out, causing rising clouds of condensation as the roads quickly dried out. After 60 miles and some 3500 feet of ascent we patted ourselves on the back for a great ride in excellent company.