Ride from Crook O'Lune to Goosnargh, Thursday 11th April

Gathering at Crook o Lune were about 15 riders all looking forward to the really fine sunny day I had organised.
Setting off on the cycle track heading for Caton we managed to pick up Debbie on the way.
We crossed over the main road at the roundabout and headed south towards Postern Gate. Instead of turning left on to the "happy valley road" we carried on up then turned left to go parallel to the motorway and behind the university into Galgate. In Galgate I managed to confuse some by crossing the A6 at the lights and went to Conder Green via Sellerley Farm.
Into Cockerham to take first left then over canal to take second right and weaving our way to the A6 again where we went left then a quick right passing Six Arches caravan site to Daisy Clough.
After a refreshment stop(no sausage butty!!!) we headed for Garstang where at the Brockholes Arms we took a left turn to let us weave our way through the country lanes to Inglewhite then on to Goosnargh.
Finally after a long wait for dinner we set off in the fantastic weather down Goosnargh Lane then Langley Lane and on to Whittingham lane to what was Broughton traffic lights.
Crossing the old A6 we travelled west on Woodplumpton Lane to turn right on to Hollowforth Lane, Eaves Lane, Benson's Lane, Moss Lane, St. Michaels Road to cross the A6(again) for Bilsborrow Lane to turn left on to Lydiate Lane and the usual way home.
After another refreshment stop at The Barn by the time I arrived home I had managed 62 miles in with great company and fantastic weather.
Thanks everyone.

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Leighton Moss, Sunday 4th April, 2019

A group of 11 riders set off from the Millennium Bridge in Lancaster for Nick Hall’s ride on Sunday.  In the absence of Nick (resting after a not-too-serious cycling accident), Mike Codd stood in for the section to coffee.  The group headed along the Lune Cycleway into a light breeze, joining the road for the familiar route to via Wray and Wennington.  They followed Spout Lane, bypassing Ravens Close Brow on route to Burton in Lonsdale, before heading to the picturesquely situated café at Ireby Green, where another 2 members had arrived earlier.

The typical swapping of members going back and members going on resulted in a reduced group of 6 continuing the programmed route with Mike Bridges as leader, with others departing in various directions.  The sun was out and the breeze followed, as best it could on a typically Nick Hall-esque zigzag route, crossing the A65 3 times before arriving in Kirkby Lonsdale via Devil’s Bridge.  A further A65 crossing took the group via Low and High Biggins then onward and upward past Hutton Roof for a fast descent into Burton-in-Kendal.

One cyclist departed homewards from Burton, leaving 5 to continue via Tarn Lane, Yealand Redmayne and Yealand Storrs to reach the RSPB Leighton Moss café for lunch.  Another 2 members arrived to share the occasion.

From this point, the members of the group found their own individual ways back to Lancaster in their own time, with 1 opting for a short stroll via the nearest bird hides before departing.  A variety of routes were available, with the canal towpath and the A6 being among the favoured ones.  Whatever route ended the day, there was no doubt that a good day in wonderful scenery and company had been enjoyed by all.

We wish Nick a recovery as speedy and as pain-free as possible and hope to see him back on the bike shortly.

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Roseacre

Thursday 31st looked to be perfect for cycling & inevitably as I arrived at Millennium Bridge for the Depart the pedestrian area was awash with about 30 cyclists obstructing said pedestrians who were attempting to go about their daily business unsuccessfully.  I announced my intent to use the cycle path to get to Aldcliffe, but was interrupted by Mr Hutchinson who informed me it was flooded, to which I replied that I had ridden there the day before & could see no hint of flood.  Unfortunately I had neglected to use a telescope for my recon' & by the time we got to Aldcliffe the excessive standing water was immediately discernable so plan B was adopted which entailed riding through the rough path above; as often occurs, 'the best laid plans of mice & Ken' went awry.  Peter & Tracey joined us there having thought the Depart was from B & S as maybe they were already aware of the flood & assumed I wouldn't be so uninformed!  Having informed Neil's cohort that we would be turning next left into Galgate I set off & waited for them to appear, once in sight I assumed they had seen me indicating left & carried on, unfortunately being a dwarf dressed in red they didn't see me & they carried on to Conder Green, however, by Galgate X roads we were all back together in disarray!  As we approached Garstang Arts Geoff suddenly appeared on my right & thus the sprint for the sconeline began, I managed to hold him off as we locked the bikes up & was able to grab the one remaining scone, my one success of the day as it happened.  Upon leaving I lost 3 & gained 1, so still a sizeable group, I planned a long route around the Fylde & hence arrived around 2.00 pm to find the café so full of motorists that we had to sit outside on the veranda, but in warm sunshine this was no bother.  We perused the menus which the waitress brought out for us & waited for her return, whilst all around us the people who like us had pressed on 2 pedals all morning (as they all drive automatics so as not to burden their left foot too much) were served before us.  It was then we found out that we had to order our food at the paydesk, otherwise we would still be waiting for her even now; finally fed & glycogen replenished we set off towards Great Eccleston & the Cartford toll bridge, it is the 'privilege' of the ride leader to pay for all his & in my case, many, charges, thus I handed over the £27.80p for everyone & carried on towards the most tedious road in the word that is Pilling Marsh. I neglected to have an afternoon tea stop as my finances were by now summarily depleted & I have to buy everyone coffee & cake for my & Neil's birthday ride on 25th April, admittedly shared with Neil, then I spent the rest of the day in consultation with my bank manager who agreed to the loan providing he can come too & have double helpings, see you all at Arnside then!   

Ken Roberts

Photos: Matt Hodges

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Sunday 24th March, 2019

A tour of the Three Peaks was the aim on this bright Sunday morning, taking advantage of the best cycling conditions for some Sundays. The miles seemed to melt away before the lunch stop. Then it dawned upon us that our sense of achievement was illusory, bolstered by the strong following wind. This made the return to Lancaster quite challenging!

Twelve members met at Millenium Bridge, wondering if the leader would turn up, which he duly did a minute or two late.  The ride to Ingleton went smoothly, with Tim and Brian doing a sterling job heading up the second group on the road (that is, until the aroma of coffee overcame them two miles from the café and they shot past the rest of us). As well as being met at Inglesport by Sandra and Miles, we were also surprised to find the cycle parking facility had disappeared.

Although the cloud cover was increasing, it stayed dry as a reduced group of seven were pushed by the wind along the by-way to Chapel le Dale, and thence along the main road to Ribblehead and down the valley to Horton, with excellent views of all three peaks.  Cyclists’ fare was devoured at Blind Beck café, before turning the cranks in the direction of home, into an increasingly testing wind, particularly once we turned off towards Austwick at Helwith Bridge.  Our usual return route from this neck of the woods took us to Clapham village and past the Station onto Mewith Lane.

As it was only about 3 o’clock, we had time for a final get-together at Wray café before facing the final leg to Lancaster, Norman taking over the leadership on his electric-assist so we could tuck in behind him. The skies finally yielded some moisture, in the form of brief showers, but did not dampen our spirits as we reflected on a splendid day out enjoyed in excellent company, with the bonus of 60 miles under our belts and (I am informed) over 4,000 feet of ascent.

Ride to Hornby ... and back! Sunday 10th March 2019

Snow and winds of 40+ miles an hour were forecast for Sunday and so the leader for the ride, Patience had forewarned anyone reckless enough to come out that we were unlikely to go as far as Dent.  In the event it was raining heavily at 9.15 at the start at Beaumont.  Surprisingly 4 people turned up and it was decided that even getting as far as Casterton Golf Club seemed a bit daunting in the conditions, so the ride was shortened to a morning’s dash out to Hornby and back.

The outward route took us to Halton, then up Green Lane to the Halton – Kirkby Lonsdale Road.  Patience and Len were out for the first time in over a month, having rested their cycling muscles in India in considerably warmer and drier conditions than these.  As a consequence they trailed behind on the ascent to the top road.  However on turning right we had the wind at our tail and made a quick pace to the Aughton road.  Up here the snow came in earnest, but thankfully all the earlier rain ensured that the snow did not stick.  Neil’s fears of becoming a snowman were not realised and Len and Patience were relieved to be wearing their unfashionable but effective capes (as long as the wind was behind us!).

Hornby Tea Rooms was a shining beacon in the gloom and the four of us squelched into the welcome warmth and draped our gloves in front of the stove.  We were given the tempting news that fresh scones were in the oven and due out in five minutes.  We rapidly agreed to wait for them to come out and warmed our hands on hot brews in the meantime.

A longer than usual coffee break saw an improvement in the weather and we eventually sortied forth to find that the forecast stronger winds had arrived along with some blue sky.  Packing away the capes, we set sail for Lancaster, via the Lune cycle path, saying farewell to Ian at Halton as he continued into the city centre whilst the other 3 ascended Foundry Lane to Slyne and their respective homes.

Ride to Casterton Golf Club via RSPB on Sunday 17 February 2019

Considering the late announcement of the ride, a good number of people congregated at the Beaumont start for Neil’s ride to Casterton. We took the Caton Road from Beaumont and turned onto Kellett Lane to Nether Kellett and Over Kellett where, having heard mention of Warton Crag Mike left us to take the Carnforth route to RSPB Leighton Moss. The rest of us carried on to Capernwray, Borwick and Warton before taking the road over Warton Crag, where the short, steep climb rewarded us with fantastic views over the bay and towards Leighton Moss. A short descent took us down to join the main road which we followed to Leighton Moss. Waiting for us there were several other riders who had made their way independently, and we took our time enjoying the good company and fare provided.

With Miles now taking the place of Mike, we set off towards Yealand Storrs and Yealand Redmayne, where we took the turn towards Burton. Arriving in Burton, we took the Hutton Roof turn and followed the long climb as far as Johnson House, where we turned left towards Hutton Roof village. We took the Kirkby Lonsdale turn in the village and passed through High and Low Biggins before arriving in Kirkby Lonsdale. We cycled through Kirkby and crossed Devil’s Bridge, making our way to Casterton Golf Club where Dave, who had made his way independently from home, and Sandra, who rode ahead of us from Leighton Moss, were waiting for us.

Having refuelled satisfactorily we regrouped outside and readied ourselves for the home leg. Adrian’s bike lock key, however, hadn’t entered into the departure spirit and promptly snapped off in the lock. A plea to the proprietors produced a pair of bolt croppers, but the cable resolutely refused be cropped. Out came the Angle Grinder and the cable soon surrendered. Thanking the proprietors and promising to call again, took the minor road and joined the old Roman Road crossing the A65 and onto Overtown. Through Burrow and Tunstall, we took the Wrayton turnoff and followed the road to Wennington, onto Wray and Hornby, before riders began to choose their own ways home and the group rapidly diminished as we neared home.

4000 ft of ascent, 48 miles in good company on a fine, occasionally sunny day and home for 4 o’clock. What better way to spend Sunday!

Neil Westwell

Ride from Preston Dock to Rufford, Sunday 10th February, 2019

A small group of 5 riders met at the Car Park on the quay wall at Preston Dock on Sunday for a car-assisted ride, starting in cloudy, cold weather and led by Mike Bridges.  They headed east along the Preston Guild Wheel then south along the Old Tramway (NCN Route 55) to Walton Park, using back roads and cycle routes to bypass most of the traffic through Penwortham and Leyland as far as Worden Park.  A short wintry shower caused waterproofs to be donned.

Having reached Worden Park in Leyland, the continued using NCN Route 91 southwards, bypassing Croston to reach Eccleston for a break at the friendly Manna café.  The weather remained cold and clear with sunny periods and no further rain.  One member returned to the start at this point.

The others continued gently then more steeply upwards to the highest point of the day at Harrock Hill, where an extensive view northwards was enjoyed.  The sights included Preston in the middle distance, with a backdrop extending from Heysham via the Bowland Fells to Winter Hill.  Descending, the group followed minor and B roads to reach the lunch spot at the Boat House Brasserie.

A short distance on the A 59 brought the group to another section of Route 91 from Sollom to Bretherton, crossing Red Bridge over the Douglas on route to Bretherton, with extensive views across the Lancashire Plain to the West Pennine Moors.  More minor roads took the group to Walmer Bridge then via Hall Bridge to Longton, Hutton, to reach Penwortham.

A quiet cycle route traversed Penwortham and descended to the river for the last leg to Preston Dock.  A most enjoyable ride, giving a pleasant introduction to an area not often visited by the Lancaster and South Lakes Group.

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Arnside via Wallings Cafe, Thursday 7th February 2019

Extremely unpromising weather greeted us as we assembled at Millennium Bridge for Neil’s ride to Arnside. As the 8 of us started the ride, it became increasingly obvious that we were going to battle against both wind and rain for the first leg of the ride which included Lancaster Quay, the cycle path to Aldcliffe, where Ian joined us, and onto Stodday, before taking Tarnwater Lane to Galgate. Stoney Lane, Chipping Road and Long Lane took us to Scorton where we passed the first roadside cafe with envy, having already informed Wallings that we were going there for coffee. Passing two more cafes we travelled along Cabus Nook Lane and onto Park Lane arriving at Wallings around 11am ,where we enjoyed our coffee and cakes and indulged thankfully in a substantial drying process.

Leaving Wallings we were grateful to see the rain had stopped, and was that a hint of sunshine peeping through the cloud? We took the turn onto Cockerham Road and made our way along to Whams Lane to 5 Lane Ends towards Quernmore through ‘Happy Valley’. We arrived in Caton by which time we were down to 5 participants, the other 4 having previously arranged appointments. The sun was now shining, the rain had gone away, only the wind to contend with now, and that was only intermittent. Continuing our cycle stop cafe conquering ride at some pace now, we crossed the Lune by the road bridge and carried onto the top of Green Lane. The next village was Over Kellet then Borwick, passing Clearwater Cafe on the way. Greenland’s Cafe was the next cafe to pass before we arrived at Burton, taking the Yealand turn. Sunny skies and moderate wind continued as we passed RSPB and Silverdale Golf Club. Through Waterslack and the edge of Silverdale, we arrived for our extremely well earned lunch at the Heron Cafe in Arnside, where we were made very welcome.

We then left to make our own way home, arriving at varying times between 4pm and 5.20pm. A challenging ride of over 63miles, 3600 ft of ascent, 9 cafes, but we only stopped at 2 of them!!!

Neil Westwell 

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Arnside (but not Casterton)

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.

Neil Westwell 

Ride from Boot & Shoe to Great Eccleston, Thursday 24th January 2019

The power of prayer doesn't exist! There I was at the Boot and Shoe praying nobody would turn up but they did!!!
Seeing what the weather was like I decided to keep off the back roads and went to Daisy Clough via University then Whams Lane, Forton and a short stretch on the A6 before turning left to go over 6 Arches Bridge to Daisy Clough.
We were met in the cafe with warm smiling faces, was it a welcome or "oh dear look at these cold old men" … anyway we were looked after very well indeed.
During coffee the anticipated route was decided to be a possible icy problem so I elected to cross the A6 at the lights and go direct through Nateby to cross the Wyre at Cartforth Bridge where I tried to get away without paying for one (I had forgotten to count myself as a rider!!)
Long slow lunch was had before we headed back over Cartforth Bridge (got the numbers right this time) and headed for Pilling. Across the moss until Gulf Lane where Norman decided to leave us, then into Cockerham where Tim, Phil, Keith and Neil went straight on and the three left decided for another brew at the Pudding House.
Heading home via Ratcliffe Wharfe Lane (where Matt left us) crossing the A6 at Potters Brook, into Galgate back through the Uni and home.
An interesting ride with my Strava showing we were riding for 3hr 21mins but stopped for 3hr 40 mins(and they think women can talk!). What puzzles me is where the 637 feet of climbing came???
For me it was 41 miles but with fantastic company, thanks guys.
Jim Gardner

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Barbon via Bentham and Ingleton - Thursday 10th January, 2019

Following Neil’s alternative ride to Staveley, last week, it was suggested I might lead a longer ride, alongside Ian’s planned ‘short’ route. I agreed as long as there was sufficient interest at the start. Instead of my expected 5 or 6, there were 12 of us who climbed to Nether Kellet. We then rode via the Red Well on route to Gressingham. We followed the lanes to Wray and onto Bentham where we met up for coffee with Ian’s party.

From Bentham we made our way to Ingleton before starting to leap frog the A65.Our first leap took us from the Thornton in Lonsdale lane end to Lower Westhouse. We soon turned north towards Ireby which we reached across the A65. Once beyond Leck, we jumped the main road at Cowan Bridge to reach the small bridge over Leck Beck. Once back over the busy main road we followed the Roman Road north towards Barbon. We diverted round Whelprigg onto the delightful high fell road. A fast decent led us to Barbon. There was no room at the inn (cafe) so we continued to the cafe at Casterton Golf Club.

Sustained, we pedalled into Kirkby Lonsdale before crossing the A65, for the last time, at Biggins. Our route then led us over to Burton via Nanny Hall. Familiar roads took us back home via Over Kellet.

55 miles for me, 60+ for the rest and at least 1000m of climbing.

Brian Greenwood 

Ride from Millennium Bridge to Casterton Golf Club via Greenlands, Sunday 6th January 2019

 A pleasant surprise awaited  Len and Patience at the start, as a large contingent of active members had decided to turn up, perhaps  encouraged by the benign (not freezing) weather or a perfect storm of New Year’s resolutions to set a mileage target  for 2019.  I guess that there were 14 or so, including some who are only usually spotted on Thursdays.

Following copious New Year greetings, we turned our wheels towards the coffee stop at Greenlands, via the Lune cycle path, commiserating on the way with members of the Lune Valley Club who we overtook at speed (they were mending a puncture).  Regrouping at Crook o’ Lune car park, we took on the challenging climb of Halton Park and succeeded in riding it all.  The hard work over, Greenlands was reached at 10.30, via Addington Lane, Birkland Barrow and Over Kellet. We were greeted at coffee by 6 members who had gone direct from home.  A leisurely break was enjoyed by all, and convivial discourse flowed uninterruptedly.

Surprisingly, most riders decided to proceed to lunch at Casterton, taking the main road to Burton in a disciplined manner so as not to annoy Sunday morning drivers. Through the village and right towards Clawthorpe where lay our next challenge of the day, the climb into the hill mist onto Clawthorpe Fell.

Regrouping at the top, a controlled descent took us down to Hutton Roof and thence via Biggins to Kirkby Lonsdale, where it was noted that the increasingly dreich conditions had reduced the motor cycle presence by a few thousand.  It was only left for the 16 of us to tackle the long drag to lunch at Casterton Golf Club.

The staff coped admirably with the influx, having only been forewarned of about 5 cyclists.  We were able to swell the choir singing Happy Birthday to a 7 year old at a children’s party at the next table, before heading off into the mist again towards Lancaster.  Some took the low road along the east bank of the river, whilst most retraced across Devil’s Bridge and took to the hills between Newton and Capernwray.

Not a spectacular mileage, but plenty of climbs to keep us warm, and a chance to relate our adventures of the festive season and our hopes and aspirations for tours and day rides awheel in 2019.

Ride to Staveley via Sizergh Castle, Thursday, 3rd January 2019.

The ride to Staveley, ‘marketed’ as the immoderate ride choice of the day was well supported with 6 participants meeting at Millenium Bridge. It was a cold, cloudy welcome for the first ride of the new year, but no rain was forecast so the riders enthusiastically set off towards Kellet Lane and Nether Kellet, with Brian joining us on the way.

The route continued through Over Kellet, Capernwray, Borwick  and Priest Hutton. Joining the A road to Burton we were joined by Len and Patience, so our numbers now stood at 9. Through Home, Wassett and onto Hincaster, we chose the alternate (described as devious by one participant) route through Viver and Sedgwick to Sizergh Castle where we met up with John and Sandra. After 25 miles in less than 2 hours our refreshments were extremely well earned.

Back out into the cold we were lucky to have the steep climb away from Sizergh towards Levens to keep us nicely warmed. Our riders still numbered 9, although Phil had now been replaced by John. Taking the turn to Brigsteer and passing through Underbarrow and Crook we soon arrived at Staveley after a journey of little more than 10 miles, although with the continually undulating road, it seemed longer and the second stop of the day was very welcome.

Wilf’s was the obvious choice for lunch and we were quickly served and presented with our meals.

After a good refresh and an even better ‘warm up’ we headed out of Staveley through Bowston , Burneside and into Kendal. We took the road to Natland and back through Sedgwick, we carried on to Hincaster and took the turn to Heversham, crossing the A6 at the old Blue Bell inn, now a plush hotel. We crossed the ‘Moss’ and went through Dallam Park, Storth, Waterslack and onto Silverdale where our numbers began to reduce as we neared home.

Arriving home at 4pm, before darkness, we certainly made the most of a cold, but dry and clear day. 64 miles and 4400 ft of ascent, who said immoderate, testing rides couldn’t be enjoyed in the middle of Winter?

Look out for next week’s alternative immoderate ride!

Neil Westwell 

Ride to Milnthorpe via Leighton Moss, Thursday 27th December 2018

Got up thinking no one is going to turn out they will all be suffering post Christmas over eating, but I have to go because we have a guest rider from Oxford meeting us.

Arrived at the start in plenty of time and amazingly riders turned up (dam I can't just go back home).

Off we went over the bridge and up Foundary Lane to meet our guest, Timothy, at Kellett cross roads. Into Nether Kellett then down the steep descent into Carnforth.

We went over the wooden bridge and skirted Warton Crag to get to RSPB.

After a leisurely coffee we left the site turned right out of the car park and then took the first left after negotiating some serious hills. Taking a right turn I suddenly realised Christmas eating and too much wine doesn't help on the uphill roads so off and walk a bit.

Trying to get to Slack Head we hit a snag with workmen trying to remove an unstable tree so we retreated and used the A6 for a short spell arriving at Cafe17 at 11.45.

With calories inside us we went through Ackenthwaite, into Holme then on the Burton road.

We split up at Tewitfield whilst me and Dave Hugill went on with Timothy into Warton.

Timothy did say it was the best CTC ride he had been on (Dave said he must have been on some lousy ones then!!!)

After a bit of a tootle via Halton station I arrived home at 15.00 with 42 miles in the legs.

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.


Ride to Sizergh Castle via Beetham, Sunday 2nd December 2018

Four riders set off from Beaumont in the light rain which continued all day. They picked up Patience at Bolton le Sands, and Brian somewhere along the A6.  At least, he was with us when we turned off at Cragg Bank.

We continued drippingly round the estuary to Warton and thence under the early winter woodlands through the Yealands, Only the odd dog walker (with dog) was greeted by us as we turned the cranks over the hill and on to Hale crossroads. The single track road was awash, and some parts submerged, but the drainage improved as we turned onto the main road and thence to Beetham Garden Centre via the back road.

Here we were joined by Miles and Sandra as we proceeded to drip onto their chairs and floor amidst the hordes of sensible car-borne customers. It was decided in the soggy circumstances to go direct to Sizergh, via Hincaster. Surprisingly, by this time we still had 5 recruits, and the café was quiet, not being able to compete with the Christmas shopping Malls.

Aiming for an early conclusion, and realising that the forecast dryness was not going to come to pass, we remounted and pedalled over the hill to Levens, (2 riders opting to dice with death on the A590..). A headwind added to the challenge of the return on the usual route over the Moss at Heversham, onto Storth and Silverdale, eschewing tea at Leighton Moss in favour of shedding wet clothes and the comfort of hot showers and hot chocolate.

Len and Patience.

Ride to Beacon Fell via Applestore Cafe, Sunday 25th November 2018

A throng of 8 riders met at the Boot & Shoe on a cold Sunday morning to boldly set off for Applestore Café and Beacon Fell

Soon to split into the “High Roaders and the Low Roaders – the ride ascended out of Lancaster towards Caton but on reaching Quernmore Road returned along the less travelled Little Fell Road and Long Lane to arrive at Proctor Moss Road. The low sun shone down on us, when not directly in our eyes, the lanes thankfully dry and free from mud and thorns and excellent views were enjoyed from our elevated path over the fells and the Fylde coast. The “High Roaders” continuing on and down through Lower Dolphinholme, whilst the “Low Roaders” hurried to the warmth of the Café on more direct routes.

All met up for a convivial coffee stop by the welcome log fire at the Applestore Café. 
The four High Roaders then continued back up onto Higher Lane (of course!) to follow a southerly and direct route to the Lunch Stop at Beacon Fell via Inglewhite and Carwags.
A small amount of precipitation on the Beacon Fell summit suggested waterproofs but once lower down all dried up again. We descended to Walmsley Bridge and Claughton, heading back North West. Diverting through Garstang via Dimples Lane then dropped back to Scorton and returned to Lancaster up Cleveley Bank and along Miller’s Brow for last vistas of the fells. Then dropping back down to Galgate and through Lancaster University and the cycle track back to Scotforth, ending a most enjoyable and varied ride of 48 miles.

Nigel Cole

Ride to Casterton Golf Club via Hornby, Sunday 18th November 2018

There was a strong easterly wind ruffling the largely leafless treetops when 8 members met at Beaumont for an early winter ride up the Lune Valley to Kirkby Lonsdale.

At Halton we were joined by Patience, and continued along the top road up the hill to the Aughton junction. Some people tried to hone their freewheeling skills as we traced the route of the Club downhill competition and on towards  Gressingham, but missing out the village by taking the little frequented lane to Eskrigge.

At Hornby tearoom, we were met by Ray and Linda who had come direct from Carnforth. The staff had laid on some freshly-baked scones for the occasion, which were much appreciated.

A slightly reduced group set off up the valley to Melling, along the surprisingly quiet main road, before turning off over the slight hill to Wennington. By this time the sun was making an appearance and the wind had eased, as we navigated the winding road past prosperous-looking farms and a hillocky wooded landscape to Wrayton. Back on the main road, still eerily quiet, until another right turn at the Highwayman Inn and on to the hamlet of Overtown, where an off-road short cut brought us to the crossing of the A65, and on to High Casterton on the straight Roman Road. A quick downhill took us to an early lunch at Casterton Golf Club

Fortified by home cooked fare and stimulating discussion, we left at 1 o’clock to take advantage of the sunshine and a following wind. Through the throngs of bikers at Devil’s Bridge and more pedestrian tourists in the town centre, we took the Old Town road and turned onto the scenic lanes to Tosca and Lupton Church. A careful crossing of the A65 was followed by the climb to Hutton Roof Church and the neglected track via the Crags to Clawthorpe.

It was too early to go home, so a circuitous route was chosen across Holme Moss, across the A6, and onto Arnside, before the climb over to Silverdale  and dispersing to our separate destinations before nightfall.

Len Howard.

Ride to Garstang via Wray, Thursday 15th November 2018

Bright sunshine was the order of the day as a shower of cyclists met at Millennium Bridge for Neil’s ride to Garstang, with a coffee stop at Bridge House cafe in Wray.

As there were 14 riders at the start it was decided to split into two groups, and after a route briefing, Brian offered to lead the second group as far as coffee. Encouraged by the wonderful sunshine and mild temperatures, the riders set off towards Halton, taking the turn up Kellet Lane to Nether Kellet. As it was such a clear day the views were extensive and the higher we climbed, the more expansive they became. Onto Nether Kellet and Capernwray, the group re-assembled before beginning the climb up Sunnybank. Onto the main road, we continued to Rabbit Lane, where we turned down towards Gressingham, onto Hornby, and arriving at Wray to find several other riders waiting for us.

After a well earned break, accompanied by an even more earned coffee and cakes, the group, now consisting of slightly different, but similarly numbered cyclists continued with John now leading the second group. The route, with the sun still shining brightly, in fact, quite dazzling at times (is this really mid November?) continued through Brookhouse, Caton Green and Quernmore, taking the turn towards Abbeystead. Dolphinholme and Scorton followed before taking a bit of a wiggly (as it became known) route to Garstang. Lunch at Booths was taken and advantage of their excellent value food taken. A Booths card is essential here if you’re looking for an even better lunch bargain!

The riders left, still in a good number, around 12, I think and made their way home via Forton, Bay Horse, Garstang as riders took their leave to follow their quickest route home.

Home before dark, with the sun shining strongly all day. 3877 ft of ascent, 59 miles, fantastic!

Neil Westwell

Ride to Casterton Golf Club (or maybe not!!) via Silverdale Golf Club, Sunday 11th November 2018

Will it or won’t it? That was the question. Well, on the way to the start it wasn’t, but arriving at the start it was, raining that is. The longer we talked about it the heavier it got, so we thought we’d better set off! 6 of us, including 2 new welcome participants, Ian for his second ride and Mick for his first ride, set off towards Kellet Lane, but 5 only actually turned up Kellet Lane, Anne deciding to head to The Red Door Café in Halton instead. We persevered up Kellet Lane to Nether Kellet and up to the Carnforth turn where the group were given the opportunity to take a short cut to Carnforth. The option was unanimously declined and we stoically carried on to Over Kellet and down through Carnforth, Warton and the 3 Yealands. Having passed through Yealand Storrs, we paused to decide the way forward. Unanimously, once again, we decided to carry on as intended, so up the hill it was! Thrang End, Gait Burrows and Waterslack led onto Silverdale Golf Club where the first catering disaster of the day befell us! No Scones! We were, however, offered several good choices from the breakfast menu. We joined the other 6 riders waiting for us in the very plush golf club lounge, and enjoyed our food. As we dined, the rain continued to fall, but departure signalled lighter rain. Ken, who was either too wet from his morning ride or over sausaged from his breakfast, was determined to return home and couldn’t be persuaded to change his mind.

So 7 of us left Silverdale and within a couple of miles the rain stopped, and, as it turned out, didn’t rain again for rest of the day, in fact good visibility and a little sunshine now prevailed. We headed past Leighton Moss and back to Yealand Storrs, taking the left turn to Burton in Lonsdale. We climbed the long hill and onto Hutton Roof, where we took the right turn taking us through High and Low Biggins and Kirkby Lonsdale, and over Devil’s Bridge (more about that later!), taking the road to Casterton. We arrived at the Golf Club and the second catering disaster of the day befell us! No chef, off sick, so no lunch at Casterton. We decided to head back to Kirkby Lonsdale, crossing Devil’s Bridge on the way. We found our way to the bakery and were lucky to find 2 adjacent tables free. We were quickly served with excellent fayre and took our time in the welcoming atmosphere.

We said goodbye to Miles and the 6 of us set off back across Devil’s Bridge (again!!) crossing the main road, and up the narrow path past the caravan site and onto the Roman Road towards the A65. We crossed the A65 and took the narrow road to Overtown and Nether Burrow carrying our bikes across the narrow bridge on the way. We passed through Tunstall and took the Wrayton turn bringing us down to Wennington and onto Wray. We all decided to stick together and took the shortest way, picking up the cycle track to take us home.

Writer’s cramp, tired legs, but no wet clothes to dry out and good memories of a day which started badly, got worse, but in the end was extremely entertaining with the majority of the day’s weather excellent and the catering shortcomings being overcome with great success. 50 miles and 3700 feet of ascent.

Neil Westwell