Best way to start and end your weekend? With some friendly sheep :). I met this fella en route to Windermere, on Day one of a three day cycle tour of the Lake District/southern Cumbria/Morecambe Bay area.
The plan started innocently enough – a band of high pressure over Britain meant that for the better part of a week we had warm temperatures, blue skies, and little wind… and the best days landed on my three days off – winner! Sunday night after work I got a local map out and started planning. Early afternoon on Monday and I had a route planned, coffee and banana pancakes in my belly, and was all ready to go!
Set off towards the Windermere Youth Hostel from Keswick via ‘the Ambleside road’ and the quiet road that runs along the Thrilmere reservoir. It was so beautifully sunny and warm outside, such a contrast to the last time I was riding a bike on this road (a rain-soaked mountain bike tour)! I felt no need to rush, so stopped to hang out with some lovely sheepys for a little photo shoot (as seen above) before heading on my way.
Up and over Dunmail Raise I went, pedalling myself into Ambleside just in time for a coffee and a chat at Rattlegill Cafe. The lovely Claire an Alec (the new owners and friends of mine) were there, and we made some tentative plans for the pair of them to join me on a leg of my tour the next day!
Could have stood around drinking coffee and chatting for ages, but the two had to shut up shop and I wanted to get a move on over to Windermere before darkness fell. I also had my dinner to cook and postcards to write out – all very important stuff you see.
The best part of the entire day came when I was biking up the big hill to the Windermere hostel and spotted two lambs and their mum lying there, soaking up the sunshine. I stopped right then and there, propped my Surly up against the stone wall, and got out my camera. I sat there for ages, watching the little lambs while the sun set behind the hills. The lambs seemed brand new to the world – not altogether steady on their feet just yet.
After much sitting in the sun watching the lambs, I pedalled up the rest of the hill to Windermere hostel to make my tea. Sat in the nearly empty hostel (such a contrast to the School Holidays ridiculousness of kids running everywhere screaming their heads off), reading from the selection of ace magazines the hostel subscribes to.
One of which, funnily enough, is the CTC (Cyclist’s Touring Club) magazine. The most recent issue has the results of a member survey in it – detailing the demographics of the club. The membership is overwhelmingly male, older (50+), and primarily commuters and/or cycle tourers. I found it pretty funny, as I really like the CTC and what it stands for, and I might just be the most atypical reader of that magazine – as a female twenty-something who has a passive passion for mountain biking and cycle touring.
It would be nice if the CTC could find a way to appeal to a broader demographic, possibly more varied cyclists from all backgrounds, ages, genders. I am sure they will be making strides towards this, I just haven’t looked into properly as of yet (ie. they do have more trail-oriented cycling stories in the magazine lately). The National Trust recently released a brilliant marketing campaign (disguised as a ‘spoof’ advert), that appeals to younger folks and is really funny. I think it’s hilarious (Tit, tit, tit! Thrush! Hawkward.) and showcases exactly what these extremely important organizations need to do to attract ‘new blood’ into their ranks. Take a look!
And I digress – end of the first day, complete with sunshine, coffee, chats with mates, and LAMBS! Can’t get any better, can it? 🙂