Finally, on a cycle tour with my fella! It’s Easter Holidays here in the UK – which means all the kids get two weeks off from school. Not sure why Canada doesn’t embrace such traditions, but I hope UK kids appreciate their many extended holidays :P. University and college folks also get two weeks off – so in between work and volunteering, my fella and I managed two days off in a row together. The weather was glorious so we did a little cycle tour East of Keswick, into the Eden Valley.
It was a leisurely tour, with very little in the way of gear, and a hostel to stay in for the evening. We went straight to Penrith first, via the old decommissioned road that runs in front of Blencathra. Probably the hilliest way to Threlkeld, but definitely the most scenic! Saw oodles of lambs en route and stopped numerous times… poor Jack up ahead, waiting patiently. I’m a nightmare to cycle with during lambing season :P.
After the lamb-filled back road (which is amazing, by the way – do ride this way if you’re ever heading to/from Keswick/Penrith), we mainly followed the Sustrans route 71 to Penrith. Once at Penrith, headed to Booths for the first cafe stop of the day – an essential part of any cycle tour! As regular readers might know, I bloody love Booths (an upper-middle class small chain of supermarkets in the North of England), and if you have a loyalty card you get a free coffee everyday, yippie! So we sat there, looking at maps, and sipping our free coffees ;).
Headed off in the sunshine once again towards Dufton – got sidetracked by an impromtu visit to the mill at Little Salkeld. This place is ace – it’s an old stone-ground flour mill, run off of the water mill at the back of the building. It’s also got a sweet little cafe and shop to it, where you can get good coffee and tea, cheese and toast. All the bread is made there, using their excellent stone-ground flour, all sourced from the UK. Oh so hippie, oh so wonderful. So, cafe stop no. 2 – this time with a cheeky kitty for company. One that cozied up to Jack in order to get some of his milk … and it worked, kitty got some milk in the end.
After our second tea stop, we zoomed over the pleasantly undulating hills towards Dufton. The landscape here is remarkably different to that of the Lakes, and only within a few hours ride of our house. I can see why the Eden Valley is promoting itself as a cycling destination in it’s own right – quiet, rural roads, beautiful scenery, lots of great little villages dotted about – it’s a cyclists paradise, really. And, if you fancy a ‘proper ride’, you can smash out some mountain passes in the Lakes, just down the road.
We got into Dufton youth hostel with grumbling bellies that needed feeding. So we made lots of posh vegan sausages (I heart Booths), taters and beans … then ate a bucket-load of crisps and chocolate … and went to bed.