Ride no. 42 was from Dufton hostel to Keswick, via Ullswater. It was a fairly leisurely day in terms of miles (about 45 miles, much lower than some roadies could bust out comfortably), but it felt MUCH longer for me! I’ve been a bit poorly the last couple weeks, having stomach troubles – which is a fairly routine occurence for myself these days. When I do feel ill with my tummy, I’m generally super knackered too, and today I was feeling pretty rough. So it made any sort of miles feel like a bit of a chore. It was lovely weather though, so as long as my legs kept moving, we kept getting closer to home.
So from Dufton we headed to Appleby to stock up on some food for the day. In an attempt to sort out my stomach troubles, I have gone dairy-free (no milk from any animal in any format – milk, whey, cheese, cream, etc). Since I’m already a vegetarian, this no-dairy thing has me on an almost vegan diet, which is great at home but tricky cycle touring. I usually end up at the co-op staring down a bunch of hummus and some mass-produced white bread :P. Which is exactly what we purchased, and then pedalled off towards Ullswater way.
We pedalled into Morland around lunchtime, a charming little village where one of our good friends has just moved to. We tried to ring her a few times to no avail, so ended up sitting on a picnic table on the village green – situated by a babbling brook and frequented by a couple of adventurous cats. We finished our lunch and then pedalled around this little village on the look out for our friend’s car … and we found it! A cup of tea and a catch up later (along with cuddles from Smudge the cat), and we were back on the road.
Oh, almost forgot to mention we came across Lowther Castle – which is a proper castle in the middle of the rural, agricultural idyll that is non-Lake-District Cumbria. My fella and I saw signs for it and thought it would be little more than a small village church scale… but nope, it’s MASSIVE. We will definitely be coming back (read: not on school holidays) to check it out! For now we just got a touristy shot of myself in front of it :).
Ullswater area was beautiful but really busy. That road from Pooley Bridge to the turn-off to Troutbeck was HORRIBLE. There is a brand-new path built along the side of the road which would be a safe and pleasant alternative to this busy road for cyclists – but alas, it is designated for walkers only.There is grumblings about getting this right of way changed – and I sincerely hope it will be, as I was almost thrown off my bike a couple times because of cars passing too close and too quickly!! And why must we risk our lives like this? Because some impatient drivers can not stand to wait a few seconds (or, gasp!, minutes!) to pass safely. Don’t get me wrong – there are lots of drivers who are courteous and safe, but the few who aren’t terrify me and make me question why I risk my life cycling sometimes. Grrrr.
Anyways, moving along… after the hair-raising Ullswater road, we pedalled back and forth from Dockray to Matterdale End and all over the spot, clearly having lost our way. Opted to head up to Troutbeck to ‘regain the scent’ and take the backroads (via Sustrans route 71) back to Keswick. See? A good example of shared-use cycle-friendly paths that are safer for both cyclists and motorists! The headwind that was threatening most of the day started to rear its ugly head by about this point – and our progress slowed to a crawl. Between my poorly condition, the headwind, and the near-misses at Ullswater, I was SPENT.
Last stretch into Keswick was the rail-trail from Threlkeld, plain sailing. Got home, ate mountains of food, and fell into a very long and very deep sleep :).