Friday, 30 March 2012

Four Day Trial (2)

On Wednesday, I managed Shap Fell with a short pause near the top where it did get very steep. George was waiting for me up there and we had a pleasant, generally downhill, ride on the other side into Shap village and then on to Penrith where I enjoyed a baked potato with chili con carne filling for lunch from a street vendor - tremendous!

The weather continued to be really nice and we made it to Irthington near Brampton in Cumbria just before 5.00pm. Our hosts, John and Yvonne, really looked after us and we had a great evening in their company, catching up with what we were all up to and the kids etc. It is worth recording that this is a very special location because Hadrian's Wall actually runs, or ran, through their back garden and they have had to sign declarations about what they can and can't do.

John pointing to Hadrian's wall
under the grass in his back garden
We had a lovely meal with a couple of beers and some nice wine. George and John were both in high spirits because their team had won that night and reached the FA Cup semi-final. I was pleased for them and toasted their victory with some Black Bottle Whisky, an excellent blend of Islay malts. Predictably, I slept well and we left just after 9.00 the next morning in great spirits. We decided to return a different way via the Eden Valley which certainly was beautiful, but for me there were too many sharp ups and downs and my heavy load was taking its toll. After passing through numerous tiny villages we sort of lost our way and found ourselves heading to Penrith which wasn't really a bad thing because after Penrith there was Shap Fell the easy way, if there is such a thing. I had been aware for a while that I was slowing George down and at Shap village we agreed he could nearly make it home if I left him to it. He had to be back for appointments on Thursday morning anyway and had planned to take the train from Oxenholme back to Ormskirk on Wednesday night. We shook hands village and I watched him hurtling away. I continued at my own pace and made it over Shap Fell again and on to Kendal. I gave the duff "campsite" at Oxenholme a miss and continued South until I started to feel really tired after Milnthorpe. There were no campsites around so I stayed at the Kings' Arms at Burton-in-Kendal. I freshened up there and had the Wednesday curry special with a couple of pints and after a decent night's sleep and full breakfast, I left for home on Thursday morning thinking "it's only 50 miles or so". There was a time 50 miles would have been a real challenge. Those days are gone. I made it home early afternoon and got sorted and well rested for the Thursday session which was a good one, even though there were no scratchings. I didn't make a fuss.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Four Day Trial (1)

I arrived home this afternoon in one piece after completing my four day trial ride. I vaguely remember blogging from the tent on Monday night and I am pleased to see it here. I suppose it is on the abrupt side but I had had a few pints and it was composed on a kindle which is a bit awkward to negotiate at the best of times. It does tell the tale though. It had been a fairly easy day on flat roads until near the end. We did 60 odd miles in all and were settled at the Station Inn in Oxenholme, George in his palatial suite and me in the tent. We had planned to call there on the way home but those plans were shelved, shall we say. It wasn't the friendliest place and there were other issues as described on the previous blog.

There was a very pleasant little interlude though. I pitched the tent, fly sheet first, and then wrestled with myself inside the tent to attach the inner bit to the fly sheet. When I emerged these lads were waiting outside in the next field. They were all just standing there staring at me, very welcoming it was too.

I didn't sleep very well in the tent for a couple of reasons, both avoidable and both my own fault. One was that I hadn't inflated the mattress sufficiently, or I should say, I had inflated it but allowed it to deflate by not closing the nozzle - campers will understand. The other was quite simply that I was sure I would be warm enough, not believing that the temperature could possibly fall to 3 degrees during the night. I surfaced eventually, feeling a bit tired, and we set off towards Kendal with Shap Fell awaiting us on the other side.....(to be continued - off out now for some full pints of real ale and the much missed pork scratching.)

Monday, 26 March 2012


Made it here about 445. £8 for camping and no showers is outrageous. Also 3.10 a pint and short measures. The tent is great. Easy to put up and spacious. Ready for bed now. Blogging by kindle in sleeping bag. Hard day tomorrow starting with Shap. Good night.

Four Day Trial

Leaving in 10 mins for four day camping test ride up to Cumbria. I will be sending out beacons for  tracking purposes.

Back Thursday or may blog via kindle if possible.