Morning! Well, the seventh day is here. and if I am to make it to my destination by the end of next week, I really should make the half way mark today. Porridge is in, tent is rolled up, panniers are packed – hamstrings are stretched. It’s 7.45 AM and I’m setting off. This early morning activity is highly unusual, but the the thought of getting to Kendal today, and leaving half of my trail behind is giving me a boost.
Though I’m sure there’s much more to it, the best thing about Preston was a morning pitstop featuring this chocolate covered rice cake (Courtesy of Dr. Findlay).
Well I can’t say that I have fallen in love with Lancaster either.. Not sure if it was the grey day that was getting to me, or the rude waiter at the pub where I had lunch, or possibly that I was keen to get across the half way point, – but I couldn’t wait to get out of that town and be on the road again. The castle was nice though : )
So only couple hours later I have found myself surrounded by the fantastic landscape of the Lake District. I headed straight to Kendal..
.. where I have found an Evans Bike Shop. Looking at the stormy clouds up a head, I thought that perhaps I should avoid getting my shoes completely soaked again, and invested in a pair of sexy water proofing cycle shoe covers. Check those babies out!
Having done a bit of research I decided to make another push to a campsite in Shap, 15 miles away. On the way there I got a chance to put my new shoe covers to the test. As I entered the gates of Shap Fells and began my 250m climb over 4 mile stretch of the road, the skies have opened up and offered me another pedal-boating experience, but this time uphill. On top of that, a thick mist has descended, making Kendal very quickly disappear behind me and hiding most of what’s up a head. Half an hour I was none the wiser as to when this climb will be complete or indeed how much further I had to travel to get to Shap itself. My legs were holding up just fine, my body was warm and my feet were dry.
I pulled over for a wee stretch. One thing that was missing for days is music. There must be something I can do about that. I don’t want to have earphones, – need to hear those cars and trucks zooming towards and past me. So, the genius that I am, a solution is found straight away! I stuff my iPhone underneath my helmet goretex cover. Though I’m not in Scotland yet, this landscape offers me a preview of the highlands that are yet to come, and as a true immigrant I feel all super patriotic all of a sudden and need to hear some Gaelic tunes. It so happens that I have an album by a fantastic band The Shee from the Scottish Borders (www.theshee.com)
So I stick it on and keep pedalling. Press play ya muppets!
The music, the landscape, the thoughts of what’s achieved so far and experiences yet to come and most importantly my dry feet, all form a massive grin on this bears face. Now I just feel that there’s no stopping me.
Remember that campsite research I mentioned earlier on? Below is a wonderfully welcoming web-page of the place.
Not bad, I thought, – that’ll do just fine.
Having completed my 85th mile of the day this was the actual site to greet me:
Fear not though. Nothing throws bear on this trip, so I snap into action and find an even better place to stay. I am not intending on making luxury accommodation a habit during this trip, but perhaps this could be my half way point treat! (I have just decided I’m allowed 3 of those, so just one left for emergency!)
My Shap digs is The New Ing Lodge run by a fantastically accommodating owners Scott and Jamie. It has a fireplace, great home made food (including a sticky toffee pudding) and each room comes with a personal pet! All for an unbelievably reasonable price.
As for the daily portrait, this muppet will do just fine:
Over till the morra..