Day 8 – LEJOG 2021 – High Bentham to Keswick

59 miles and 991 metres climbed

A question posed each morning at a B&B is “what time would you like breakfast?” We reply “7.30” and they say “8 O’Clock is the earliest”. So it was at The Black Bull Hotel. It’s not with a little irony that the brewer’s truck turned up at 6.45am and there began the symphony of metal casks being dropped, rolled and manhandled in ways that maximised noise as they emptied and then loaded the cellar. This extra time awake was therefore deployed in blogging, shaving and stretching. (The plan is to loosen up all muscles around the knee to put less strain on it.)

The weather looked bright and dry and so lay ahead a trip into the Lake District as well as the later event of England vs Germany for a place in the Euro Quarter Finals.

The start was chilly but the route was all downhill as we continued to enjoy The Forest of Bowland. Discreetly placed new housing developments were visible; who wouldn’t want to live here? Everything looked well cared for and smart.

Wellington
Part of my history on show as I worked for Ford Tractor in Basildon
Who wouldn’t fancy a pint here?

So far we’ve met few other cycling tourers. The only one we know heading for John O’Groats we met at Land’s End. I expected to see a few others given the time of year but no! If you look at social media then it’s mainly bike packers who tackle the project. That is, cyclists on racing/road bikes with minimal luggage. Maybe we will eventually meet a few?

Just off the M6!

Kendal was our first port of call and it was blisteringly hot and sunny as we ate a sandwich and muffin outside in the town centre. The streets were busy with day trippers, like us. Truth be told Peter’s still very strong and I’m going well, but a lot slower. A proper rest day was essential. Heaven knows why I didn’t schedule one as I’m paying for it now in many ways. However, there’s no time for navel gazing; it’s simply all about getting on with it.

Mine was tuna salad….

I opted to go directly to Keswick on the busy A road. It was a shorter distance today and I wanted to get it done. The road went up and down and the traffic was heavy but, frankly, I’m comfortable with that and avoid danger.

There was, however a lot to see as we entered the Lake District proper. Windermere was resplendent in sunshine. Of course there were many tourists delighted to be allowed out after lockdown and mingling. Lots were on the narrow road.

Lake Windermere
Lake Windermere

However, these tourists were courteous and kept their distance in their cars. As I’d created 40 metre long convoys I pulled over regularly to let these patient folk pass and continue their holidays.

After Windermere came Ambleside and then Grasmere. After this the road went vertical but the traffic dropped off. Keswick got closer and about 9 miles away there was a scenic route around Thirlmere. I’d originally cycled past the turning but turned around to take this detour. This is a reservoir created by Manchester City Council to supply the needs of that city. As you can see it’s been there a long time.

Thirlmere

The YHA wouldn’t let us check in before 5pm and so Peter took me into town for an ice cream in the town centre. As I only specified ‘vanilla’ I noted, with chagrin, that I got one scoop but he’d chosen two. (Clearly he hasn’t forgiven me for the trip to McDonalds.) Again the sunshine had brought out hundreds of people. In the town my phone couldn’t get a proper 4G signal but Peter could back at the hostel and we listened to the England game via the BBC App as we drank a beer and embarked on our nightly laundry.

Later it was back into town for a beer and a pizza.

We encountered a few worse for wear football fans who’d obviously imbibed too much. They may be drunk again after Saturday night as well.

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