We arrived in Penrith by noon. It was spitting with rain and I have to admit I wasn’t feeling very enthusiastic about the bike ride ahead of me. We went to the loo, changed into our cycle gear and loaded the bags onto the bikes. Then, after eating our ham sandwiches, we set off.
The rain wasn’t as bad as it had seemed in the car and, wrapped up in our waterproofs, we were warm and dry. We headed out of town and the views were lovely, although dark clouds were looming.
The road undulated up and down, before passing over the River Eden and reaching Langwathby. All was going well and we were reasonably dry. In fact our waterproofs were probably wetter inside than outside, from sweating up the hills!
After Langwathby, we took a little detour to see Long Meg and her daughters, the second biggest stone circle in England, thought to date from 1500BC. Local legend says Meg was a witch, turned to stone for dancing wildly on the moor on the sabbath.
Then we followed more quiet country lanes through beautiful countryside to Renwick. We had hoped to get coffee and a cake here but, unfortunately, there was no cafe. Instead, I had to make do with half a banana and a swig of hydration drink at the side of the road!
After Renwick, we had the biggest climb of the day, with 400 metres of ascent over 6 kilometres. I had been a bit worried about this but, with Ruby’s help, it was fine. In fact, I rarely used the full power of the motor as we snaked steadily uphill.
The views were beautiful and the rain, thankfully stayed away. We were soon hot as we climbed and removed our waterproofs, glad for a break to enjoy the wonderful views.
When we finally reached Hartside Summit, it was freezing! We pulled our waterproofs back on before taking a few minutes to look back and see how high we’d climbed. Awesome!
The hard work was now over for the day and we swept quickly down hill, barely needing to pedal. It was so cold, I did have brain freeze at one point though!
We soon arrived in Alston and easily found our B&B. After we’d settled in, showered and had a cup of tea, we had a wander around the market town. Situated on the South Tyne, Alston claims to be the highest market town in England and has a market cross and other beautiful buildings dating from the 17th century.
We’ve now had a lovely pub dinner and are tucked up in bed with a cup of tea, ready for a good night’s sleep. We have a much longer day tomorrow, with a series of hills, up and down, one after the other. I hope there are plenty of cafes!