LEJOG day 16 – Gretna to Abington (89km)

Today was sunny at the border!

Today was a little longer than expected – almost 90km – because I did a couple of small detours. Weather was patchy, but the advertised ‘heavy rain’ that was due for several hours in the afternoon didn’t materialise, thankfully, though showers certainly did. It was a day spent in the beautiful and seemingly endless Southern Uplands – the guide book tells me that this area is the least inhabited in Scotland!

Continue reading “LEJOG day 16 – Gretna to Abington (89km)”

LEJOG day 15 – Johnby to Gretna (67km)

Scotland!! You may (erroneously) think that this means I’m nearly there…but of course I’m not: I’m not even two-thirds of the way. But I definitely have a spring in my step this evening, partly because I’m over the border and partly because I had a really lovely rest day yesterday. I did very little other than taking the dog (a huge black lab called Styx) for a walk, wandering to the local pub in Greystoke with a book (Anita Brookner’s The Latecomers – I kept expecting something to happen, but it never did), and having a very nice evening meal with Henry and Anna, who have been wonderful hosts/cooks!

Continue reading “LEJOG day 15 – Johnby to Gretna (67km)”

LEJOG day 14 – Howgills to Johnby (82km)

Ignore my stuff strewn everywhere! My room at Johnby

Today has been easier than yesterday despite similar climb (980m or 1,380m, depending on which of my gadgets you believe) and greater distance (82km). The weather has been superb – mostly sunny, not too hot, and a brisk breeze that has been at my back almost all day, helping to push me up the hills (particularly first thing!). It’s been a day notable for absolutely spectacular views – visibility was fantastic – and I am now very happily ensconced in Johnby Hall, the beautiful ancestral home/B&B of a university contemporary of mine, Henry Howard – a better rest-day location is impossible to imagine. 

Continue reading “LEJOG day 14 – Howgills to Johnby (82km)”

LEJOG day 13 – Settle to Howgills (57km)

My pod, Howgills Hideaway

I’m staying tonight in the most wonderful little place, Howgills Hideaway, a few miles from Sedbergh, in a glamping ‘pod’ overlooking beautiful green countryside. It’s the perfect place to recover from the ride today, which turned out to be significantly more challenging than I’d anticipated. I got an inkling of what was coming in the bike shop this morning, as the owner commented (on looking at the map of the route I’d plotted) ‘How scenic do you want to go, exactly?’ and ‘Coming down to Dent is going to be steep…’

Continue reading “LEJOG day 13 – Settle to Howgills (57km)”

LEJOG day 12 – Hawkshaw to Settle (71km)

Green, lush, sodden…

Today has been wet – and, as a consequence, I fear I don’t have much to write about. It’s not been a particularly challenging day terrain- or distance-wise, but it rained solidly for a couple of hours and then came and went for the rest of the day (the sun coming out, spectacularly, as I neared my destination, Settle). This means that I have to concentrate wholly on the road ahead (puddle or pothole??) and, quite frankly, restricts the view to the point at which it isn’t really worth a photo! But another 70km are under my belt, the Dales are gorgeous and lush, and I think I must be half way…

Continue reading “LEJOG day 12 – Hawkshaw to Settle (71km)”

LEJOG day 11 – Little Budworth to Hawkshaw (82km)

Heron with Yorkshire Dales in the distance

Today has probably been the day so far with least to report: in many ways it’s been more of the same, albeit with the added frisson of getting through Manchester (one of only three cities on the route, the others being Bristol and Glasgow). But the weather gods smiled again and I’m now staying in the second Red Lion in two days, this one in Hawkshaw, just outside Bolton, which is a delight.

Continue reading “LEJOG day 11 – Little Budworth to Hawkshaw (82km)”

LEJOG day 10 – Telford to Little Budworth (82km)

What perfect, perfect cycling weather! The sun has shone non-stop all day, there is almost no wind at all (other than the breeze I generate when cycling, which kept me cool), and far fewer hills than yesterday – I always think of the north as being hilly, but this is the Cheshire plain. I love lots of sky, and that’s what I got today – and so blue that the pink of rhododendrons agains the sky really looked like bougainvillea in southern Europe. I also had company for much of the day, which was a delight – cycling alone is fun, but it is good to have someone to ride with and chat to sometimes. 

Continue reading “LEJOG day 10 – Telford to Little Budworth (82km)”

LEJOG day 9 – Dunhampton to Telford (77km)

Today has been a good day, largely spent winding up the Severn Valley, crisscrossing the river several times, until parting ways with it for good at Ironbridge. I’m certainly getting tired quite easily at the moment – but I’m happily ensconsed in a B&B on the outskirts of Telford, in an annex with its own Surgery sign, complete with opening hours! As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on the patio in glorious sunshine with a Camden Pale Ale from the local Co-op and with my clothes drying behind me on hangers hung on the fence.

Continue reading “LEJOG day 9 – Dunhampton to Telford (77km)”

LEJOG day 8 – Gloucester to Dunhampton (80km)

Tewkesbury Abbey

Today has been very straightforward, cycling-wise, undulating gently through Gloucestershire and Worcestershire with the Cotswolds on one side and the Malverns very much in evidence over to the west and, later in the day, to the south. I’ve done something in the region of 630km, or fractionally under 400 miles – so very much the 50-miles-a-day that I’ve been telling people I’ll be doing! I’m also roughly a third of the way (which makes sense in terms of days, too – another 17 to go…), and because I’m now going north (rather than mostly east through Cornwall/Devon) I feel like I’m suddenly making enormous progress.

Continue reading “LEJOG day 8 – Gloucester to Dunhampton (80km)”

LEJOG day 7 – Bristol to Gloucester (81km)

The cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral

Today has been a day of two halves because of, yes, The Weather. As advertised, it was pouring with rain all morning – only occasionally dropping to the level of drizzle. After lunch, the rain had stopped and it got steadily sunnier until by the time I arrived in Gloucester the sky was glorious blue, and the cathedral looked beautiful. About 80km today, and it whizzed by – I do feel fitter, I think…

Continue reading “LEJOG day 7 – Bristol to Gloucester (81km)”