A delightful end to our wee circuit. Shortest distance and highest ascent meant we had plenty of time to take in the views. Cold Fell and Eskdale were suitable places to practice assymetric cycling: very slow up and very fast decents.
A classic day. Blue skies with large white clouds, empty rolling roads, light breeze, spring flowers and hedgerows. The latter I examined at close quarters avoiding the only idiot can driver we’ve seen who was hurtling down hill and didn’t care. Made up for by the later artic driver who deliberately shielded us from traffic through road works. Shame we only tend to remember the idiots (and I thought I’d avoided bring Brexiteers into this).
The varying landscape kept our eyes busy and away from the oscillating hills we very cycling on. Our route follows around the outer rim of the National Park with volcanic rugged build on our left and flatter pastures on our right.
Cockermouth proved to be an interesting wee place: lived in and real, not quaint and conserved. It contrasts with the slightly run down feel of Penrith.
Great place names evidence the tussle between the Brythonic origins and later (Viking) conquests. Kirks have traveled South obviously, though I don’t know if they are stuffed full of the same calibre of people (interpret that as you will). Add a “by” and you have a village or settlement around a church. As in Kirkby Lonsdale, Kirkby Stephen etc. I spend the day thinking about where Kirby Grip fits in.
Village greens, complete with maypoles, start appearing. Then cross the M6 back into the Lakes. Penrith’s attractions remain hidden before we get into more rural pastures. Blen is the prefix now, meaning “hill or uplands”, from Cumbric/Welsh. No answer to my question as we pass through Blencow if there is a Blenbull.
Tonight is in Mungrisdale, which has a pub. And nothing else. It was apparently second choice for the set of the Lamb and Slaughter. Hope the mist keeps away.
Thankfully we rejigged our plans to do this 198mile loop over 4 days rather than 3. That gave us more time today to enjoy the views, sup tea and battle the headwinds. Spring flowers brighten the hedgerows, birds (particularly heron) soar into the winds.
Tonight is at Tebay Services, actually very good. Surroundings not quite at quaint as last night’s pub in Cartmel nor as personable as Bill and Neil’s home where we stayed and will return to…. Hopefully with tailwinds.
Stirling is a underrated wee city. Medieval castle with all the old town trimmings, Stirling Bridge and Wallace: the meeting point of Lowland and Highland. Yet it has its own rough underbelly cheek by jowl with cobbled streets.
The castle dominates the landscape. It’s been looked after well and feels accessible, not preserved. Old skills have been relearned to redo old halls and chapel. Big enough to show coach parties (who need to be diverted to the rest of the city), small enough to appreciate its scale.
We followed the Forth trail to find where Jimmy (my Dad) was born, Abbey Road Place. On the way the information boards broadened horizons. I hadn’t realised Stirling had once been a major port.
The Albert Halls rounded off the day with Blazin Fiddles and Karen Matheson in a grand Victorian pile.