Day 8: Slaidburn to Keswick – 75 Miles
We are halfway through LEJOG! which was reason enough to celebrate..I spoke to a few cyclists who have completed LEJOG and there seemed to be a consistent message that it is best to tackle each day as it comes, however Day 8, according to the route notes, was to be“one of the hardest days of the whole adventure”…This was going to be a real test.
Mark returned to meet the rest of us at the YHA and due to the mileage to complete for the day, we decided to head off slightly earlier whilst the other part of our group (Non YHA group) tucked into their fry-up’s at the nearby pub, The Hark to Bounty.
Nick’s morning briefing provided us with a general overview of what the day’s challenges were to be and after some group photos, and final adjustments to our bikes we set off, and straight away, began to tackle a steep ascent out of Slaidburn.
We were rewarded with stunning views after a gradual 20 minute climb, as we re-grouped at the summit to open up the first chocolate of the day, I found Mars bars to be a great way to start the day, followed by bagful of Haribos. One thing was for certain, I loved my LEJOG diet of chocolate, sweets and ice-creams, and so did the dentist…
David from the group had done some homework and had converted our LEJOG route notes onto his GPS and was happy to show anyone how many hills were coming up on the route. Personally I went in naively as I just didn’t want to hear what was in store.
We ventured on and were soon to encounter another ascent lasting around 2 miles, which at the summit, was marked by a large bolder with a shallow hole, otherwise known as the Cross of Greet. Or to cyclists, otherwise known as “The Cross of Grief”.
This curious bolder marked the highest point along the road from Slaidburn to Tatham Falls, which is 427 metres above sea level. It also marked the county boundary with Yorkshire’s West Riding until this area became part of Lancashire.
From here, it there was a descent (hurrah!) as we followed the B6480 for Lancaster and then onto the national cycle networks which led us through Hornby, Gressingham, Burton in Kendal, Kendal and eventually the scenic Lake Windermere. We were now 20 miles from Keswick and it was time for a quick stop as we made our way around the lake.
We continued along the A591 and word went around that Grasmere, the next town along our route would be a good place to stop due its famous production of gingerbread, so we took a minor detour and headed for the famous Grasmere Gingerbread shop. Unfortunately, my gingerbread didn’t make the journey home with me as I found it too tempting to resist and helped pile on the pounds.
News broke around the group that John, had fallen from his bike back at Lake Windermere which was a worry to us all. Steve and the Peak Tours van made a dash to John and rush him to the local A&E for a check-up.
We ventured on, enjoying the fantastic views of the Lake District, but at the same time hoping John was ok and that he could continue with the ride. As we began a descent, we left the busy A591 and picked up a cycle network which led you away from the busy roads and through woodland whist enjoying the scenic views of Lake Thirlmere.
Keswick, our destination for the evening, was 5 miles to go and it could not come soon enough as the sun continued to beat down on us. The final 5 miles seemed to last forever as we rejoined the A591 and the busy weekend traffic.
News broke that John, had been given the all clear and, to show true grit, he was determined to set off form where he fell from his bike! Hats off to him – a true legend!
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my LEJOG Blog. I hope you’ve found it interesting and feel free to post your thoughts and comments. Once again, thank you for visiting Simon’s LEJOG blog