Wednesday 12th June
- From: Eccleston
- To: Kendal
- LEJOG miles cycled: 75.27 (66 planned)
- Miles cycled: 548.88
- Map of the Journey
(The daily limerick/poem is on holiday - sorry.)
Amazing news, the Bluck Odeometer may have been recalibrated but today Preston came to the rescue and topped up our mileage!
Last night's village and B&B linked you humble participants with none other than Bradley Wiggins! How cool is that? We stayed at a B&B in Ecclestone, Lancashire, where Bradley Wiggins lives. His image is on a mural, Belfast style on the gable end of a pub as you enter the village. As we collected our bikes from the garage this morning we were told that Bradley's bike had been in that very garage some weeks ago - but we neglected to ask why, doh! The B&B was excellent - a converted farm barn and farm house, finished to a high quality.
Today we were joined by Chris Blackburn (High Performance Manager at the RYA) from Preston to Lancaster, and Tess Pike (of Kielder Water Sailing Club) from Lancaster to Beetham. Their company and encouragement was much appreciated and gave us someone different to talk to. We also passed some of a group of 650 cyclists (on fast road bikes) doing the ride the other way round to us (John O'Groats to Land's End - JOGLE). They were fully supported so carrying no additional gear and generally going twice as fast as us and much further in each day.
We had heard beforehand that Preston (10 miles into our day) was not well sign posted and it proved to be true as we managed to lose the route almost immediately we entered the periphery of the city. Getting back on track some time later was no better as the track was being dug up by the water authrority and had been diverted (bit not signed!). I kept sending Chris texts and then phoning him to extend the delay each time. We asked for directions to the canal basin from a local on two separate occassions and the responses both amounted to "What Canal?". We then asked two students (not from the city) and they gave us better advice but not the shortest route possible - just the easiest to follow. Then while we were checking the map a local female cyclist came to our help and escorted us to a park in the city on our route - for she too, did not know how to get to the canal! We then tried unsuccessfully to rendezvous with Chris but it seemed as if our paths had crossed. Finally we identified a canal bridge number and Chris managed to find us but by now we were running several miles (not Bluck miles today please note) and an hour and a half behind schedule. The schedule mattered today because we had a pre-arranged time to meet with Tess in Lancaster.
Chris, on his super light weight Italian Road bike (where two full water bottles doubled the overall weight!!) was brought up around here so he led us at a brisker than normal pace to Lancaster without us having to stop to navigate every 10 mins - we therefore made good progress and had good company for 30 miles. Many thanks Chris. Entering Lancaster we skirted the River Lune's south bank with the new Millennium bridge - a lovely structure with redevelopment taking place along the shore for many miles.
We then spent 10 minutes rendezvousing with Tess, eventually meeting in a Sainsbury's with an excellent cafe that we took advantage of before heading North again. Chris then pointed the way for us whilst he went East to complete an circular 80 mile stroll for the day - at least a stroll for Chris anyway.
Tess kept us company as we entered the outer southern fells of the Lakes as far as Beetham where she too headed East to home having done a triangular 60 mile day.
What fantastic support we have had - many thanks to both Chris and Tess for their company.
We were getting tired by now and were glad when we found the very smart looking Cafe 17 at Milnthorpe. It looked very expensive but we needed the stop and a good job we stopped too as it turned out to be very good vlaue and had comfortable soft chairs for our sore rear ends, for we were both suffering by now - lots of sudocream needed tonight I think.
Lovely rolling hills of the southern fells took us to Kendal and our B&B for the night. WE ARE NOW OVER HALF WAY IN DISTANCE and half way in days - hooray!
A night out in Kendal saw us drenched in a typical Lake District shower - why on earth we went out without waterproofs I do not know. Still - all the wet clothes could be dumped in the bags as we were to have a rest day at home the next night.
Preston caused us an extra 10 miles today so we maintain our record for geting lost and going the extra few miles - not sure we want to keep this up.