Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Preston onward to Carlisle via The Shap

Accommodation on booking.com can with the use of photos and wording create a vision of comfort that clearly doesn't exist. Last night was a perfect example. The fantastic chandeliers hanging in the hallway were where it all ended. Wet paint signs where in view on arrival as the property was getting a lick over that wouldn't  really improve anything in terms of acceptability. The radiator wouldn't turn off in the bedroom which meant without the window open you dehydrated. With the window open the result was tinitus from the noise and a breathing disorder from A6 traffic pollution. The bathroom didn't have a radiator and it could've done with one as the window didn't close. Needless to say the rise to the new day started on a deflated mood.. 
The breakfast was acceptable but after leaving my reading glasses and the map in the breakfast room on exit  (gone forever) The Captain has plenty to chuckle about.
The journey out of Preston was hectic and as we silently offered instructions to each other for safety I could sense we were both pleased to be leaving the city.
After a phone call and text from my northern connection buddy Richard Ford offering us a cup of tea and a rest at Carnforth we both agree would be a good idea at 25 miles.
 Passing through Lancaster on the way to Richards office I pop in at the pound shop to replace my missing reading glasses. As I return to our tandem The captain is in conversation with another nutter.  Having been accused numorous occasions on this trip of being a magnet for the like I respectfully suggest that it could be him not me that's the magnet. The notion is dismissed as nonsense in a manner that offered no surprises.
After a top cup of tea in Carnforth ( Thankyou Fordy) it's kit on and headway towards Kendal. The south east wind is hitting our right shoulder from the rear - it's not perfect but we both agree we'll happily take it. This stretch of road was designed for the tandem, it was a rollercoaster - Life felt good.
Arrival in Kendal for a fuel up The Captain is troubled by the noise coming from the busking accordion player. Furthermore it seemed the whole of Kendal was troubled by the noise coming from the busking accordion player. As he popped off for a snack and leaves his instrument unguarded (as he does every day apparently) we agree how lucky he  must be to come back to it.
Onward then to the Shap. It's an 8 mile climb out of Keswick. It reminded us both of alpine climbing - we sat into it feeling less troubled by the trailer which has now become a normal weight to our journey. Very disappointed at the summit not to have a photo opportunity with a little 'I've climbed this high'sign as Europe would offer us we keep pedalling and onward to Penrith. 
The downhill is fantastic and we make good progress to the town where we enjoy pastries from Greggs, a fizzy drink and in usual fashion proven evidence of the idiot  magnet (whoever possesses it)
With the wind directly behind us and a rolling down the hill we crack out the last 18 miles on a road straighter than my onion rows in less than an hour arriving in Carlisle.  The digs needless to say have thermostats on the radiators. 
With Winchcombes worst kept secret imminent the tandem team-is quietly chuffed to be only 12 miles from Scotland and to have cracked the Englandshire section.
Tomorrow we hope to be in Ayr and have done some adjustment to drag things out a little bit to ensure that we don't arrive in John O'Groats before the girls do.
Over and Out - Captain and Stoker. 


  1. Enjoying the daily updates Spall. It's part of my nightly ritual before kip. Don't know what I will do when they stop. Can you not turnaround and go back again? Graham (ascot).

  2. All over now buddy and look forward to seeing you on return Brother