Day 7: Bolton to Great Strickland (93 miles)

We faced a 6.30am wake up call this morning so that we could be on the road for 8am. With 93 miles and a good 4,800ft of ascent including a 10 mile foray up the dreaded Shap ahead of us we couldn’t hang about. That, and we wanted time to buy some Kendal mint cake.

Our route originally  included 5200 ft of hills but thankfully Barry looked at it last night and realised we were headed for the steepest way out of Bolton. I was actually all in favour of it as it would have taken us past the first donkeys of the trip. 

Despite setting off with bellies full of delicious porridge we were all feeling a little tired and grumpy and the first hour saw us snapping at each other. Chris nearly went flying when he hit a rock on the cycle path-that was deemed Liz’s fault. And Liz finally snapped when we moaned at her offbeat route one time too many.

I didn’t cheer up properly until about 20 miles in when Chris was nearly decapitated by an unexpected low tunnel on the cycle path. We were bent double to ride through it.

Chris didn’t get much sympathy from us so instead sought solace from this friendly cow:

Support driver three (Kev) took over from Jane at Preston. Kevin was keen to prove his support driver mettle and immediately offered to buy us any supplies we needed. It turns out that offer doesn’t extend to ladies’ pants. 

Jane’s parting words to me as we cycled off in the sunshine were ‘Have a pair of pants on me.’ Thanks Jane!

Ten minutes later and having avoided being stopped by the police for cycling the wrong way up a one way street trying to get out of Preston (the Garmin told us to – I’m sure that defence would hold up in court) we stopped at Evans bike shop. Chris has been mocking my rear light all week and I’d had enough. £40 lighter my new one is dazzling. In fact my eyes still haven’t quite recovered after testing it out a little close to my face. Chris was jealous and got one too.

We reached our half way point of our LEJOG ride as we were trying to make up for lost time getting to Lancaster. There a nice garage let us use their staff toilet.

Liz immediately sent us up a steep hill. She didn’t think to tell us it was a wrong turn until we reached the top.

We went wrong a lot in Lancaster and then left on this aqueduct

We spent a lot of time on the A6 today. It included a half mile walk on a closed section which is undergoing major works.

We passed through some villages that sound like insults – Slackhead was the best – and made it to lunch in Cumbria.

It was then a hilly 10 miles to Kendal where we met our cycling saviours, Ed and Vicky. They led the way up Shap. Despite lots of warning signs about ice and high altitude we were lucky to tackle the climb in sunshine and the scenery was fantastic.

Here we are climbing:

And here we are at the top, which actually came as a surprise to me as I misheard Chris about how much further we had to go:

Here’s support driver three, Kev, who waited patiently for us at the top:

The downhill was good fun (although we did find a few small ups too). And best of all, we even flew past a donkey!

3 thoughts on “Day 7: Bolton to Great Strickland (93 miles)

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