Saturday, 13 June 2015

30 Days Wild: Day 13 - Slowing down...

I can't believe we're 3 days into our bike ride already - the time has absolutely flown past.  May and June have been so hectically busy for me with lots of 7 day weeks and only the occasional evening off, all this meant that I kind of launched into day 1 (when I was probably more than a little grumpy), bounded through day 2 (with some mild grumpiness persisting) and only now on day 3 am I truly relaxing into the ride and enjoying it.

I mean look at the photo at the top of the page - Morecambe Bay is MAGNIFICENT - and this mind blowing bike ride takes in every single corner of it.  PLUS, unlike pesky linear routes, the whole way around this one you can accost innocent passers by, point across the bay and tell them just how far you've cycled.  Genius.

This morning we started at Grange-over-Sands station - a full 3 minutes commute from our house and it was great to see the guys from the campsite arriving:

The route took us out of Grange, through Meathop and across the A590 to Witherslack, where we all made excellent use of the community shop - well it had been nearly 2 whole hours since breakfast and snacks were sorely needed...

Then it was down through Levens to Arnside.  Mostly away from main roads, but in some cases unavoidable - the stretch from Dallam through Sandside to Arnside can be a little hairy, especially when impatient drivers overtake on blind bends blaring their horns.  We saw several near misses as cars dived into our group to avoid cars coming the other way - I have a simple policy on stuff like this - be a lunatic and risk your own life if you want to, but don't take risks with my life or anyone else's.

Arnside was FANTASTIC - they'd really gone all out to welcome us and put on a show - there were yellow bikes along our route, yellow balloons on the pier and superb waymarkers guiding us in.

As my nerves were a little shaken after the busy road section a few people suggested tracking down some Bach's Rescue Remedy - but I preferred a local herbal solution...  (and to be fair, the road really isn't that bad, I'm just a world class wuss and if I can handle it, anyone can!)

Despite it being day 3 and despite me approaching this ride with zero preparation and a bike I'd never ridden before, I launched into the next part of the route with an enthusiasm which would have put Wiggo to shame.  I can neither confirm nor deny that this was because I knew we were heading for one of my most favouritest places to see one of my most favouritest people and scoff some of my most favouritest cake.  I know I was there only there a few days ago, but the RSPB reserve at Leighton Moss is just such a special place, and not only because of the carrot cake.

The lovely Annabel gave our group a guided tour and we were treated to excellent views of the female Marsh Harrier who'd clearly read the memo about our visit and put on a suitably wonderful display.

You tell 'em Annabel!

Susannah slowing down & hugging a tree.
Yes, of course I visit there for the wildlife...
After all of that the brave campers headed back to camp and we tackled the journey home.  What was meant to be a quick 10 minute train ride turned into a 90 minute adventure as Northern Rail refused to let us on the first train (not enough space for the bikes).  The second train arrived fresh from the 1970's complete with a good old fashioned Guard's Van and everything, tons of space for the bikes Hoorah!  (I was hoping the onboard shop might have a selection of Texan Bars, Sherbet DipDabs and Opal Fruits)

Sadly, we only got as far as Arnside before it clapped out and there was a long delay before we were finally on our way to Grange.  Those who know me know that patience is NOT my strong suit and I had to work hard at the "staying chilled and slowing down" thing...

Once on our way again we crossed the Kent viaduct and Morecambe Bay opened up all around us (albeit through rather grubby windows) and I remembered the whole point of this route - it's to show off this truly unique and beautiful part of the world which even on a grey evening through grubby train windows, can still take your breath away.

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