Rest Day 1: Rydal Hall, Ambleside

This may simply be the only ‘rest day’. I suppose it depends what happens once I’ve arrived in Edinburgh. Much will, I suspect, depend upon the weather. (Sorry to mention it again…) It’s an interesting factor that I have rarely had to contend with before. Not the weather but the thought in the back of my mind that I could, at any point of this trip, decide to abandon the whole thing and be home in front of the TV within a matter of hours. (Is there anything worth watching tonight?)

I don’t think that will happen today as there has been a remarkable turnaround in the weather. It rained continuously from around 4pm yesterday to about 10am today. But things began to take a turn for the better post breakfast:

It wasn’t long before the clouds started to break and there was a hint of some sunshine. It’s now 5pm and here on the terrace of the Badger Bar next door to the campsite at Rydal Hall, if COVID-19 regulations didn’t prevent it, you could be frying eggs on the flags.

Aside from drying my clothes (I have abandoned the idea of ‘washing’ them as it is contrary to the whole social distancing thing; why do something that works against the ‘new normal’?), my main task of the day was to write and record the introduction and links to episode 23 of the podcast. Here’s an exclusive:

That was page 1. You’ll have to tune in later in the month for all the rest but it includes a world record, David Bowie and pub banter. Here was my studio:

Not too shabby. That’s the hall and formal garden here at Rydal by the way. Built by the Le Fleming family in the 16th century (extended and altered in the 17th and 18th centuries) it is now a Church of England retreat for the clergy but the top notch campsite in the grounds is open to the likes of me and you. The acoustics of the shaded bench in the garden where I did the recordings were very nice indeed. Shame about the acoustic ability of a bored teenage boy sitting on the other side of the lawn who excelled in hitting his tin can on the ground as I tried to record…

A late afternoon jolly into Ambleside got me out of the house (as it were) but I was soon back ‘home’ in Rydal with my mind turning towards the three days to come, especially tomorrow which involves a cycle from Ambleside to a campsite to the north east of Penrith at Little Salkeld.

Until a few days ago I was envisaging a cycle via ‘The Struggle’ to Ullswater. Then Jeff got in touch:

“I have a few suggestions about your route from Rydal to Bank House. You could go up Kirkstone Pass, but the road isn’t called ‘The Struggle’ for nothing! I would recommend looking for the small lanes that come out of the top side of Grasmere, eventually forcing you on to the main Ambleside -Keswick road. At the top of Dunmail Raise there’s a lovely cycle path on the left. This takes you on to the quiet side of Thirlmere. From there, cross the main road, go up St John’s in the Vale, to Threlkeld, where you can pick up the C2C and then follow this all the way to Little Salkeld and your campsite.”

So as things stand, that’s the plan. Yesterday Tom mentioned the stone circle to the east of Keswick that may be worthy of my attention although he did also say there were issues with the disused railway line – a landslide I think – that may mean a deviation is in order. I imagine that the C2C route would follow a disused railway if one were available but I’ll find out tomorrow. Keswick and Penrith are well placed pit stops along the way. I hardly dare look at the forecast…

UPDATE: Looking at the map of routes 6 and 71 (the C2C) it doesn’t look as though I’ll go anywhere near Keswick.

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