Another long day

I sincerely hope its not going to go on like this. I lost most of my time in the morning due to navigational problems (again). This time, I made sure to follow Teasi’s instructions exactly, but he didn’t seem to know himself, which way he wanted to go.

The first part was fine on fairly busy roads, but mainly suburban, so that the traffic wasn’t fast and i felt comfortable with it. There were no big lorries thundering past.

Then he kept wanting to send me down bridal paths (for those of you who are not English these are for pdestrians and horses). That was quite ok, I wanted to go off-road as much as possible. However, they were very muddy and one was even flooded.

It haf been raining, when i set out but only sort of a heavy drizzle, so this was very surprising. I had to turn around and use my intuition as to which direction to go, while Teasi protested.

Then he took me along another path and started telling me to take turnings that weren’t there! I had to push my bikethrough some thick mud and walk around it. Afterwards I had to clean Bonnie, as the mud had gone everywher. It would have sprayed all over me and my luggage and the gears wouldn’t have worked properly.

Then there’s was some more suburban on-road, but Teasi’s holder had come loose and I had to repair it. This was by a garage, but noone offered to help me! Then a couple of turns and a long downward run. Ready said the next turn-off wasn’t due for a while, so I just enjoyed the thrill. Half way down Teasi screamed at me, but I was going too fast to pay any attention. Then I found myself going uphill through an estate that I was sure I had seen before, out onto the main road, back to the gsrage and the long downward stretch, this time slowly. Sure enough Teasi told me to turn left. This was another path, a little wider and dry, but Teadi couldn’t make up his mind, which way to go, or at.least couldn’t make me understand. When there were three choices, he didn’t seem to like any of them and kept telling me to turn round. I started to feel lost, but eventually I zoomed the screen, decided on the direction and ignored Teasi until he agreed with my route (or I rejoined his).

After that it was fairly smooth going again on canal tow-paths. When I stopped for my picnic at 1:30 I still had ¾ of the distance to do. Normally I don’t stop before ive done St least half.

I made good progress after that but I texted my host that ill be at least 2 hrs. Later than i’d told him. At 8 I phoned to say that I was less than 5 miles away, but at the next junction confusion again. I finally asked a couple, who advised me to take the main road ad it was getting dark. I followed there advice and used the pavements. Teasi kept trying to send me back on the cycle paths, so I finally put the adress into the map app on my phone and used the route for cars.

I finally arrived here at 9 and my warmshoers hosts had waited for me with a lovely dinner. They made me feel most welcome. Obviously I didn’t go rushing off for a shower first, just washed my hands ans sat down ad I was. We sat talking for a while and when I finally did have my shower, I didn’t have to get dressed again, just off to bed.

In Scotland and the first part of England there were so many, daffodils. They are dying here now, but I saw tulips today, which i didnt stop to photograph, and beautiful blossom.

Tourstats for day 12 Bolton-Bradley 107 km. 665 m. ascent, 8:43 bike-time, 11:15 total.

(for those of you who don’t know/reme et while I don’t call it time in the saddle, that’s because it includes pushing.)

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A long day

I set out at 8:00 a.m. knowing that it was going to be a short day and hoping to arrive by 4 p.m.

Getting out of Lancaster was a problem again. Teasi knows which way he wants to go, but he just can’t communicate with me properly. Eventually we got back to the river after doing a circle involving a very steep hill.

Some time later “my” route seemed to be taking a main road and the national cycle route 6 turned off onto quiet country lanes. I decided to ignore TEASI and go for the NCR6. This was good at first, but I started to think I had made a mistake, when I turned off to climb a steep hill and came back down again onto the same lane. In retrospect, I think this was unnecessarily due to bad signposting.

I had again had porridge fot breakfast, which although I had made it myself, nice and thick, didn’t keep me going, so when the hunger pains came, I immediately knew I needed protein. Fortunately, a café suddenly appeared, so I stopped for a second (English) breakfast. That did the trick and I didn’t even need my picnic lunch later.

After the hill event I decided to rejoin my route at the next easy point. When this presented itself, off I went, only to find that this was the even bigger mistake, as it (re?)joined the busy A6. There was a cycle lane most of the timr, but this was dangerous with lorries thundering past and when there wasn’t one I felt it was lethal, so I used the pavements, still hating the noise and the vibrations. After 6 kilometres the route left the main road and followed country lanes and cycle paths, partly along a canal towpath, to Preston. There the fun started again, with Teasi sending me round in circles, when I didn’t understand. However it would have been even more difficult without him.

When we finally got out of the town, I found myself on the cycle route 55, which took me through a park. There was a big gate, which was padlocked, a small gate, which you had to go around through a fenced off “box: Or a metal bar with a horizontal section and a gap just wide enough for a bike without luggage. I had to lift my bike so that the luggage went over the horizontal part of the bar, getting myself over at the same time. This procedure had to also take place at the exit and another twice on reentering across the road and exiting again later. All this must have cost time. Afterwards I was back on another canal path, which although slow going because of the surface was absolutely beautiful and I wished it would never end. It dad, with a rude awakening; the rest of the trip was on the A6. Again I used the pavement, which was very rough with broken asphalt due to strong oak tree-roots.

The turning off at a roundabout proved again almost impossible with Teasi’s half-left and hal-right instructions (why can’t he just say „take the first exit“ especially as I wasn’t expecting to turn off yet.

This was the only night I hadn’t prebooked accommodation, as the lady had said this wasn’t necessary, she would be sure to have a room in one of her 3 properties within the same village. I had tried to phone her the night before and sent her an email, but no reply to either. I haf kept her adress programmed as my destination for the day and was planning to go there „on spec“, but it was getting later and later. I was still 5 kilometers away and not sure whether I would have to go back the same way next day,when I saw a Premier Inn, expensive for one person especially when you haven’s booked online, but by then i didn’t care. When I checked in there it was 7 p.m. and there was a Harvester next door, where I had an excellent, reasonably -priced meal.

Tour stats Lancaster-Bolton:

89 km. 571 m. ascent, 8:07 bike-time, 11:00 total

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After 10 days, half the planned time, I have cycled:

Nach 10 Tage, die Hälfte der geplanten Fahrzeit bin ich geradelt:

824 km. and 8336 m. ascent in 66 hours (Stunden) and 43 minutes.

According to plan it would have been:

Lt. Berechnung ware es gewesen::

778,98 km. 7687 m. ascent

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Today I had the challenges first thing in the morning. My bike-computer (sat-nav with all my routes on) had frozen. I couldn’t find a reset button, I tried pressing both buttons, I tried tapping it, I tried charging it. None of that seemed to work I left it on charge, nothing What would i do without ir? Should i go and buy another one, hoping all the routes were on the SD card and could be transferred, or should i buy a load of maps? I had bought two for Scotland and northern England, which, I haven’t needed and I would need more to a larger scale.

After a while, when still nothing was happening, I pressed both buttons simultaneously and held them down for about a minute. Eureka!

After another good breakfast I left again before 9 only to return 5 minutes later with the key, which was in my back pocket.

Teasi and I finally agreed how to leave Penrith and cycled up a hill. After the next tuning came challenge number 2: Road closed. It was completely fenced off, imminent danger 💀 of collapsing! What should I do now? The only other way in the right direction was a busy dual carriageway. I was on the right hand side and their was a hard shoulder AND a wide grass verge, so I pushed Bonnie (my bike, baptised after my fist SUE4DON) against the traffic to the next exit. This road was going back the way I had just come and within a few kilometres there was a turn to the left. I had rejoined my route!

This was at first on quiet contry lanes, but then turned onto an A road. There was’t much traffic owing to the motorway, which ran parallel, but the cars and a few lorries, passed me at quite a speed. After stopping at a small supermarket for food for lunch, the gradient started to increase. I was prepared for this climb and managed to pedal all the way up and over the Shap. What I wan’t prepared for, was that after a short breathtaking descent it went up ahai, fortunately not so high this time ad I managed that one too. The gradual descent seemed to go on for ever, in fact it could have done as far as I was concerned!

After that came a mixture of country lanes and bike paths. There were a few little hills and when I decided to stop at the next one, there was a bench sitting there all by itself, as if waiting for me!

On the elevation profile it showed a few little peaks. These proved to be extremely steep and I pushed up most off them. By noe it was sunny and I had to take some clothes off, only to put them back on (after the last climb because of the cold wind.

My route then took me on a busy road through a small town and I thought that I would have to stay on it all the way to Lancaster, but there was suddenly a turn-off onto the canal towpath. Because of the rough surface and avoiding going too near the edge ir was slow going, but absolutely flat and absolutely beautiful.

Teasi brought me to my destination with relative ease ad I arrived just after 6 after a hard but very enjoyable day

Tour stats for the day:

88.6 km., 1006 m. ascent, 7:14 bime-time, 8:59 total

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an meine deutschsprachige Freune und Fans

Leider schaffe ich es einfach nicht, taglich in 2 Sprachen zu bloggen.

Ich fange immer abends an, schlafe aber meistens dabei ein. Um 5 schreibe ich weiter, aber bis ich das Englische fertig habe, ist es Zeit zum Aufstehen. Ich fahre meistens zwischen 8:30 und 9 los und komme zwischen 5 und 6 an. Dann bin ich nur zum duschen oder baden fahig, bevor ich essen gehe.

Heute habe ich Halbzeit und habe auch die halbe Distanz geschafft. Gestern mittags bin ich uber die “Grenze” von Schottland nach England gekonmen und war dabei etwas traurig. Schottland hat mir super gefallen. Das Wetter war auch sehr gnadig mit mir. Ich muss zwar in der Früh viel anziehen, aber tagsüber wird es jetzt schon warmer.

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Bye bye, Scotland

Today was better than expected. Although it started near the motorway, this was much quieter being early Sunday morning, less traffic and I could hear the birds. There was scenery to one side, and the surface was less rough, although my fresher leg muscles might have helped.

Then the route suddenly branched off onto a peaceful country lane. All at once I was back in paradise, the birdsong was louder, there were lush green fields and animals. Even the surface was smooth, maybe it doesn’t need to be so rough, as the cars don’t go so fast.

This seemed to go on for ever and as it was slightly downhill, my average speed was higher. All at once I was in Gretna. Of course I took a detour to Gretna Green ad allowed myself a break to take photos, there and again at the border.

After a very short stretch on a busy main road, the route took me back onto quiet country lanes.

Of course every day has ist challenge; today’s was Carlisle. It would have been so easy but I must have missed the sign for N7 and the communication beteeen Teasi (that is REALLY the so appropriate name of my bike-computer and sat-nav.) and me didn’t seem to be working again. The traffic was extreme and I had to get over a busy roundabout. No way was I doing it on the road.

After asking someone I found myself following the N7 & N10 along a tarred path by the river. Teasi didn’t want me to go that way, but I knew I would go via Dalston, where I could rejoin „my“ route (*)

I knew I had about 200 metres to climb, not my favourite for this to be at the end of the day, but it was drawn out over several kilometres. This proved to be as exciting as a day at the fun-fair. There were many steep dips and if I let myself go full speed down I got most of, sometimes all the way up the other side. Fortunately the road surface was good, so after the first couple I really let go, leaming forward and keeping low, giving me one adrenalin rush after another, especially on one occasion when the were hens at the side of the road. I just prayed they wouldn’t run across in front of me. Then there was one fairly steep ascent before last gradual downhill part.

(*) You may wonder how I planned the route. I read a book called „The Safer Way“ by Royston Wood. He did the trip several times in reverse and had previously had bad experiences with traffic. He had planned this route with help of Google Maps. The cycling routes were then only in the beta stage, and he adapted them. The routes to download are included with the book, along with all sorts of useful information like accommodation tips. He also explains how to adapt the routes and in my case reverse them.

That brings me to why I’m doing it „in reverse“. I knew I would have to dispose of the box after travelling one way. As my husband and I will be coming to Cornwall with a group of golfers in May, I can leave my bike there and we can take it home in the trailer a couple of weeks later. I had wondered why most end-to-enders seem to go from Land’s End to John o’Groats. As I told people about the strong head-winds in Scotland, 3 people told me independently that I was doing it „the wrong way round“!

Tourstats for the day:

89,8 km. 637 m. elevation, 6:43 bike-time, 8:14 total

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Not what I expected

I thought today would be a great day, the first half gently uphill and the second half down. Well it was ..

The first third was pretty much how I expected, wide expanses, rolling hills and an undulating run on quiet country lanes, with lush green grass and an endless number of sheep and lambs. On one straigh bit there looked like a large animal sitting on the white line in the middle of the road. I cycled closer very apprehensively, amd it turned out to be a male pheasant picking at a dead male pheasant. Whether he was pulling out plumage, trying to drag him away or just giving him the last rites, I do not know!

Then my route joined the N74 south, which sounded good, but it ended up as a lane on a B-road right next to a busy motorway. Although safe, it was very noisy and the road surface was very rough. In England the roads are tarmacked (named after a guy called Macafam) as opposed to our asphalting in Austria. For those of you who don’t know this ptocedure: they pour hot tar on, then small stones or large gravel, which the call chippings (this is probably because if loose, flying ones chip the paint of your car. Then they go over it with a steam roller. At least that’s how they used to do it, i presume its still the same. I think this rougher surface is deliberate for the damp climate here and the tendency to suddenly ice over in winter, to reduce skidding. However it makes slow going on a bike. On one occasion the bike lane was really bad with lots of loose gravel, many broken bits and potholes, so I used the extremely quiet road. A van stopped and the driver said in an angry voice , pointing angrily (finger goingg back and forth) “that’s the cycle lane over there”. I replied “but its in such bad condition”he; “It’s just the dame as the road.” He caused another vehicle to stop behind him before he drove off.

As I said, that was a very quiet stretch, but on the latter part a few cars did go speeding past, which made me stick to the bike lane wherever I could. In one part they had even smoothed it, but generally it was slow going and towards the end very boring; just this long straight road with the noise of the motorway and a few trees, no more fields of sheep and lambs. I fear the first part of tomorrow will be much the same, which is a shame as it will be my last day in Scotland and not a good impression to leave this beautiful country with. I have fallen in love with Scotland and am actually sad to be leaving.

I had managed to get away before 9 and arrived here before 5 so this is about my average of 10 km. per hour (including stops). Again I was lucky to find a bath and also had the tine to soak my aching muscles before dinner, having drunk my usual cuppa and eaten the biscuits provided to keep me going.

Unfortunately, I again forgot to set my bike computer to record, but I stuck to the route almost to the end, so they’re probably not far off what they should have been:

80 km. 486 m. elevation, 7 hours bike time, 8 hours total.

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