Winter Training Day 1 – Skyreholme to Windermere

Skyreholme-Airton-Settle-Eldroth-Ingleton-Kirkby Lonsdale-Kendal-Windermere. 62 miles.

Click here for a map of the route

We’re lucky enough to live in Skyreholme in the Yorkshire Dales, so we have some lovely rides right from the door, and we set off along a familiar route towards Grassington, Hetton and Airton. It was a good warm-up on roads we know well, although we could feel the additional weight of the panniers and our Christmas over-indulgences. At Airton we headed off towards Settle, and the drizzle turned to sleet as we battled over the moor, so we abandoned a proposed visit to Scaleber Force on the way. After a steep descent into Settle, we warmed up in the Naked Man Café, then crossed the A65 and took the back roads through Eldroth to Clapham. From Clapham it was a steady climb to the top, then a lovely glide down into Ingleton, where we had lunch at the Wheatsheaf, and they didn’t mind us drying our socks on the radiators while we ate.

After Ingleton there seemed to be no choice other than the busy A65 to get us to Kirkby Lonsdale, but it was horrible – raining hard now, and heavy lorries thundering past. The sheep in the fields beside the road were completely unfazed by the lorries, but took off in fright as we went past. After what seemed like an age we were off the main road and heading for Kendal. It was a long six-mile haul to Old Hutton, mainly climbing, and with very little downhill as a reward. Eventually we crossed under the M6 and found ourselves suddenly in Lakeland landscapes, the slate walls of the church at Old Hutton very different to all the Dales dry-stone walls we’d cycled past. We made an unintended detour in Kendal that had us slogging up the A591 dual carriageway for a couple of miles to the Crook turn-off, then it was very up and down to Bowness, and a last mile and a half up to Windermere. We’d been slow, and arrived in the dark, but a warm welcome at the Westbury B&B on Broad Street and a long hot bath were both much appreciated.