29 May 2014

M2H10: Penrith to Aysgarth

I followed quiet, rolling back lanes in the morning from Penrith to Kirkby Stephen, in the shadow of the Pennines. Some of the roads were surprisingly busy with traffic (picture). That's rush hour just outside Appleby...

Handsome Appleby is just about to play host to its famous annual horse fair, when lots of travellers come to trade nags. I was intrigued by a restaurant there called PIZZA ROMA, and wasn't sure what sort of 'Roma' they had in mind.

I had lunch in Kirkby Stephen, where this much-photographed fingerpost (picture) displays distances in miles and furlongs - a mode curiously missing from my otherwise flexibly programmable bike computer.

Out of KS was a monster climb (picture), up to 500m, whatever that it is in furlongs, through Birkdale and over into Swaledale.

I was delighted to see ROAD CLOSED signs at the bottom, as I knew I'd be able to get through on a bike, and that I'd therefore have little traffic - only the people ignoring the signs only to have to turn back when they got to the top (picture). (Some cars tried busting the barrier here, only to be turned back further on by a roadworks gang completely blocking the road with diggers.)

Just past the summit, on the Swaledale side, was this yellow bike (picture). Yorkshire's full of them - they're put up to celebrate the forthcoming Tour de France. Not many are this high up, though.

The views down the long descent of Swaledale, though Keld and Thwaite and Muker, were fabulous (picture). If I'd had any breath left after the long push up, they'd have taken it away.

From Muker I went up and over into Wensleydale - another big climb up to near 500m, and big descent the other side down to Askrigg. Here they're celebrating the TdF too: this was my favourite (picture) out of many displays in the village. Whether this a subtle comment on the Milk Race, or about some cyclists behaving like silly cows, I don't know.

I'm camping in Aysgarth, right next to the Falls, which I will hear gently all night. Better not drink too much in the pub next door, then - chances of making it through the night without wanting to go to the toilet would therefore be slim.

Miles today 52
Total miles 536

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