There was a little light drizzle first thing but it had stopped by the time we left for the station. After changing at Crewe we shot off up the West Coast Main Line to arrive at Carlisle a little after 14:00.
After hunting down a bike shop to buy the things we’d forgotten to bring, it took us ages to find our way out of the city but finally we were on our way along the river and a short section of disused railway. We passed through a mixed light industrial and residential area, deserted apart from a couple of glum solitary men walking their dogs. Soon we were cycling along very quiet, gently undulating country lanes through pasture, meadows and small villages of stone cottages. Christine and Rowan were keen to continue but I couldn’t pass the Drovers Arms for my first pint of Jennings bitter in years. It was a wonderful pint in a friendly pub but the others dragged me away before I could order that damaging second glass.
We continued to Hesket Newmarket, memorably described by Christine as “quite a big little place”! It was a lovely village with marquees in position for the evening’s ceilidh – shame we had to press on to Caldbeck. This was just as nice though smaller and quieter.
We camped in a farm field (£2 per person), cooked dinner on the stove and walked to the village pub for more Jennings. The bitter wasn’t as well kept as at the Drovers Arms but still very good, as was the stronger Cumberland Ale.