Day 10 – Norman

Today from Gartang, Lancs to Casterton, by Kirkby Lonsdale .

Set off with a cloudy sky and the tops of the Pennines covered with fog.  A gentle climb with a couple of short climbs (both quite short) which the Geordies would call “Cheeky”  The result was that the ride seemed tougher than Cornwall, which the enthusiasts say is the worst part.  Then a steady climb up to Bowland Trough and round the edge of the Forest of Bowland (which is treeless)  The weather was not too bad, but some of the climb was tough.  My worst part of the day seems to be the second mile, when I have not settled down and my muscles start to ache, but it then improves.

The roadside plants have changed as we go north.  No more wild Montbretia which was rampant in Cornwall, and no policeman’s helmet which is a serious weed in the Midlands, to more ragged plants, and of course, nettles and ragwort every where.

We came down to Slaidburn after a long ride over the heather covered moor.  It was good to see fields and trees again. We had lunch at the top of the hill beyond Slaidburn and it came on to rain, but soon stopped  Up some more then a long descent down to High Bentham, we we had tea in a shop,  On along the river to Kirkby Lonsdale, where we rode over the Devil’s Bridge into the town and looked at the church, which had some good Norman carving, and on to admire what Ruskin called the finest view in England, over the Lune across green grazing well wooded, and the hills at the back.

The fifteen travellers all seem to be middle-aged and middle class, and make good companions for the ride.