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21 August, 2004

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Galgate-Trough of Bowland-Jubilee Tower-Lancaster

Last night, my mother rang to tell me that Galgate, the village just south of Lancaster where I lived 1994-96, was on the TV news: the River Conder had breached its flood barriers after sustained (though not especially heavy, to my knowledge) rainfall.  This morning I took my new camera for its first outing, to Galgate.

Oddly, there were few signs that there had been flooding at all. A few houses had sandbags across their doorsteps and part of the flood barrier (a low concrete wall lining the bank) was demolished, but there were no indications that the river itself had been particularly high (flattened vegetation, silt deposits, etc.).

Glad that there hadn't been more damage, but secretly disappointed at the lack of a photo opportunity (!), I decided to cycle out to Dolphinholme to see if the River Wyre was particularly high. Foolishly, I forgot the layout of the village and took a wrong turn along a road parallel with river but out of line of sight. I'd already decided to go on to the picturesque hamlet of Abbeystead, also on the Wyre, so didn't bother to retrace my steps. It was further to Abbeystead than I remembered, and some sort of fete prevented me from wandering around with the camera, so I decided to go on yet again - it couldn't be much further to the Trough of Bowland. Thus, the ~4 mile trip to Galgate reached its furthest point, after 18 miles....

Since I'd already gone to that effort, it seemed to make sense to return to Lancaster via the viewpoint of Clougha, Jubilee Tower. However, I'd only had a cup of tea and a bowl of corn flakes since waking, and hadn't brought a drink, so I began to tire on the long climb from Abbeystead (130m asl) to Jubilee Tower (287m), into the wind, having already been to 300m at the head of the Trough (that's 130m to 300m, back to 130m then on to 287m, if it's unclear). If I'd planned this in advance, I doubt I'd have chosen it!

Though cool, thankfully, the weather was still humid and hence a little hazy, but the new camera managed to take better photos than I expected. These are reduced to a publishable size, but the originals have a better resolution than the naked eye - very impressive.

A stop at the viewpoint gave me something of a rest, so the final few miles back to Lancaster wasn't too bad, considering it's a tough ride at the best of times: 287m-53m in 4km, then 53m-111m in ~750m (three hairpin bends), on to 134m in ~500m, down to 63m in 1.5km, then a final 20m climb in ~200m.

In total, that was 28.41miles (45.72km) in about three hours, of which 2hrs 21mins were spent in motion. Only 20 miles more than expected!

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