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27 November, 2005

Cycling: Lancaster-Caton Moor-Lancaster

When I left the house today, I had no idea where I was going.

I wanted to see the snow which has fallen on high ground in recent days. I checked the view from my garden, Williamson Park (which the rest of the world persists in regarding as public), but wasn't sure where to go from there. In late November, 14:30 is too late (at least for photography) to start a long bike ride to high ground, as the light fades by 16:00, so I couldn't head north as far as Warton/Arnside or east as far as the moors above Wray; I needed something more local. Not Jubilee Tower, as the idea was to get a little closer to the Lake District or Yorkshire Dales, not further away. I wouldn't be able to see Yorkshire from there, either.

That left Caton Moor, the site of considerable unhappiness during my abortive (indeed, aborted) PhD, but that bothers me less nowadays. Caton it was. The route was very familiar, and not worth mentioning, though I was pleased to notice that the section from Brookhouse to the wind farm took precisely half the time it used to – I'm markedly better-fed and fitter at 34 than when I was 24.

The views from the top were indeed good, but I'm afraid the photographs seemed to capture more haze than I'd appreciated with the naked eye; I've done what I could with these images.

If anyone cares (and it seems some do), the trip of 18.8 miles (30 km) took exactly two hours (1:54 moving), at an average of 10mph. That's anomalously slow, but explained by the fact that I cycled to the wind farm, then followed the relatively new track a mile across the moor to Roeburndale Road on foot, before following that back to Caton and Lancaster by bike. The footpath is surfaced with coarse gravel and fragments of ceramic, so cycling would have been impossible (with road tyres) even if it had been permitted.

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