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27 February, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Calder Vale-Abbeystead-Lancaster

I went to the southern limit of my usual cycling range today, exploring a new area near Scorton then into Wyresdale as far as Abbeystead and back home via Jubilee Tower.

Normally, I'd start by following the A6 main road straight to the outskirts of Scorton, as I can get the slightly boring preamble to the 'real' ride out of the way at a steady 21 mph. However, I also wanted to explore the non-motorway access to Forton Services, so turned off the A6 early and followed tiny lanes.

After leaving Scorton, more tiny lanes took me to Calder Vale, a seemingly-remote 19th Century (and barely changed since then) mill village. It's a slightly strange place, worth visiting.

The path to the village church (well outside the village itself – Calder Vale was founded by Quakers, presumably a little hostile to the established Church of England) led onwards to Harrisend Fell and a familiar route into Wyresdale. I followed that as far as Abbeystead, slightly aimlessly, before realising I didn't have a particular destination in mind, the valley is a dead end unless I planned to cross the pass to Dunsop Bridge and seriously extend the ride, and even if I turned back immediately, I had a very hilly ride to Lancaster via Jubilee Tower, and wouldn't reach home before dark. Oops. At least the sunset was photogenic.

I was out for 4:20 hours, 2:53 of which were spent moving. I covered 33.65 miles (54 km), at a 'personal best' top speed of 35.1 mph (56.5 km/h). Actually, I'm uncomfortable about cycling that quickly – if I fell off at speed whilst wearing ordinary cycling clothes I could be hurt.

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