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13 March, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Kirkby Lonsdale-Lancaster

To Kirkby Lonsdale this morning; a small market town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales but just over the Lancashire border into Cumbria, which surprises some.

The ride up the Lune Valley isn't my favourite, especially the section between Tunstall and Kirkby Lonsdale, which seems flat and boringly featureless, but is actually slightly uphill, and feels much further than 4-5 miles. It's always a relief to reach Devil's Bridge and cross the River Lune. Many passers-by only stop to admire the bridge but the town itself is very attractive, and I'd specifically visited to take a few photographs.
Mentioned in the Domesday Book (1086) and retaining a mediaeval streetplan of narrow lanes and courtyards, the central area was largely rebuilt in the 17th-18th Centuries. It is rather tourist-orientated – the population of ~2,000 doesn't require ~60 shops – but many shopfronts are Listed and care has been taken to retain the heritage and beautiful surrounding area acclaimed by Constable, Turner and Ruskin.

Unfortunately, the early Spring sunlight and long shadows were rather harsh, and only a few photos are worth showing. Next time....

I didn't want to return home via exactly the same route, so I followed the more hilly 'B' roads along the northern rim of the Lune Valley, passing Whittington, Arkholme and Halton.
Overall, the round trip was 56 km (35 miles) and took four hours – rather slow, but that includes time spent on foot in Kirkby Lonsdale; the bike was parked for over an hour and some of the 2:50 hours logged by the bike computer as 'moving' was at walking pace.

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