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4 March, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Crook O'Lune-Kirkby Lonsdale-Farleton Knott-Lancaster

I remember a time when the start of March was damp, windy but fairly warm.  Things change.  Today was bitterly cold (by UK standards) but brilliantly sunny, so I took my camera for a bike ride in the snow.

The first destination was the Crook O'Lune, near Caton. I recently discovered there's one point on the riverbank where one can see both arms of the tight meander at once, so left the bike for a while to take a photograph, plus a few more of the frozen river.

From there, I cycled straight to Kirkby Lonsdale (okay, with a couple more photo stops, using a polarising filter to cut through the slight haze) and Devil's Bridge. That's a familiar location, but the weather and ice revealed new details.

The next stage was slightly less familiar: I think I've only been through Whittington once before, returning to Lancaster along the higher northern side of the Lune Valley, and I'd never explored the lanes around Hutton Roof (village) and Newbiggin. They were... an experience, as I was riding on near-virgin snow; less slippery than one might expect, except where dog walkers had compacted the cover to footprint-shaped ice patches.

That route took me around the eastern side of Farleton Fell (aka Farleton Knott), though I resisted the temptation to park the bike again and climb the hill for my first time. I'll save that for another trip.

I'd already covered quite a long distance, so decided to head home after a quick look at the frozen (disused) canal. I reached Lancaster at 16:40, as the light was failing, having been out for 5½ hours, 3½ moving. I'd ridden 67½ km (42 miles) at an average speed of 19.6 km/h (12.2 mph) and a maximum of 43.5 km/h (27 mph) – I have no idea at what point I managed that, considering the icy conditions.

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