This post recounts the seventh day of my 14 day LEJOG19 adventure, in August 2019. For tips based on my experience, please go to my blogpost How to ride Land’s End to John O’Groats. Read Day 6, Clun to Northwich
This was the day I concluded there’s no such thing as waterproof cycling clothing. We got wet. Very wet. So wet that we were handed towels when we arrived at our lunchtime pub stop.
But the first stage of the day;’s cycling from Northwich was dry – and fast. We averaged over 16 mph over the first 20 miles, which was a surprise given we were making our way past the Manchester conurbation. A contrast with my 2002 LEJOG route past it, which was slower and more stop-start. Much of today was urban riding, unlike most of the past six days, in towns that had seen better days. But we went through one gem early on: Great Budworth, a village of timbered cottages similar to those in Pembridge and Weobley two days ago.
The rain started for real – ”organised rain’, in that strange phrase loved by certain TV weather forecasters – as we started the climb onto the moors near Bolton. I was cycling on my own by this stage, and reflected on how the equivalent day on LEJOG in 2002 was also a washout, (We had waves down the road that time and we were flooded out of our campsite, so I should think myself lucky in 2019!) It was a shame that we didn’t get a view as it must be spectacular up here ion a fine day. Despite the rain, I wasn’t cold, and found it strangely satisfying, although I confess that feeling faded towards the end of the afternoon.
As we entered the Rock Inn, Tockholes, we were handed towels to dry off. I chose a seat by the glowing fire, but quickly realised that it wasn’t on! Lunch was just what I needed: a hearty cheese and onion pie followed by jam roly poly. I also ordered a pot of tea to warm up, a tradition that lasted for the rest of the tour.
I had company for the rest of the day, which was nice, We came across a cycle race as we neared Lancaster. Sadly, we didn’t get the promised view of Blackpool Tower but a number of our group couldn’t resist stopping for ice cream at Wallings not far from our destination at Conder Green. By then I was far more interested in finishing the day and getting into dry clothes!
Tonight we were in the Mill at Conder Green, the best hotel of our stay, and I was blessed to have a room with a bath. Later, Louise, Paul, Nico, Kevin and I had a wonderful dinner. I went for a curry as a change from a week’s pub grub, and it was delicious. I followed that with the cheese board.
We were amused by Nico, who was yearning to join the rest of our party in the Stork pub, half a mile away. But the weather was still atrocious. He kept staring out of the window at the driving rain, finally plucking up the courage to venture forth. We stayed put! It would be nice to spend time at the Mill in fine weather.
74 miles, 3,950 feet climbing, 5 hrs 18 mins cycling, 14.1 mph average speed