Appleby to Brampton

Another wet start. We don’t have a choice really, we just have to get togged up and get out in it. Map reading is difficult in the wet as I can’t have my iPhone mounted on the bars for quick reference. It’s tucked away in a waterproof pocket in the bike seat. When we need to check our position or the route, we have to pull up under trees or some other cover. This is probably why I missed the turning we should have taken on leaving Appleby. Instead we headed in almost the complete wrong direction. After a few miles I was uneasy. We seemed to be heading into the hills, not away from them. Eventually we stopped and I checked. Worst error of the ride so far and it meant back-tracking so we probably added about 6 or 7 miles to our tally. In the rain this is doubly irritating.

Once on track we made steady progress but it was hard work. No major climbs but no real flat bits either. By the time we found our first cafe about 2 hours in, we were both soaked to the skin. The station cafe at Langwathby was a very welcome sight. We both disappeared into the loos in turn to change into dry clothes as the rain had eased to almost dry. Tea and cake in place we continued towards Brampton, most of the time on the B road but with a good stretch on lanes. That was when we encountered our first ‘flood’ with water across the road for a fair distance. It was too deep to just ride through without removing the lower bags so we plonked them on Karon’s seat and I rode through while Karon walked along the side bank of the lane.

Flooded lane. Time to kick Karon out of the 'Princess' seat and move the low bags up out of the water.

Flooded lane. Time to kick Karon out of the ‘Princess’ seat and move the low bags up out of the water.

It wasn’t worth mounting up immediately as there was a short, sharp climb away from the stream where the water SHOULD have been flowing. It was no longer raining and it was quite humid so as we struggled up the slope, the flies became a real pain. Normally, at a reasonable pace they are no bother, but slow to a walk on a long climb – which also generates quite a lot of sweat – and the flies home in. I decided that hell must be to come back as a cow or horse in summer! After that all the climbs were rideable, but a couple only just. Lunchtime came and went without anywhere presenting itself as a watering hole so by the time we were only a few miles from Brampton, Karon’s blood sugar was low. And the rain was back. We stopped to cover up and Karon took a gel to get some sugar, with a couple of jelly babies for good measure.

After all that, we still arrived in Brampton too soon for our B&B, so found a pub in the town centre. It was too late for food, so a packet of crisps sufficed. Karon boosted her blood sugar even more with a Crabbies Ginger Beer and I enjoyed a pint of Wainwright Ale. Then we went to find our B&B. After being immersed in cold water for most of the day, it was nice to immerse in hot. We were just getting dressed when my sister and brother-in- law turned up to welcome us to their home patch. So we went back into town for food and a catch-up. They drove off after loading up with our damp and dirty laundry!

Short ride tomorrow as we cycle out to their place to collect our laundry and stay the night before moving on to Langholm – another shorter leg. After two days of quite hard riding, I don’t think either of us is too upset.