A record of my cycling trips in Britain and abroad


Into the Lakes

Day 4
Distance: 110 km / 68 mi

dscf2350.jpgWe woke early, and after hot showers we were refreshed and ready to go. We rolled out onto the main road, the three of us now making a little convoy as we left the campsite. Simon joined us late last night, having taken the train as far as Southport and then joined us at the campsite after tea. We set out along the road to Preston in single file, along a road with some traffic, but not so much that it was unpleasant. After half an hour or so we were into the outskirts of Preston, and - spotting a parade of shops with a cafe - we stopped for a proper breakfast (our first was only cereal bars this morning, as we wanted to get on the road quickly). The large, fresh sandwich I had was washed down with a similarly large and fresh milkshake; if there was one thing I would take to a desert island I think it would be milkshake!
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Through Liverpool

Day 3
Distance: 134 km / 83 mi

2342.jpgWell, what a day! We awoke refreshed and ready to go, after our night camping out in the woods. It really is the best way to sleep, except possibly bivouacking on a warm night. I would say it feels ‘at one with the forest’ or some such nonsense but I’d sound like a hippy. Anyway, I slept well (Polly, I think, less so: a sleeping mat really makes a difference!). We had a downhill start to the day, back towards the sea to pick up the coastal route again, after cutting off the north-easternmost corner of Wales. However, we’d not been going five minutes when Polly’s bike suffered a puncture. Swiftly repaired, we were back on the road again. Being a Monday morning, the traffic was a lot heavier than yesterday, and we were making our way closer to Chester. After an hour or so, we stopped to replenish our food supplies and have a second breakfast. I’ve already lost track of how many cereal bars I’ve eaten! We also stopped by a bike shop in Flint to top up the tyre pressure and pick up a spare inner tube in case of further punctures (it’s difficult to get a high pressure with the small pump I’m carrying); they were very friendly, and we also cleaned and oiled our chains and tightened up a couple of loose bolts.
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From Snowdon to the sea

Day 2, part 2

Today’s cycling: 90 km / 56 mi

We had a good early start to the first proper day of the trip, so we were back down from the summit of Snowdon before lunchtime. Once reunited with our bikes, we headed back the way we had come, back towards Capel Curig - but this time we were heading down Pen y Pas, and we had the road stretching before us, down into the forest. We decided to eat before we left the mountains proper, so we stopped for lunch by the side of a small lake It was only a brief stop, and I felt rushed; we could see the clouds behind us with the rain chasing us down the valley, and the air felt cold and ominous. It was as if the grey sky was reflecting the grey slate, and hiding a malevolent spirit brewing a storm like we were brewing our tea. A flying descent put us back among the trees and following our route north, to the coast. We were following a river down to the sea, but somehow - surely defying logic - the road seemed to wind up and up, even while the river was flowing along the valley floor in the same direction.
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Yr Wydffa

Yr Wydffa, or Snowdon

Distance: 90 km / 56 mi cycling, ~10km walking

Cycling route
Approximate route up Snowdon

I woke up early this morning, with the sound of light drizzle pattering on the tent above me. At least, I think it was early - I haven’t brought a watch, and my only clock is on my camera, in the bottom of my bag. I like the sense of freedom not having a watch brings; one less link with civilisation, one less distraction. I listened carefully to see if Polly was awake; after a few minutes a yawn told me she was.
“Is that rain?” Polly asked.
“Yeah, think so,” I replied.
“Let’s give it 5 minutes, then I want a quick shower.”
“Sounds like it’s easing off, let’s go.”
We headed down to the shower block, next to the old barn where we made dinner last night. Ah, the joy of camping showers - never knowing what you’re going to get is part of the fun! At least these ones were hot, but they were on coin-operated timers - conveniently placed outside each shower. Anyway.
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The adventure begins…

114 km / 71 mi

So, this is the first entry about my three peaks trip; this blog’s raison d’etre. I’m writing it somewhat retrospectively, but if you can imagine me writing it at the end of each day’s travel, from now on I’ll pretend I’m writing it at the time; it makes it feel more real…

This morning I woke up early, excited that the day was finally here. I’ve been planning the trip for a while now; it’s the longest bike trip I’ve yet undertaken and by far the most ambitious. Ten days is the target, to cycle across the hilliest parts of Britain and climb the highest mountains in Wales, England and Scotland: Snowdon (1085m), Scafell Pike (978m) and Ben Nevis (1344m). My companions will be Polly and Simon, although due to work commitments Simon can only join us after we climb Snowdon.
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