Made it to Penrith – just!

Preston My skylightBIg day for me today after having friends riding with me for the past two days and not having the weight of my panniers on the bike. I was concerned how I would cope with the hills again and the aforementioned pannier bags.

After 500+ miles it was inevitable I would struggle at some point and today I did, the legs feeling heavy the minute I hit steep slopes. The 8 mile Shap Climb was a long slow crawl – but I made it.

Highlights were getting to the top and earlier the view across Morcambe Bay towards the Lake District.

Earlier I was very impressed with Preston, a fine looking place with a mighty river and lots of character. Navigation away from it went without a hitch. The only added miles were intentional when two ladies cycling on my route mentioned a high level pass of Kendal which I took and discovered the Station Inn – super food!

By the time I was approaching Penrith it was raining heavily and getting dark fast, so fortunate that it didn’t begin before or on top of Shap.

I’m feeling human again after 2 mugs of coffee and a piping hot shower – however the rain is beating down on the skylight in my room and the wind is howling and I havent eaten yet, leaving my room is not appealing but must be done . Tomorrow’s forecast is poor with rain most of the day. Luckily it’s 60 miles to Moffat and Dinner with a friend in the evening. One day at a time.

I need to revisit my route as given the weather and available daylight 60-70 miles is the maximum I can realistically hit assuming no mechanical issues/ health issues. I have doubts on a daily basis but manage to still achieve my goals – today I almost dozed off on the A6, but didn’t and the miles just disappeared. I don’t want to have people thinking me bonkers, but I prayed about today and felt I was being supported. Faith works when the body is weak, well that’s what I believe.

I still hope to make John O Groats next Wednesday or Thursday next week and like a mountaineer on a summit bid, plan to travel very light leaving some kit at a base for the final push.





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An eternal optimist who was once described as someone who is 'small bubbly and makes things happen'. You can be the judge of that. Likes include cycling, fell walking, photography, poetry, music and campaigning. I'm a freelance Trainer and Director of BigBuzz Solutions Limited.

4 thoughts on “Made it to Penrith – just!”

  1. Neil you really are my hero. Whilst I’ve been snuggling my poorly boy I’ve been thinking of you outside in this appauling weather. You must be halfway or nearly there now… day at a time and just remember what you’re doing this for and what a beautiful country you are experiencing first hand. You are an absolute star xxxxx

    1. And Caroline you are a ‘star’ supporter! I’ve been encouraged by the motivational whirr of you football rattle on many an uphill peddle since you first mentioned it. Thanks for your kind words

  2. Hi Neil, we’ve not met (yet) but Margaret is a very good friend and I feel we know each other a little, especially over the past couple of years. Wow, I read your blog with increasing shivers, not just from the images of some of the challenging weather you’ve had but your passion and upbeat attitude. What an amazing journey in so many ways. You are an inspiration! With our love and heartfelt admiration, Chris + Bob

    1. Hi Chris, it’s a feeling I share, Margaret thinks a lot of you and I admire your courage and positive attitude which will see you win your current battle I’m sure.
      We could certainly compare notes on some things too!
      Maggie said something about the four of us going out for dinner soon and We must get that in the diary as I want to meet you both. Promise not to bore you about bikes, hills and Tarmac variations!

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