Hey insomniacs, here’s an idea. Camp out in a wood directly under a rookery in late April. From 5am onwards you will at least have a reason for not sleeping. I have to confess that I quite enjoyed listening to the rooks raucous cacophany as I drifted close to sleep. I found myself pondering what all the noises meant. Every nest had a bird sitting in it so I suppose they had eggs or chicks by now and maybe that explained all the shouting. I imagined the aawwwcchs to mean, it’s a boy! Or the arrrrchs to say, what a lovely girl. The particularly loud eeeeeches probably accompanied the laying of an extra large egg perhaps. Whatever they were bawling and shouting about they certainly formed a very effective alarm clock. The poor songbirds, blackbird, thrush and robin that I could clearly hear had to be satisfied with playing the part of the backing singers today but their time would come the next morning.
So that was early morning at Ravenglass and as we pedalled away the abundance of police activity suggested they still hadn’t found yesterday’s poor swimmer. It was a grim contrast to a gloriously sunny morning and we were soon exposing legs and arms all over the place to let the sun do it’s worst.
We ventured off road at Seascale and emerged from the beach cycle track to be confronted by armed police! Well not really confronted, they were guarding the entrance to Sellafield Nuclear Power Plant.
I sneaked a photo of it, half expecting to be seized upon for terrorist type activity but as far as I know I got away with it. Leaving the ugly place we made our way to St. Bees hoping for food but there was nothing except a very long and steep climb over the headland to Whitehaven. The local yobs threatened to steal our lunch as we sat on the harbour making sandwiches which was a bit intimidating. But that’s seagulls for you. We then met Jamie who kindly showed us the secret cycleroute that goes around the base of the cliffs, as opposed to the road which goes over them.
Thank you Jamie, we love you. No sooner had we left our cycling saviour but we bumped into Inga and Arno from Amsterdam (sorry if I have your names spelt wrong) who knew of us! They had met Paul who I have engaged with on the internet and who knew of our route for today. We’re famous! We were past the worst of the hills now but they had them all to come so we didn’t go into too much detail about the terrain ahead of them.
At Workington we stopped to brew up and met Maud who, at 93, was keen to share our story and reminisce about the days when she used to ride the Lakeland passes before they were Tarmaced. Lovely lady but I suspect she probably lived on her own and didn’t get much chance for conversation. We did get away eventually and found excellent cycle paths all the way to our next campsite just short of Silloth. I have a love hate relationship with cycle paths but these were truely a joy to ride on. Wide, smooth and mostly going in the right direction.
Today we made our way along the Solway Firth to Carlisle in flat grey light and the day eventually deteriorated so that as we made our way over the border to Scotland we were welcomed by rain rather than bagpipes and whiskey.
The first five days have been a bit of a shock to the system so we are reducing the mileage a bit to compensate but it feels like we have gone from nibbling to biting at the task we have set ourselves. As it happened the campsites in Gretna Green were either closed or didn’t take tents so we abandoned the country and we are back in England for one last night. We’ll attack the border again in the morning.