31st July 2010 - We got up early to clean the bikes down after riding for hours in the rain on the previous day. Luckily Earby hostel stocks a bike toolkit, so we were able to do a decent amount of work to the bikes. It was a sunny morning, and we set off at a fast pace over towards the Lake District. The roads alongside the Yorkshire Dales were A/B roads and generally quite fast, but never felt dangerous. I had planned the route so that we could do a fast stint, then pull off onto country lanes for a break before re-joining for another fast stint. It worked very well, and allowed us to get some photos along the way. Notably this was where we started getting photos of Daryl going to the toilet by the side of the road, and formed part of our "Daryl peeing his way from the Peak District to John O'Groats" collection. Just a shame we didn't start it from day 1.
We reached Kendal by lunchtime which was just over half way. It was a good hub for stocking up on supplies, namely brake pads and drink powders at the local Evans. By now my front pads were nearly completely gone (although my rears lasted the whole trip). Inside Evans Daryl propped his bike (with bags) against a bike display stand holding three expensive mountain bikes. Upon picking his bike up, the heavy rear end dropped and he lost balance trying to save causing him and his bike to fall into the stand, nearly taking it out completely. Everyone in the shop froze in anticipation but fortunately it didn't happen. Classic moment though.
We pushed on again to the Lake District, the initial roads out of Kendal not being overly pleasant, just typical busy city B roads. As we entered the Lake District area this all changed though to smaller roads, lots of be bends, up and down hills, trees over hanging, and a fair bit of downhill. It wasn't the best road of the trip, but it ranked very highly. The rain set in as we approached Windermere and we were running a little late (having stopped for so long at Evans). We decided not to stop there, which was a shame, as Windermere was one of the nicest towns we passed through during the trip and while busy, it still had a lovely atmosphere.
Along the A591 from Windermere, it turned into a dual carriage way, with a large grassy island in the middle, which proved a bit of a problem for Daryl. Lagging behind a little we had always told him... if you can't see us and are in doubt just go straight! Daryl of course saw the left lanes of the dual carriage way as a slight turning (they did veer a bit), so went up the right lanes as they looked straighter (ie the wrong side of a 60mph dual carriage way in the fast lane). Lots of beeping commenced and he quickly corrected his mistake. Here's a photo of where the roads split, he was so much "in the zone" he missed all of the stay-left arrows!
The A591 around the lakes was quite busy, mainly because it was the only road north so we got bogged down by static traffic a bit closer to the towns. We stopped at Lake Windermere to get a few quick photos then continued on. We veered off the A591 near Thirlmere, going around the left hand side of the lake and found a brilliant country lane. It had good tarmac, was picturesque, and only one or two cars passed us. Al raced ahead at this point, and managed to take a wrong turn. Meanwhile Daryl and I found our way into Keswick and eventually found the hostel (it wasn't the easiest to find). I called Al, who eventually answered. He had broken a spoke and was idling into Keswick the long way round. This was really bad news as it was late on a Saturday, and we'd have to get his wheel rebuilt on a Sunday, which happened to be our longest day of the trip! More on that later. The hostel was excellent, one of my favourites. It's positioned right on the river that runs through Keswick, is completely modernised (we had our own room), and the food was great. We sat down to a few beers, and some a decent portion of well cooked food...I went for sausage and mash. We then got online and starting planning how we'd handle the next day.