Monday, 23 July 2012


Our time in Scotland was to be cut short due to the ever worsening weather. After arriving in Inverness on a lovely day and staying in a nice little camp site the weather again turned bad.  This was really becoming monotonous....
On checking out the projected forecast we found nothing but rain and winds for the next two weeks and further, so yet again an executive decision was made and we decided to head back to England, with the desire to one day return as it really is a fascinating place and one of our favourites!

So back on the train and across country to where we were expecting slightly better weather in Lancaster.
 Yet again we found some fascinating old buildings, and this one has been used for so many purposes since it was built, which is pretty typical.  Once a prison among other things and now i think they are trying to take it back to its original state.

 After exploring the city we headed off on the Lancaster canal path which started off fine but gradually got muddier and smaller until we were just riding along on the grass beside the canal and wondering if we would have to turn around and go all the way back but we did eventually find the way out.
Even though we had traveled back to England to escape the rain, it followed us and after riding for
the whole day in the rain we finally found a refuge beside yet another canal - (Liverpool to Leeds canal)
in the form of a B & B called 'the boathouse'  where they even encouraged us to take the bikes in out of the rain into our room.  It was heaven and they even washed and dried all our wet clothes - highly recommended for weary travelers!!
It was then full steam ahead to Yorkshire where we went back to Dave's birthplace and retraced some childhood memories.  We stayed with an old family friend and again had to dry out. My boots took 3 days as they were so saturated!!!  It was lovely to have dry boots again though!!
You may think we are exaggerating re all the rain but by some stroke of fate we managed to ride through the 2 wettest days ever recorded in both Lancashire and then the same in Yorkshire!!! And the flooding followed us down the country. (Sorry guys - think the weather Gods were cranky with us)
After leaving Yorkshire ( again in the rain!) we found a great little pub to shelter in for a little while-

As you know by now, we love to travel on traffic free roads where possible, and we found an old pit trail which was the path all the mine workers took to take them to work in the pits.
We must say here that we really appreciate all the work that goes in to maintaining all these trails as it makes it just so much safer for cyclists to travel.
We finally got a day or rather an afternoon without rain so we took the opportunity to get back under canvas (so to speak) and to dry some of our stuff out.  It was strange as we were the only people visable in the park so it was like we had it all to ourselves!!
But as with all good things, they are always balanced out with bad, and if you've also been following us on facebook you would have read Dave's tally on my Bugs and Bingles.  I have now learned to close my mouth on downhill runs as I think I have now swallowed about 8 bugs - much to Dave's amusement, and I have also had a few bingles and have the bruises to show for it!
And this was when they were getting better!!
We were making our way back down the middle of the country and eventually arrived in Northhampton to be greeted with - you guessed it - rain!  But some of the local inhabitants were very colourful!

We picked up another canal path out of Northampton, and it ended up being a really hard days ride as the pathway kept changing from good to muddy to good then bad,

 then 2 amazing long tunnells that I had to walk through as my balance was shot in the darkness!!  Dave was ok riding, but ended up keeping me company which I really appreciated in the dark (just a scaredy cat at heart I guess)
And again we found some wonderful Long Boats!  There must have been hundreds all along here, some in Marinas - more like huge parking lots out in the middle of nowhere, but many travelling along the canal.
These boats also have to pass through locks and they only just fit!
At the end of this canal we finally reached Milton Keynes where we decided to have a little celebration as we had reached our first big milestone on the trip - - - 1,000  Miles cycled  - and proof  :
It may not be much to most cyclists but for a couple of unfit, middle aged almost grandparents who are carrying way too much weight in luggage we feel pretty pleased with ourselves!

Travelling on and we finally reached the big smoke.  You haven't lived until you have cycled through London traffic!  We knew it was London when we saw this typical vehicle!
But we were very apprehensive about ever leaving our bikes unattended after seeing this!!!
And there were also some strange sights - I called this 'Robo Cop meets Teddy?"
We had hoped to cycle alongside the Thames, but unfortunately bikes are not allowed and we had to cycle 1 street back between the buildings and in the city traffic which really was not a great deal of fun so we decided to go back to Kent and leave the bikes so it was back to our favourite watering hole and a welcome from Will the landlord:

After the bikes were safely stored with my cousin, we headed back to London by Train to do the Terry Tourist thing.  Here's a typical London tourist I spotted...
The days spent in London were typically for us- raining as seen when I tried to get a shot of the London  Eye from the top of a Big Red Bus!
 We did manage to cover all the big ticket items though with Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Natural science Museum, Piccadilly Circus,  British Museum, Nelsons column, Mayfair, Parklane and all those other places made famous by Monopoly.  We also took a cruise down the Thames to Greenwich and saw the Greenwich Meantime clock and Naval museum among other things.  
As we were leaving we thought we would get a last shot of Trafalgar square to remind us of the wonderful weather we had experienced in the UK.

Please don't think we haven't enjoyed our travells so far, but if you check out the facts, the UK has just experienced its - wait for it - 
and we just happened to choose this time to cycle here, so call us unlucky as it has curtailed some of our travells, but we have managed to achieve pretty much all the main things planned for the UK and we have learned a lot about ourselves and how much more we can achieve under adverse circumstances - and we are still talking!!!!

So we headed down to Dover with its wonderful old castle.

And took a last look at the amazing White Cliffs....

 And it was with mixed feelings that we said goodbye to England..

And Hello to whatever the future holds!

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