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Day six is not really a day as I woke to an issue with my laptop.
Thankfully the modern world is just a few miles from my sister’s house and the good folk at the Mac store have me up and running by the close of business. It’s nice to have extra time with family though and allows me to pick up a chance coffee meeting with a writer friend who has been out of town.
So, we spend another evening before packing up and hitting the road early the following day which is sort of Day Seven if anyone is counting.
Rolling out through the fields where I picked rhubarb as a youngster, the low hanging rain clouds saturating the air with moisture are brewing trouble up along the low mountain ridgeline and seem to match my mood.
It’s always tough to say goodbye, but by the time we are turning south for England the sun is breaking through and burning off both the clouds and my heavy mood. The ride south is as good as anything yet with fabulous views to both sides for every mile of the ride.
Near Carlisle I decide we will go and look for Hadrian’s Wall. We had talked about it at the Edinburgh Castle, and how it has been built by the Roman’s 2,000 years ago, and it proved to be one of the best decisions of the trip.
Crossing the border to England in Cumbria, we hunted and pecked our way cross country through tight, twisting farm roads and lanes, often down to first gear riding through light gravel. Amazing stuff as the gentle miles unwound me and then the prize of this day, Hadrian’s wall.
How something like this could have been built, and still have any of it still remaining all these years later, is just bewildering to me and Patrick is wide eyed at the thought. We weave through hikers, bicyclists, and tour bus people. Then it’s back on the bike as we made our way to the Lake District following some long portions of the wall for some miles.
We stopped at an elegant country manor that is now home to a nice restaurant and shopping area, and enjoy a quick bite out in the garden. The pair of us must make a strange sight in our BMW adventure riding outfits amongst the rest of the tourists enjoying the day.
Patrick is taking some fantastic pictures and really working hard on his photography. He is also in charge of electronics, and is carrying the cell phone my brother in law provided us for the trip. Periodically texts and calls are coming in from my mates in Torbay and Patrick works the keys to keep them up to date on our travels. My cell phone is off, buried, and out of mind.
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It’s an interesting ride to the Lake District, and as the road opens up, so the skies close in with threatening rain clouds and cooler weather. Suddenly the GPS shoots us off on a small, tight backroad running basically south that leads us down into a steep sided valley in rich farm country.
Dry stone walls line the narrow road and we duck and weave along this slow moving road for some time. I’m not sure where we will pop out, but as we start a very technical climb to a summit with a name that escapes me the there’s a big hole in the clouds, and dropping down in the most incredibly picturesque town of Windermere we arrive to brilliant sunshine.
We also arrive to bumper to bumper traffic, wall to wall tourists, and some of the hottest temperatures of the trip. So, pulling over to check our route, we decide to keep the air flowing through our vents, enjoy the stunning scenery from the saddle and make our way to Northern Wales where we want to spend the night.
There’s no real penalty for the decision as we swing along twisting two-lane roads at speeds of 50-70mph, depending on traffic. After a short stint on the Motorway we pull into Wales on smaller roads and start meandering through the rural countryside. The sun is getting low, and the landscape is incredibly beautiful and by around 9 pm we have found ourselves an old farm house converted to a Bed and Breakfast Inn.
Run by a lively couple we check in, and ride back into the little town of Welshpool to look for some dinner. At 10 pm, and still enjoying the summer twilight, we make a corporate decision to hit the chippy. Cod and chips stashed on the bike, we ride back and enjoy a typically British meal out in the farmhouse gardens as the surrounding fields finally fade to black.