Blue Flower

Lakes, Dales, Liverpool

We took an early Ferry from Dublin to Holyhead. It was an uneventful ride across North Wales on the A55 allowing one pit stop before the M6. Luckily the temperature rose with a clear blue sky.  Off at Exit 36 on to A590 to Newby Bridge just south of the Lakes. The mercury had reached 24C by now. Happy days. 

We headed north towards Windermere, our base for the next two days. We checked in at our B&B, consulted with our host and decided that the Kirkstone Pass would be a good place to start our exploration of the Lake District. As we headed up the A592 we passed through Rydal and the gorgeous Grasmere. This would be the first stop on our little literary trail paying our respects to William Wordsworth, buried in the local cemetery. We returned across the Kirkstone as far as the Kirkstone pub and took the road known as the ‘struggle’, which was not really a struggle, as far as Ambleside, a lovely town. Alas we encountered the first big pothole, surrounded by a team of tarmackers, high vizzed to the hilt and the inevitable two mile tailback, on our way back to Windermere. This is when you delight in the jamb busting ability of two wheels versus four, as one can, let’s say; ease your way to the front.  Windermere is a nice town, but there's more life in Bowness, a town about five minutes further south. We would consider staying there next time.  We ate in a pub called “The Pig” Coincidentally it serves a plethora of dishes with pork in them –cooked of course.  An early night was in order as we would tackle the Passes the next day.                                                                                                          

Before the ascent Pat Map Reading

The Honister was the first on the list which meant taking A591. There was sunshine from the start .A good time to experiment with the Pro cam for the first time. A word of advice would be ,"Do not to forget that it records sound!"   A few ‘ fssss’ were discovered later on the recording at the top of the pass. Ger had to be convinced that buying a load of slate at the Slate mine at the top was not the greatest idea ever? Ryanair baggage rules had to be implemented. There were some fantastic views on the way.

Back to Keswick and then the big one. We travelled via Little Langdale en route to the biggies. The warning sign at the start does say 30% incline!   It didn’t mention the hairpins. Hairpins with 30%? The answer is yes.  Well the Wrynose was a warmer upper for the Hardknott Pass.  All went well –No passenger or cameras lost. More effing. All the effing in the world doesn’t get you up that hill. The joys of the intercom. (Cardo Scala ) The view from the top was amazing,  You must stop to appreciate it.  Next on to Broughton in Furness for a meat pie and tea to settle the nerves. Lots of little black lambs in the fields on route. Beautiful stone farmhouses and sheds.

Closer to sea level Pat on Road
Hardknott warning Ger 30


The next stop on the literary trail was Hilltop Farm, home of Beatrix Potter.We stopped off in Hawkshead on the way. We were late for the house tour and had to make do with a ramble in the small garden and the shop -  another one! With two extra rabbits, Peter and Flopsy, on board we headed for the ferry to take us across Lake Windermere back to Bownes. The rabbits travelled for free. We had a short pit stop here for more tea etc, before returning to base.

 English Pub


Next morning, with all bags and rabbits on board, we left the lakes and headed east towards Kendal and the Dales. The sun was an early riser.  We made our way along the A684 to Sedbergh and Hawes.Hawes is a lovely place for a stop at the lower end of the town. If you like your cheese, there’s no shortage of Wensleydale here. We lost the sun for a while but it was still pleasant enough.

The Aysgarth Falls, further on, merited another stop for the obligatory few snaps. We must be up to 200 by now.  Heading south now to Buckden, another pretty village.   Our final destination was Kettlewell where we would stay for the night. Kettlewell has three lovely old style pubs that serve food to a good standard. We discovered that it is a very popular stop for bikers out for a spin. Plenty of outside seating for the tea and smokes. Our host suggested we go and see Arncliff about fifteen minutes ride away, home of the original Emmerdale set in Amos’s day. Beautiful sunshine all the way there and a stop at the Woolpack , now called The Falcon.  More tea etc.

Day four took us south to Skipton with its beautiful medieval castle that is fully restored. Next was onto the A 59 and headed for Clitheroe which has a smaller castle but has no roof etc. We loitered outside a shop for a moment with the engine running, pondering our next move,when the owner suddenly ran out and declared, “I knew it was a Pan. She wasn’t referring to the daily slices, but the Honda Pan European. That sound brought back fond memories for her of the pan, owned by an old boyfriend. We hit the motorway and landed in Liverpool to stay at the Ibis Hotel. Still 23c.

Perfect location to explore the Albert Dock area where we saw a super blend of old and new. Onwards on foot to pay homage to the  Fab. 4. after a nice Wetherspoon curry. The Cavern quarter was a hive of activity with music exploding from all establishments. We had to deploy the trusted earplugs. The Cavern is a must do if you are in the area. It was hopping with great music- Beatles of course. Too much sun does quare things with the mind. It was still mid afternoon. Liverpool was a surprisingly great place to visit.

The Cavern Liverpool

Day five brought some rain for our journey towards Holyhead. We had time to spare for a quick visit to Chester and even in the rain it didn’t disappoint. On to Conwy for the obligatory seaside fish n chips. Holyhead port  was the last stop  to wait for a behind schedule ferry. We met a man returning from Newmarket with a mare who had just had a one night stand with Frankel. How romantic is that?

It was a most enjoyable trip with fantastic weather for the most part. The rabbits are doing well. Pan is resting for the next little adventure. 666 miles travelled