Dave and I love to go on “MISSIONS” on our bikes. Since I’ve pretty much spent the last year and half being either pregnant or looking after a new-born we’ve not been able to get out on them much. Our aim is to take the Robot cycle touring, but we (I) have to build up to this. As 1. I’m out of practice, 2. So is the Robot and 3. The Robot is a 9 month old BABY!
We’ve started out well and have been on a few local trips, our main one being our ride to Glasson Docks last week. This trip is our next phase. A night away on the bikes! We’d been watching the weather on the run up to the weekend. The days we’d planned to go looked a bit windy and rainy. Not good for a small person. We pushed it back by a day when the weather seemed nicer. Off we go! Our destination is Slaidburn Youth Hostel – Heart of the Forest of Bowland.
If we’d cycled from home it would be approx 35 miles. This is a bit much for our 10 miles limit son! We opted to catch the train to Clapham so we were closer. It’s not often I get a nice photo of me and the Robot together that isn’t me taking a selfie! Here we are on the train.
Straight off the train and there is a slight breeze and straight into a hill climb, a 5 mile hill climb. The wind was across us, so it was sort of pushing us up the hill. This is what Dave kept telling me as I was being buffeted sideways. The Robot was wrapped up really well and as soon as we hit the road fell asleep, for the entire hour it took me to get to the top of the hill. Here is Dave who kept waiting for me to catch up. I don’t know if you can see the road in the distance but we were heading over that hill!
This is where Dave is a true gent, he carried everything that was remotely heavy, all bar the Robot. I think I had my coat and my woven wrap in my pannier bags! He decided that my bike would still be the heaviest with all 20lbs of Robot. The weather wasn’t completely ideal and within a mile of Slaidburn it did start spitting a little. Thankfully not a down pour though as I didn’t factor in rain when I packed for the Robot! We arrived in Slaidburn at 4.45, after a 12 mile bike ride. The Youth Hostel didn’t open till 5 so we cozied up in front of the pub fire! Beer, bar snacks and Mummy milk were a definite!
Slaidburn YHA is a volunteer run Youth Hostel. It’s a really nice building and I failed to take pictures. The need to cook food and get the Robot to bed overtook the desire to take snaps! No phone reception up in the hills and confined to the bedroom, my best option was going to sleep at 9pm! We all slept well and fueled with porridge we set off the next morning to go home. The weather was beautiful, we were taking a different route home. We bumped into a couple of cyclists that were doing Lands End to John O Groats. They kindly took this picture of me, they were amazed we had a baby with us! He really wasn’t that happy at this point, he’d just woken up so isn’t his usual smiley self:
Our second day the hills were higher. My legs were suffering but it was good practice. This is what I kept telling myself anyway! The wind of the day before had gone and the sky was blue. The view was brilliant too.
On the way down to Bentham we came across Big Stone, so named because it is a big stone. I knew about it from my friend, I thought it would be rude not to go and see it closer, as I knew she would approve! It has steps carved into the sides so you can climb on top. There is also loads of graffiti on it carved over many years, I assume from teenager!
Here is Big Stone from a distance. This the first time the Robot has been on Daddy’s shoulders, I think he enjoyed it, lots of drumming on his head!
We arrived back in Bentham at lunch time and a two-hour wait for the train. We bought ourselves a packed lunch and had a mini picnic. A lovely chilled out affair and a further 14 miles cycled. A short train ride home and a quick unpack and it was over. The best thing about cycling with panniers is that the stuff you take all fits in the washing machine in one go!
It was such a brilliant mini trip, it went without a hitch. We all enjoyed it and we are now planning our next adventure. Car camping!