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Land's End to John O'Groats Day 8 - Condor Green to Keswick 59 miles

What a difference 24 hours, a nice location, good food, wine, koppaberg, and a comfy double bed makes. Also, the weather was great, all of which led to a fantastic mood and a superb attitude to the morning's cycling. I am also very glad no one took me up on my bet from yesterday as we did not start with a wakey wakey climb, instead we started with a ride down the side of an estuary in the early morning sun.

I wish my new found good attitude was spread to my bike though. My bike decided to turn in its worst morning of the tour so far. Firstly, on one of the down and ups before morning brew, during a gear change, it decided to throw a hissy fit and badly screwed itself up, shunting the front mech down a good couple of inches rather than changing gear properly. This meant that the bike then didn't want to change from the small cog to the large cog on the front gears. It would take some 7-8 attempts to go back up. It also made many a disturbing grinding noise. Dave gave it a good seeing to at morning brew, and bullied everything back into just about the right place, and then, on the way to lunch, the chain came off. It was then threatened with more of a seeing to by Dave, and after lunch, it stopped sulking, and behaved nicely for the rest of the day.

And what a day it was! The scenery was on a par with that of the Monmouth to Clun scenery, whilst being completely different! We went alongside an estuary, skirted through Lancaster, went through a deer park, round a bit of Lake Windemere, up some enjoyable climbs (a phrase I never thought I'd use earlier in the week!) and down some lovely quiet roads along the side of Thirlmere Reservoir, and finally down a lovely fat hill into Keswick. I haven't looked at the difficulty rating for today, but frankly, I didn't care how difficult it was. Everything about today, with the exception of the bike's hissy fit, was a lot of fun. It's days like today that make me consider whether I would like to do this again at some point. I certainly want to come up here again with someone to see all the scenery again. A lot of the places we have been to on this tour would make lovely romantic getaways.

One of the highlights of today was a new cycle path/footpath that was created after the land slips and floods of Storm Desmond back in 2015. The main road into Keswick was blocked off by land slips, and kids from both sides of the blockage needed to get to schools on the other side. So, the land slipped hills were shored up and a path was built from one end of the blockage to the other so that the kids could be bussed to one side, and then walked to the other, and bussed on to school. The upshot being that after a big climb, we were able to get off the road and onto this path, and fly down an undulating section which was a lot of fun, provided you could negotiate the gates, and the occasional dead sheep.

The other highlight of the day came at second brew stop. Tina officially has the best brew stops, and today she raised the bar even further. She had stopped off in Grassmere on the way, and picked up a gingerbread cake slicey thing for each of us. This was, without a doubt, the best gingerbread cake slicey thing I've ever had. Now, before you think I'm some gingerbread cake slicey thing eating monster, I'm not sure I've actually ever had one before. However, if I had eaten them in the past, I feel quite sure that today's one would have easily surpassed the others, and if you are ever in the area, go to the shop and get one. This is yet another reason for me to come back up here at some point!

I am currently making no predictions about tomorrow, save that it might rain a little, but with only 6 more days cycling to go, and John O'Groats getting nearer and nearer, and with us hitting Scotland tomorrow, I'm getting more and more .... I don't know what the right word is. Excited sort of gets it right, but it feels a bit of overkill, but hopefully you get what I mean!



Still not in John O'Groats yet.

K.

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