A fine June day sees our full pack of Jokers (Steve, David, James and I) convene at Euston station to embark upon the 21st leg of our cycling trip, to start at Carlisle – the first leg to begin in England since way back in 2007.
This year we were looking forward to something less hilly than we'd become used to in Scotland. This may sound odd since we were to be following the coastline of Cumbria, the famously mountainous county of the Lake District (and home to England's highest peak, Scafell Pike), but my trusty OS maps did indeed promise a distinctly flatter coastline going around, rather than over, the mountains.
The backdrop to our trip this time around was the forthcoming EU referendum – do we want to Leave or Remain? – and with hysterical hyperbole flying around on both sides, it was hard to make an informed decision that wasn't simply a protection of one's own vested interests. I had however brought my postal voting card with me in the hope that I could gather some sage thoughts from the collective, which would allow me to make a good, reasoned choice, and get the whole thing over with before we headed home a whole week before the actual polling day. More discussion on this later.
Political storm clouds aside, our weather fortunes were set to remain good only for the next day-and-a-half before turning unsettled for the rest of the trip, and so we all agreed that we'd try to get as far down the Cumbrian coast as we possibly could while the weather lasted, resigning ourselves to holing up in pubs for a large proportion of each day thereafter as required – not the end of the world in itself, but it could put a crimp on our plan to reach Lancaster by the end of our week.
For the time being, the sun was out, and the train rolled into Carlisle right on time...
Go to Day 1 (Carlisle to Bowness-on-Solway)