Keilder day 2


Up early as another nice day and I wanted to get a good start.

Karen loves cooking outside in the fine weather.  Bacon and eggs with coffee sitting outside the tent, paradise.

Then we cycle up to Keilder Castle, which is now an information centre with small museum and cafť. 

Itís at the top of a small hill so a test for Karen on her new bike and 21 gears. She sailed up so all settling in really well. 

Colin consults the maps and sign post

After consulting the information  and maps  we decided to cycle down to the viaduct then on down the lake side circular route going anti clockwise as that way there are facilities and cafťs and a ferry that can bring us back almost to the top of the reservoir if we find it too tiring. We go via the village shop to buy sandwiches and pop as a back-up. The prices are brilliant for a holiday place. 60p for 2lts pop £1.75 for a packed sandwich. 

The route is listed as a 25 mile circular and we have all day setting off at 10.30

Karen at the start ready for the off

Distances and route options.

Photo stops at viaduct and signs at the start of the ride.  What a lovely spot so scenic.


View down Keilder water from the viaduct

View across the viaduct

The lakeside route has a blue marker which stands for moderate difficulty and as it goes around the lake, we are expecting a relatively flat ride.

First little rise was up onto the viaduct but we didn't expect many more.  The ride starts well nice firm surface and flat through the trees heading towards the lake.  Then some rise and falls as we cycle on but not getting to the lakeside.  I am of the opinion that the track will get down to lakeside and become flat.  Although we did get close to the lake   at times a lot of the ride is in the trees and undulating to say the least.  

View down Keilder water at one of the many sculptures 

It looks a long way to the bottom

Very scenic with lovely spots and bridges with sweeping bends and lots of views of the Lake  

The weather is hot so the shade in the trees is welcome. We pass a car park but itís not the stopping place so we carry on towards Leaplish Waterside Park which is our first planned stopping place.

Into the route dropping towards the waterside

A sweeping bridge over an inlet, very pretty Karen enjoying this section of the ride

Leaplish is a lovely spot with refreshments facilities views over the lake and an osprey observation area. Strangely enough, even though itís a sunny day the osprey observation binoculars have no one using them. We think it must be expensive but when we go to check it out we find itís free.  So we have a long chat to the people running it and spend ages watching the ospreys and their young in the nest.  The binoculars are very powerful and we get a good view even though the nest is 2 miles away. 

The ospreys are over there in the trees.

Then after a nice break we settle back onto the bikes and set off for the next stop Tower Knowe at the bottom of Keilder Water.

What we did not expect was this section is hilly with some steep climbs. Only 5 mile to Tower Knowe but they are hard miles, a lot of this section is away from the shade of the trees so it is very hot, there is a short cut shown to cut off the peninsular, Colin explores this bit but it goes up and up in a steep climb so we decide to stay with the peninsular route which hugs the lake on the map so we hope will be fairly flat. While it is a flattish section the route has some muddy sections even after a long dry week so donít know what it would be like on wet week.

Nearing Tower Knowe the climbs keep coming and the sting in the tail is when you are close and you can see the car park the route goes right and round an inlet with yes a final climb, the sun is hot and many people are walking and pushing the bikes. Karen decides she will have to push a couple of the steep hills, but in true multiday men style we stay close to each other although Colin cycles the hills slowly as he needs the leg work.

We had decided this was going to be our lunch stop, nice cafť but not as much choice as the Leaplish stop and more expensive. We sit inside to have a break from the sun, lovely views over the lake and wild birds so tame they are walking along the balcony handrail picking up crumbs. Then we wander into the information centre where you buy the tickets for the ferry.

Karen is still undecided on whether to ride the second half or take the ferry, she asks the lady behind the counter what the rest of the route is like, "Flat at first but then more hilly than the side we have just done", so Karen asks how much for the ferry to the top of the lake, " Oh we donít do that stop any more, itís still shown on the maps but the ferry only goes over to the other side across from here to Belvedere then up to Leaplish" and we have just missed it so it will be over two hours till it returns. We decide the delay is not worth waiting so decide to cycle on. The assistant says " everyone expects it to be flat as itís called lakeside route but itís very hilly". Shame they donít say that on the guides instead of "Moderate".

So we saddle up and set off as we are half way we may as well do the circuit as it was what I wanted to do. Along the top of the dam into a car park all nice and flat, then out of the car park and the rises start straight away, up and down we pass people heading towards Tower Knowe some walkers, some cyclists who have become walkers due to the inclines.

View from the Dam back towards the top, it looks a long way to cycle.

Around a long inlet then another climb to Belvedere.  This side is more in the sun and it is still very hot but we continue up and down, Karen manages the hills very well but some of the steeper ones need to be walked. There are some sculptures along the trail but they are a little way off the track so we decide to view from the track rather than add more distance and hills to the ride.

The Silvas Capitas artworks, these are beside the route.

The mile marker posts are a great boost now as they are starting to say 8 mile then 6 mile to Keilder castle, I decide we will stop on a hill top for another break and a sandwich, Karen is so tired she lies on the seat and doesnít want more than one small half sandwich but has a long drink, good job we brought plenty fluids. Then we set off a nice long down section followed by a climb then a long gentle down section, we cover almost a mile without having to pedal, as we take another climb we hear two riders catching us up, we let them pass and they hit a steeper section of the climb and slow down, as usual burnt out by having to prove a point and catch us up and go past. Sorry Karen but I canít resist and power up the hill pushing them hard to just to annoy them. Then stop and wait at the top, Karen is peddling up slowly, I thought it would have been a push I am well impressed with her and her new bike. 2 mile then 1 mile and a fork in the track left to viaduct right to Keilder castle, we go right and the track drops down back to the signpost for the start. A short pedal along through the trees and we are back at the pub The Anglers arms at the end of the camp site. Made it! We call in while I park the bikes Karen buys the drinks and we sit by the river to drink and relax, we had pondered eating at the pub tonight but once again decision is made for us as there is a sign that they are fully booked for the night.

We have our rest then cycle the short distance to the tent via the wardenís hut where we consult the forecast for Sunday, Showers overnight and dry by 8 am then showers after midday, we wonder how accurate it will be.
Ride distance 28.22 Miles, and if you donít believe how hilly the route was the cycle computer has recorded ascent as 3195 feet.

 After a rest Karen and a shower, quickly knocks up a meal on the gas stove and we sit and watch the sun go down eating drinking and relaxing.

Just before bed I realise I had left the electric cool box plugged into the car all day and itís been working hard in the heat, the battery is flat on the car. I decide to leave it for tonight and see if it has recovered in the morning, I have RAC membership so not too worried.



Keilder Day 1 Keilder Day 2 Keilder Day 3



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