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Walking in Cumbria and Beyond

Wheels

Wheels

Walking up a hill is definitely my preferred form of exercise.

I’d rather be outside enjoying the weather,

stretching my limbs on a mountain than in a gym.

Swimming is great for dull days, (indoor pool).

I do try and imagine I’m back in Vietnam with the bath like waters of my once local pool in Saigon.

pool

Though I like swimming in the Lakes, I’ve even managed the Great North Swim once, their cold water can not quite match the summer water of Phong Nha. 

warmwater

Phong Nha – Central Vietnam

Swimming out of caves  fully clothed in December was a little more challenging.

swimming out

Trekking and Caving in the Tu Lan Cave System

And now, prompted by a day mountain biking in Vietnam,  I have bought a bike.

DSCF8039

I imagined it would be an easy form of exercise.  Something I could fit in when the day was too crammed with the usual daily detritus to spare more than an hour.

Bike

Being brought up in a South Lakes village my primary school friends were spread far and wide and if I wanted to see them out of school I went on my bike.  After I’d done my cycling proficiency of course.

So, back in the area, and safely south of the steep Cumbrian fells, I embarked on exploring the small lanes around on my shiny bike anew.   It has not been quite such an easy ride.  The hills, even here, are steep if not that high.  Living in the shadow of Farleton Knott I thought I’d cycle ‘round’ it.  That was a good lesson in at least looking at the map before I set out.  The lanes I went down, and up, were not ones I’d been along in my car and consequently I found myself cycling up the Knott, not around it.  Note to self:  look at contours on map before riding bike, not just walking up hills.

Farleton

Farleton Knott

Now I have this super geared ‘Hybrid Bike’.  I’d say compared to my heavy town bike, which I used to do my shopping on in flat Stratford upon Avon, it is rather like being in Business Class compared to Economy, when tackling hills are concerned.  When I was a kid I had a third, if not fourth hand bike with three rusty gears.  Probably the equivalent of the cargo hold, yet I cycled to and from my school friends houses quite happily.  My memory has blotted out any problems I had with the hills.  Or did I simply not have them?  Are kids just more generally fit and healthy than I am now?  I suspect that is the truth.

map

As much fun as anything is seeing how far I travel.  The K’s and miles are eaten up far faster than on foot and the black web of routes is expanding further from my house on each ride.  So it’s about time I bought a pump and puncture kit because I’m sure to need one soon, probably when I am a long walk from home.

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