A Lake District Grand Tour by Mike Carden
Pedalling through Lakeland: The Challenge, The History, The Wildlife, The Scones
The North West Evening Mail: “For the armchair adventurer, cycling the Lakes with Mike is an enlightening experience”
Mike visits all the lakes of Lakeland, pokes into its most distant corners, and cycles over every mountain pass (well, he attempts to).
Along the way he tells the story of Lakeland. He sees where poets wrote and climbers climbed, he tells of ‘oond trailin’ and fell-racing, and he hunts for golden eagles and elusive ring ouzels.
With his twenty-year-old son alongside him on the ride (actually more often ahead of him, disappearing up a hill) and sharing his sense of humour, Mike’s story of The Challenge, The History, The Wildlife and The Scones is proving popular.
Reviews of A Lake District Grand Tour
Cumbria Life magazine: ‘Relaxed and chatty with a ready wit.’
Cycletourer website: ‘Charming and easily readable.’
Keswick Reminder: ‘A very well written book with a chatty humorous style.’
Conserving Lakeland magazine: ‘I thoroughly enjoyed the book.’
The Cumbria Magazine: ‘A sense of humour in abundance.’
The Lake District in Books: ‘I lost count of the wifely queries, “What are you laughing at?”.’
The Introduction to A Lake District Grand Tour by Mike Carden
I had my plan.
“Richard,” I said to my son, “how do you fancy cycling from Brockhole to Bowness as a sort of a Lake District tour?
Brockhole was the Lake District National Park’s Visitor Centre, while Bowness-on-Windermere was probably the busiest tourist spot in Lakeland. From one to the other was about three miles.
I was going to take a detour, of course. I just hadn’t mentioned that yet.
Our journey would be via every lake in the Lake District and over every mountain pass: Ullswater and the Kirkstone Pass; Derwentwater and Honister Pass; Wastwater and Hardknott Pass – and a good few more.
We would visit the towns of Lakeland – Ambleside, Windermere and Keswick, plus the ‘gateways’ to the Lake District – Kendal, Penrith and Cockermouth.
There would be Grasmere for poets; Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top and Arthur Ransome’s Wild Cat Island for the young in us; Langdale and Wasdale for climbers; Hardknott Roman Fort and Cartmel Priory for historians; pubs, tea shops and Cumberland Sausage for, well, me.
We would cycle to the farthest North, South, East and West points in the National Park, well beyond the tourist trail.
We would hunt for red deer and red squirrels, golden eagles and wild ponies, ospreys and ravens, and there was an excellent chance we’d miss every single one of them. (Nature has a bit of a way of eluding me – unless you count Cumberland Sausage and Coniston Bluebird Bitter as Nature. I can usually find them.)
It would be a cycling challenge, a chance to learn about Lakeland, and an excuse to visit one of the most beautiful places in the world.
“Brockhole to Bowness? Is that it? That’s about quarter of an hour on a bike.”
“Well, maybe a little more. I thought we’d go the long way round.”
“OK. When do you have nine days free?”
To read the full introduction to the book, click here.
The Route of A Lake District Grand Tour
Buying A Lake District Grand Tour
A Lake District Grand Tour by Mike Carden, ISBN 978-0-9556602-2-1, price £8.99. Also available in a Kindle edition.
BIKE RIDE BOOKS, RANNERDALE, PO Box 84, COCKERMOUTH, CUMBRIA, CA13 3AT
More books by Mike Carden
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Cumbrian Cycling links: Cumbria Cycling
Cycle map buying: Bike Ride Maps