I’m going to put it out there and say that if you haven’t visited the Lake District, you haven’t lived.

It is, in my opinion, the most beautiful area of the country.  Whenever I have some time off work with no plans to go abroad, I take a trip down the A69 from Newcastle for a few days of chill time.

After tackling two hours of motorway, winding roads and a crackling radio signal, you’re suddenly surrounded by rolling hills, picturesque villages and sparkling waters.

Windermere

The hidden cycle tracks of Windermere

The weather is always a gamble, but on my most recent trip I apparently brought some sun, which was very welcome considering I planned to cycle around Lake Windermere.

I'm quite new to cycling and still find the open road a little intimidating, however, on our last trip to Windermere, my husband and I hired bikes and the shop assistant told us of a 17 mile route that is predominantly on quiet roads and cycle tracks… which was perfect for me.

Unfortunately we only managed about seven miles last time, so we returned a year later to take on the same route, and this time we were determined to finish it.

After arriving in Windermere, dodging road-side sheep along the way, we parked up next to the main train station and visited Country Lanes Cycle Hire.  After putting our debit card down as a deposit, which always worries me as I imagine myself flying down hills hitting rocks on the way, we donned our helmets and got on our bikes.  I was informed by company director Guy that I was only the second person to ever ride my Trek bike, which I was initially excited about, until later that evening when I could barely sit down!

Trek Bike

I was only the second person to ride my Trek bike...

Guy provided us with a laminated map which included a step-by-step route description and we headed on our way.

We started through the Lakeland car park, past School Knott and towards the car ferry.  For a few quid we crossed over to the west shore of Lake Windermere, where we got back on our bikes and started along the cycle track with beautiful views of the shore.

It’s a pretty easy route but does include a few hills, which definitely aren’t my forte.  Desperate not to get off my bike and push it up the hills, I finally gave in when I was passed by a young boy who couldn’t have been older than six. Surely once you’re overtaken by a child it’s acceptable to give up?!

So, we finally made it to Wray Castle, where we should have carried on to Hawkshead, but instead we turned around to make our way back along the cycle track to the car ferry with a lunch stop on the way.

Wray Castle

Wray Castle

Even though we didn’t manage the whole route, we were still pretty impressed with our 13 miles, and tackling those extra four miles is just another reason to return to this fantastic place… as if we need one!


Here are my top 3 tips on cycling in the Lakes:

1.    Find a good route: the Lake District is definitely not short of beautiful scenery, but visit a cycle hire shop to get advice on the best routes for your fitness/needs.
2.    Take a drink and packed lunch: make a day of it and take in the great views while you eat.
3.    Don’t wear your best trainers: even if the sun is shining it can still be muddy, and that mud will splash all over your favourite bright pink sneaks! Unfortunately I learned this the hard way.

 

 

 

Safety first!

For more information on the Lake District visit Go Lakes
To find out more about our route and Country Lanes Cycle Hire

 

Kerry has been part of the team at The Great Run Company since 2011. Follow her @kerryhanson