Day two

Trip Start Jun 17, 2013
Trip End Jun 22, 2013

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Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Today was our first cycling day so we were up early for breakfast and make our lunches. We made our own lunch each day with food provided. Today there was some ham left over from Monday dinner so made a sandwich and packed crisps, energy bars and fruit. We had to meet the NT warden Martin Clayton at his home (Milkinsteads Farm). This took some time as the directions were somewhat vague. We went in two vans, the Transit with the bikes and an ancient Renault belonging to the Trust which made terrible noises and rattled badly.

Martin used to be a professional road cyclist in the Chris Boardman era and had then got into mountain biking and has done the instructors course. We also had Barry another NT warden who was five feet nothing and had massive arms and legs. He worked on the upland path team and was ridiculously strong and fit.

After a bike check we set off from Milkinsteads towards Muncaster Head and along a bridleway along the southern side of Muncaster Fell to the tarn. It was a very hot day and we were climbing quite steeply through the forest. We stopped by the tarn for a rest and then headed down to Muncaster Mill where we joined the railway and followed it to the edge of Mitredale Forest where we stopped for lunch in a vaguely midge free area.

After lunch Catherine, Helen and Brian decided they had done enough so cycled back to Boot along the roads. Barry went back with them too. We had only done ten miles or so but it was hard work in the heat and some quite steep climbs.

Martin, David and Richard and I set off to complete the circuit which involved carrying our bikes up a ridiculously steep bridle path to the top of Brats Hill where there were some stone circles. After a bit of moor land we hit a bridleway which was stupidly steep down with massive rocks and virtually unrideable but Martin led the way with advice to look ahead not down which actually seemed to work. Nobody fell off but my hands were aching so much from being bounced over rocks and braking and trying not to fall off at the same time. Ride of about 16 miles

We arrived at the pub at Boot where we met the others for cold drinks. I was gagging having run out of water on Brat's Hill so had two pints of orange one after the other.

We cycled back to Milkinsteads together and washed the bikes and loaded the van. It was my turn to cook with Catherine so we did roast chicken and impressed everyone by making sage and onion stuffing. Catherine did a rhubarb crumble and I had to teach her how to make custard! Veggie option was roast veg including butternut squash and sweet potatoes ahh!

After washing up we went to the wood and lit a fire and got bitten to shreds and Brian made a dagger handle out of a piece of oak for his civil war re-enactment and Helen and Catherine tried to carve spoons form hazel!

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