This month has seen some of the highest temperatures of the summer (so far) and plenty of unbroken sunshine. It's been a mega busy time at work with my book launch and some exciting new projects in the agency which have dominated the last few months to be totally honest.
So at last there was a gap in between work and family time to head off on my bike. But it was going to have to be an early start to get out before the heat (and the crowds).
It was a beautiful morning as I set off from the West shore of Windermere near Graythwaite. The mist was breaking up over the Lake and it was going to be another scorcher of a day.
The route would take me up to Wray Castle and across to Hawkshead before heading into Grizedale Forest, then round the back of Tarn Hows towards Hodge Close Quarry and Tilberthwaite before heading across the top to Little Langdale. A welcome water refill and a quick catch up with James and Tony at The Three Shires Inn provided a much appreciated break point, but by now, I'd already got my sights on a particular spot on River Brathay for a refreshing dip.
From here it was an easy and relatively level ride to Ambleside where a Cornish Pasty was eagerly waiting at the Apple Pie, before heading back to Wray Castle on the fantastic (and family friendly) national cycle network route 6. This is relatively flat, almost entirely off road and drops back down to the lake shore for an easy ride up to the Windermere Ferry, or in my case, the car.
It was an epic ride - not too high, but plenty of climbing and a combination of forest fireroads and rocky trails in the main. You can follow me on Strava to see the full route.
It wasn't all the peaceful idyll shown above
It's the height of summer and the schools are winding down after a year that many will be keen to forget. Tomorrow is 'freedom day' and it probably goes without saying that an area like the Lake District is bracing for a summer packed with visitors that an are essential element of the local economy (that we also benefit from, both as a business and a family).
It's days like this you really see the best, and worst of the Lake District which is heartbreaking to say. I honestly can't believe the mentality of people though who think it's acceptable to leave their rubbish and left overs from human consumption among such a beautiful environment with no thought for local communities or wildlife. It's incredibly selfish and spoils everything the Lakes has to offer for everyone, but it was plainly in sight this weekend.