We awoke this morning to the sound of driving rain against the windows of the Barrow RNLI station crew room. With heavy rain forecast for most of the day, we layered up and following some faffing from Nick, we braced ourselves and set off into the storm...
Within 15 minutes we were totally drenched. It's the kind of rain which pays no regard to the number or quality of your wet weather garments. Our fingers were wrinkly and they would stay this way for the next 7 hours.
Our first stop of the day was after 25km where we grabbed a bacon, sausage and egg bap from 2 very friendly ladies at a roadside cafe. The photo below really doesn't do the rain justice. It also doesn't show just how good the bap tasted.
Today was all about trying to keep moving. Not only because we had 145km to do but because when you're wet as soon as you stop you get cold pretty quickly. So after wolfing down our food we were back on the bikes. Having taken advice from the crew at Barrow, we altered our original route (adding a further 8km to the route) to circumnavigate a 400m high hill, which made today a bit longer but certainly easier.
The rain continued.
Until houses were flooding...
And roads were blocked off by rivers that had burst their banks.
No mudguards fitted this year so Nick had to keep well back to avoid my 'rooster tail' of spray.
We joined Cycle Route 72 which for much of today's leg which was a mixed bag of road conditions, from sandy seaside tracks to...
...surfaced roads passing gypsy rubbish tips.
Our first station of the day was St. Bees which was situated at the bottom of a beautiful valley, reminiscent if the north coast of Devon.
It's difficult to remember what happened today because the overriding memory was that it was really really wet. The scenery was sometimes beautiful and sometimes fairly horrific industrial wasteland. It was just one of those days that makes it difficult to 'enjoy the journey' because both of us just really wanted to get to Silloth and have a hot shower and cold beer.
I will remember the numerous puddles, if you can call them that, that often were deep enough to cover our wheel axels. Initially we tried avoiding them, then when we couldn't get any wetter we started to enjoy them.
The second station of the day was Workington, situated at the bottom of a industrial port, we felt like trespassers and having told the Coxwain of Silloth that we'd be there at 3pm, we had to do the last 30 km in an hour. So it was time to get aero (the wind had now turned to a northerly- a direct headwind) and hammer the last bit spurred on by thoughts of cups of tea and biscuits.
We arrived at Silloth just in time and were greeted to an amazing crew room with panoramic views of Solway Firth.
It's now time to find somewhere to eat and to be quite honest food is all that I can think about. But before I go, I thought we'd award the prize to the best stocked fridge to last night's station in Barrow...