The pedalling photographer

Pictures on the move


4 Comments

A STOPOVER IN DENT (CUMBRIA)

Despondently making our way back home from our aborted cycle tour of the Outer Hebrides, we decided to break the journey approximately halfway rather than driving until the early hours of the morning. Knowing the area from previous trips, we pulled off the M6 motorway at Junction 37 and made our way to the little village of Dent, snuggled in the narrow valley of Dentdale, on the western slopes of the Pennines and not far from the town of Sedburgh.

River Dee, Dentdale, nr Sedbergh

River Dee, Dentdale, nr Sedbergh

In the centre of the village there is a great campsite, High Laning Farm, run by a lady that we know as Margaret. The campsite consists of a fabulous flat field with great views of the surrounding fells, and is only a two-minute walk from the pubs!

View of the fells from High Laning Farm campsite

View of the fells from High Laning Farm campsite

We had been to Dent on several previous occasions, but most memorably when walking the Dales Way some 10–12 years ago, when we were still sprightly young things whose joints could handle long-distance walking! It is a picturesque little village, with quaint cobbled streets. Its most famous resident was Adam Sedgwick (1785–1873), who was one of the founders of modern geology. In the centre of the village, there is a fountain made from pink granite to commemorate this famous field geologist.

Dent village

Dent village

Dent  village

Dent village

Memorial to Adam Sedgwick, geologist

Memorial to Adam Sedgwick, geologist

In the 18th century, Dent was also famous for its knitters, both men and women, who often knitted while walking to their work in the fields. Their hand-knitted socks, gloves and woollen caps provided them with an important supplementary income. Because the village folk could knit so fast, and because of the curious way they rocked backwards and forwards as they knitted, they became known as the ‘terrible knitters of Dent’.

Lying between the Lake District and the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, but actually located in Cumbria, Dentdale is ideally situated for visiting both areas. However, as seems to be the case with a lot of villages these days, Dent has lost its Post Office and some of its traditional arts and crafts shops. In the past, there was also a bakehouse and a cheese factory, and the general stores had even generated electricity! However – importantly 🙂 – the village still has its own CAMRA award-winning brewery close by, and three pubs; surely an attraction for most visitors!

The Sun Inn, Dent

The Sun Inn, Dent

The George & Dragon / The Dent Brewery Tap

The George & Dragon / The Dent Brewery Tap

As well as being a perfect base for some truly stunning walks, it is also ideally situated for cyclists as the Yorkshire Dales Cycleway and the Pennine Cycleway both pass through Dent. There are many off-road routes, quiet country lanes and lots of hills (if you are so inclined – give me (Chris) a gently undulating or, even better, a flat road any time!) to explore.

Dent In Dentdale

Dent In Dentdale

So, next time you are in this area, stop and check out the village of Dent – it is a quaint little place full of character and makes a great base for some wonderful bike rides and hill walks.

Dentdale's heritage museum, right next to the campsite entrance

Dentdale’s heritage museum, right next to the campsite entrance

Dent village

Dent village

View from Dent village car park

View from Dent village car park

 

 

 

Advertisements


4 Comments

TO THE CYCLE TOURING FESTIVAL AND BEYOND (continued)

 AFTER THE FESTIVAL

We left the festival feeling excited and eager to get on with our tour of the Outer Hebrides. Everyone we had spoken to had told us that the islands were beautiful, wonderful, a magical place, that we would love them. No one said anything about bad weather – some had had a couple of days of rain, but nothing really awful. They were all so enthusiastic about it; we were really looking forward to it.

The drive up there was good – the sun was shining, the sky was blue, the traffic was good, the scenery was beautiful, there was even snow on top of the mountains. All was well with the world. We were on our way at last to visit these beautiful islands, something we’d longed to do for years and we were now going to cross it off our bucket list.

Loch Lomond with snowy Ben Lomond (and squished flies on the windscreen!)

Loch Lomond with snowy Ben Lomond (and squished flies on the windscreen!)

Whoa, hang on a minute! We were getting carried away with the euphoria of talking to like-minded people at the festival and forgetting our usual holiday luck – BAD WEATHER. The joke in our family is never to take a holiday at the same time as us. It has even been suggested that we visit dry, arid places in order to end their drought and bring them rain! Everyone finds it amusing, but after years and years of soggy, waterlogged holidays, the joke is wearing a bit thin for us!!!

We pitched up at the campsite just outside Oban and, ominously, the skies were beginning to darken. It started raining in the night, and it continued to rain and rain and rain – solidly for the next 24 hours or so. The next morning the ferry to Barra was cancelled due to the adverse weather (we’d signed up to receive text alerts on the sailings) and we spent the morning sitting it out in the tent. The ground outside was beginning to squelch and large puddles were forming around the tent. In the afternoon, we went into Oban and visited the CalMac ferry office. We had planned to buy a hopscotch ticket but, in view of the weather, we decided the best bet was to purchase the ferry tickets as we went along, just in case we had to bail out and backtrack.

Sitting out the rain

Sitting out the rain

Oban campsite - we're surrounded by tin tents!

Oban campsite – we’re surrounded by tin tents!

We spent the evening sat in the car, pouring over all the weather apps we could get our hands on. It wasn’t looking good. The forecast up to the weekend was for heavy rain every day, but even worse were the strong winds, with gusts over 46 mph predicted. Not exactly safe cycling weather!

What should we do? We discussed and deliberated. We had been planning this trip for several months and were really looking forward to it. Should we chance it, pack up camp, put the car in storage and go for the ferry, only to find it cancelled at the last minute? Should we be sensible – and safe – and pull the plug on the whole trip? Are the forecasts really reliable? Suppose we don’t go and then, a few days later, we see the weather has perked up? We would be absolutely kicking ourselves and cursing our caution. We decided to go to bed and sleep on it.

The following morning, the ferry was still on amber alert. We had to make a decision. In the end, our sensible heads won and we decided to bail out. We were both absolutely gutted, so disappointed, feeling utterly miserable. We reluctantly packed up the tent. Where to now? We could stay in Scotland, do static camps and go out for day rides. But the forecast for the week ahead was heavy rain and very strong winds. In the end, we knew that we would just be killing time. Why not save the money and put it towards the longer trip we plan to do later in the year to sunnier climes? Decision made, and home we headed 😦 😦