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YELLOW JERSEY LOOP I CYCLE TOURS


outside the village. There were only two other customers at the time, both doing the C2C. In the kitchen preserves were being prepared and a succulent array of cakes caused a good deal of consternation and procrastination. The garden extends round the house, there are books to read and shelter even when the café is closed. The proprietor seemed surprised when I mentioned that her café was steadily gaining legendary status amongst cyclists. Mind you, she did not seem to be disappointed. She did express surprise when I said that I was not heading from coast to coast, but that Ullswater was my next objective. Greystoke is massed around the village green. Post offi ce, pub, castle gates, shading trees are all there, though the church, tucked away down a side road, would have made the scene perfect had it been closer.


A TOUCH OF THE LAKES After Greystoke a few hills began to kick in. These were not the steep climbs of some minor Lake District lanes, but rather those that gain height comfortably and then suddenly surprise you by popping out onto a high ridge with distant views. Lots of gain, almost no pain.


Though the climbs and descents became


steeper, there was nothing to fear, and, as is usual in hillier country, the views chopped and changed with joyous rapidity. The descent to the A592 that runs alongside Ullswater felt unwarrantedly long. I tried not to feel unworthy. The A592 was not busy, though in high season it could be very different, I imagine. Particular care should be taken when turning onto the B5320 to Pooley Bridge.


Pooley Bridge stands at the eastern end


of Ullswater. For many – a much younger me included – it is the introduction to the Lake District. As such it has a disproportionately large number of pubs, Bed and Breakfasts and shops compared to places of similar size elsewhere. For those seeking to slake their aesthetic needs rather than their thirst, the stony River Eamont will attract – though the beer garden running down to its banks from The Crown would facilitate communing with nature whilst enjoying a pint. For me the best of Pooley Bridge will always be the views down the lake to the fells that gather round its head – though a last minute dog-leg hides the far end of the Lake entirely. Ullr was a Norse sky-god. This day all his bright breadth was refl ected skyward by the deep water. Heading away from the fl eshpots of Pooley Bridge with a tinge of sadness for


February 2014 I Cycling World 39


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