The final challenge of the day sees us take on both Hardknott Pass and Wrynose Pass, two of the most revered climbs in the UK, but also one of the most spectacular corners. Several people shout words of encouragement from their cars as they grind past us in first gear, the road rearing up to a 30% incline in places. Over Hardknott, just, we freewheel down into the valley, forced to stop by the river that runs through the bottom to watch a flock of sheep cross. As we stand there, the early evening sun warming our backs and the Lake District resplendent with an autumnal glow, Nick and I are in agreement that there is nowhere in the world we’d rather be, even with soggy feet and aching legs.
Twelve hours after setting off there’s a sense of relief at making it back to the motorhome, and the prospect of a hot shower, a hearty meal and a cold beer, the very thoughts of which kept us going in the final few hours. Equally, there’s a sense of immense happiness at having experienced something so special, a day that will live long in the memory. The Lakes are home to some of the best cycling in the UK, both on and off road, and there are routes and rides suitable to everyone, no matter what your level of fitness or ability.
It’s not, as I have discovered, always about going that far when it comes to outdoor adventure, as we found out at the start of our trip when a 20km ride provided us with a magical view of Lake Thirlmere as day broke. What matters is simply getting outside in the first place, in making the effort to explore our amazing island and discovering what makes Great Britain so great, and enjoying the motorhome lifestyle.