With Dave’s recommended driving time just about spot on we all assembled at the café fairly close to 9 o’clock. With the prospect of a long day ahead Dave P was taking no chances with possible malnutrition and was already chomping his way through a full English when the rest settled down for the customary tea and teacakes. With Dave H threatening a 60+ mile route, four of us: Dave and Liz on the tandem, Trevor and Jim opted for a revised 45 mile version, to be followed at a much more leisurely pace.
From Whalley we went east over the A671 and up the lanes towards Padiham Heights. The views were magnificent if a little hazy due to the surprisingly warm weather and we were soon removing our top layers as we continued to climb up to the top of the ridge. Soon, however, we were descending quickly, and after a short stop at the famous Clarion Room, pressed on northwards to Newchurch and Barley. The easy riding soon ended with a long slog up towards Pendle Hill followed by a welcome thrash steeply down to Downham. Here we paused briefly to study the unique design of the local toilets before pressing on through Chatburn to our lunch stop at the Higher Buck at Waddington. The service was excellent and we sat soaking up the sun by a dribbling stream, before leaving less than an hour later.
Westwards to Hodder Bridge was very relaxing, tootling along enjoying the scenery, but we were soon faced with another long uphill round the north side of Pendle before dropping down to Chipping. We had just turned north towards the wild boar farm when the brisk group appeared. We set a very relaxed pace up the west side of the Hodder valley to give them a chance to get ahead (they had several more coffee stops to complete) and we were soon heading back south past the Whitewell Hotel and then eastwards to Bashall Eaves. We skipped a possible coffee stop here and instead opted to continue back to Whalley where we re-convened at our breakfast stop.
44 miles of good riding, some downhills and great scenery: much better than tiling the bathroom!