RSF - The Off Road Cycling Club

The Adventure Starts Here

The weather forecast for our May camp at Sandside was promising and proved to becorrect, we enjoyed four days of glorious weather. We erected our tent on Friday afternoon and were soon joined by other keen campers. Clare, the site’s owner proved to be very flexible with her prices, we enjoyed bargain rates.

Early on Saturday morning I ventured out alone to check the path to Hest Bank; it no longer exists, but on exploring the hard sandy beach I found it quite easy to pedal along, so with a few stones to negotiate we had our route sorted for the afternoon ride.

Just before 10-00am, Simeon, of South Lakes renown, arrived and was soon co-opted into leading the morning run along the canal towpath to Carnforth Railway Station. This well surfaced route soon had us enjoying our first café stop of the weekend in the station’s refreshment room.

Our return route took us around Hunting Hill beside the River Keer and the coast, to Crag Bank where we re-joined the canal as far as Crawstone Wood. Simeon departed for home at this point; thanks for your help Simeon. We now left the canal and rode to Wild Duck Hall to ride along the flood defences back to the campsite.

It was soon time to set off on our afternoon ride along to Hest Bank; more campers had now arrived along with day visitors too. Our now large party free-wheeled down to the coast and onto the beach, the tide was well out, but the sand was still wet in places. Younger riders enjoyed splashing through some of the larger puddles and making huge diversions around a few horse riders.

The Shore Café did good business when we arrived, especially in the ice cream and pop department. At this point I did a quick recce of the shore in the Morecambe direction so as to be prepared for Sunday’s run. Our return route was simply back along the beach; some of us waited at Red Bank Farm to observe the incoming tide, but alas the café was closed.

Back at the camp we decided it was to be a fish and chip supper night, so a willing volunteer departed to the local chippy; that saved some washing up.

Sunday morning, as yesterday, saw me catering for the six incumbents of Miriam’s tent; if you can call making tea and toast catering, it is more trying than cycling though and some wanted toast with jam. Oh, the pain!

Today’s run was to be a full day and be about thirty miles, with an option for a shorter run of eighteen miles which would later re-join the main group on Morecambe Promenade. The first leg was along the canal cycle route to the Lune Aqueduct and then down the Lune Valley Cycleway to Sainsbury’s in Lancaster for a cuppa. It was nice to meet Pat Lloyd, Simeon’s mother, a doyen of the RSF, in the café there.

Leaving Lancaster we rode on the north side of the Lune to the cycle race track where Laura, Theo and Archie left us for the shorter route and a visit to Happy Mount Park. The remainder of us made for Overton and took the tidal road to Sunderland Point, stopping for a picnic quite close to Sambo’s Grave on the Heysham side of the peninsula.

Our next port of call was to be Heysham; our route took us along the foreshore to Pott’s Corner and past what was the Middleton Towers Holiday Camp, through Higher Heysham and down into the village itself. Yes, this was another refreshment stop!

We now had to make our rendezvous with the shorter route riders, so we simply joined Morecambe Promenade and followed it past the town centre and the Midland Hotel to Happy Mount Park. The timing could not have been better; now back as a full complement we continued along the prom to the VVV Gym beside Hatlex Beck at the end of Marine Drive and took the Lancashire Coastal Way to Hest Bank and thus back to the campsite. Geoff did a magnificent job of riding as sweeper today, many thanks.

It was decided that this evening we would have a barbecue, so Miriam and Judith set off on a shopping trip; the rest of us just chilled out.

Quite a number of our thirty or so campers were to leave tonight, or Monday morning, it was something to do with Tuesday being a working day; I didn’t really understand the term “working day”.

By the time we were ready for the ride on Monday the site was looking quite deserted. The run today was to up to Leighton Moss for a light lunch where we would decide on the afternoon’s route. We had to pass through Carnforth on the way; just in time for elevenses at the station, before following the traffic-free route to Warton. Joining the coast road below Warton Crag we progressed through Crag Foot to Silverdale Station to arrive at the Leighton Moss Nature Reserve run by the RSPB.

Being another warm day we decided not to venture very far at all. We took the easy route into Silverdale Village, passing through Elmslack and down to Silverdale Cove.  Here we took to the quite firm beach bridleway towards Know Hill, past Gibraltar Farm and down to Jenny Brown’s Point. We now joined the Lancashire Coastal Way, which we followed along the foreshore and the salt marsh to Crag Foot. I have been this way many times in the past, but have never seen it so dry.

Our route from Crag Foot took us back into Carnforth via Warton, and yes, there refreshment room at the station did beckon. Only three miles to go now and to make it simple we followed our Saturday morning route back to the campsite.

Tonight was to be the pub meal; there were only nine of left, so finding a pub was quite easy for this number. Seven of us drove the one and a half miles there, John and Irene went by cycle. The pub, although recommended by the campsite proprietor, was not the best; I think there was staff shortage; John doubled as maîtred & hôtel, and because some of our choices from the menu were not available he had to repeat the exercise. The meal was reasonable, so no complaints, but no tip either.

After another good night’s sleep it was time to break camp, this was made much easier due to the weather and its reasonably light breeze; everything was packed away quite dry.

Please view the photographs here on our Flickr account.

We had enjoyed good companionship, weather and plentiful refreshment stops,thank you all for making this a successful Fellowship weekend. Brian.