'Where's the Brew Stop? The off-road cycle touring website'. About off- road cycle touring routes, cyclist’s cafes, off-road cycle touring, local group events and good photos. For cyclists who love off-road leisure cycling in Northern England
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Cycling touring articles by Pat Lloyd and other folk
Ten Years of Easter Hostelling Tours by Pat Lloyd When the section re-started in the 1980s, rides were organised on alternate Sundays. On a wet non-club run Sunday I thought I might pass the time by planning an Easter Tour. It had already been mentioned, a tour somewhere in or around Wales might be a good idea. It wasn’t until I started planning, that I realised what a complicated job it was going to be. For a start, it had to begin at a Youth Hostel that could either be reached by train, or had adequate car parking facilities, and near enough to be reached after work on Thursday. Also, the hostels had to be so situated, to enable us to finish the tour where we started, in order to pick up transport. Lastly, remembering that Easter weather can be unreliable, the distances between hostels could not be great. After much consultations of the hostel handbook and maps, I came up with three tours starting at Shrewsbury, Ludlow and Hereford. At the runs meeting, Shrewsbury was decided upon as the starting point. We left the cars at Shrewsbury, went over the Long Mynd to Ludlow and then to the Malvern Hills and Knighton. We were lucky with the weather, even changing into shorts on Good Friday. Very lucky in fact, as the following week everywhere was deep in snow. 1982 proved to be a cold Easter. We started at Kirkby Stephen, then on to Grinton Lodge, via Tan Hill, and finishing at Stainforth. Upon leaving Stainforth, macho Duncan donned his new racing shorts, but half a mile down the road was back in longs. 1983 and into Wales, starting at Llangollen and over the Hirnant Pass to Bala Hostel and then to Llanbedr by the Roman Steps. The thought of Llanbedr Valley hostel with a sprinkling of snow, brings back memories of Steven Parkinson, up to his knees in icy water, fishing coins out of a wishing well above Ffestiniog. There was also great hilarity and noise at this hostel ( almost resulting in some of the older members being thrown out,) as we played Newmaket, using Pam Fletcher’s liquorice for stakes. 1983 was one of the best Easter Tours we have had, with 19 riders and lots of youngsters out. There was brilliant sunshine for the 1984 circuit of the outer Lakes, starting at Dufton, going on to Cokermouth and then to Eskdale, followed by a long ride home down the Duddon Valley, with the “bonk” held at bay by beans on toast at Milnthorpe. 1985- The Scottish Borders. Train assisted to Oxenholme and on to Carlisle for the first night. Ferniehurst Castle is now closed, but was a memorable place to stay as was Broadmeadows, mainly because of the colourfully painted dormitory. Snoot was great, althrough the drying facilities were inadequate for Fred’s group. He hasn’t changed much over the years. 1986 saw us back in Shropshire, starting at Shrewsbery again on to Clun, a great hostel. Glascwm will never be forgotten: half the party missing on the hills in blinding snow and finally arriving at the hostel at 8 o’clock, only to find that the loos were outside in the school yard and the walls of the hostel were running with water. I’m told it’s a great hostel in summer! It was a relief to go on to Ludlow. Back to Scotland in 1987. The scarcity of hostels had previously put us off Galloway, but by careful planning we managed to arrange a tour by staring  at Kendoon and staying two nights at Minigaff and returning to Kendoon. The weather was mixed: beautiful for the ride by Loch Boon and gales for Glen Trool, but lovely  In 1988 we were in the North Pennines, starting at Dufton. We kept to the formula of two groups, and the roughstuff riders were very glad to reach Ninebanks hostel after Crossing the Pennines over Cross Fell. However, the next day, on the way to Edmund Byers, it was the rough stuff  enthusiasts who found the cream teas at Blancheland. During the night, while at Edmund Byers, the boiler went out and were nearly suffocated by the fumes. Our last hostel, Balderdale,  was exceptionally good - a lovely situation and very comfortable. We like Shropshire, so we were back there again  in 1989. Again starting at Shrewsbury, then on to Wheathill hostel, which is also a working farm; the bikes shared the barn with the cows and the hens. Staunton-on-Wrye rated only slightly higher than Glascwm. We were glad to arrive at Clun, where the warden is a cyclist and on our wavelenght. We had previously avoided the Peak District thinking it would be to crowed, but in 1990 decided to try it. Starting at Buxton, we went via Ladybower Reservoir to Hathersage, then to Elton. Somehow the roughstuffers had the easiest day to Dimmingdale hostel, and then again along the Manifold Valley back to Buxton. The 1991 took us back to Wales, starting at Colwyn Bay on to Capel Curig  and Snowden Ranger, from there to Bangor and back to Colwyn. Writing this has brought back some happy memories; remembering people whp have moved away and lots of incidents I’d forgotten. As I flicked through my hostel card to make sure where we went I realised just how many places I had visited since joining the Lancaster CTC.