L’Ancienne – Ulverston

by Adam on 25, July, 2015

The Swag


Ulverston is a town on the western side of the Lake District possibly most famous for having 30 public houses within it’s boundaries, this is a fact that despite intense probing of several locals we were unable to verify, all they would commit to was “a lot”.

L’Ancienne is now in it’s second year, a retro inspired cycle event two weeks after l’Eroica Britannia is bound to draw inevitable comparisons and beyond the theme to both events a little unfair. L’Eroica is the confident, flamboyant older sibling, L’Ancienne is the smaller quieter sister who sits a little in the background but once you get to know her has a charm and style all of her own.

Saturday was a pleasant afternoon with some some vintage stalls provided by Retro Rendezvous including a rather nice cycle stall vintage Bianchi cover-alls anybody? The media were present giving live coverage of the event, foolishly the producer from BBC Radio Cumbria saw fit to put a microphone in front of Mr Cycling Photographer and ask him a question, we’re fairly sure he would still be there now if it had not been for that mysterious technical fault.

Evening entertainment was taken care of courtesy of the cinema at the Laurel and Hardy museum showing “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (a petition has already been lodged for “Sunday in Hell” next year), if Audrey Hepburn is not your thing then a an evening of music was put on for your delectation in the town’s Jubilee hall. A late night curry, the food of champions and off to bed in readiness for tomorrows fun.

The start time on the Sunday was “between 8:45 and 9:15”, and fortunately the rain that been promised the previous day had appeared to exhaust itself overnight. Contrary to popular belief the Lake District is actually fairly hilly, although a little surprise was had when the expected 82 miles turned out to be 82 of some foreign measurement of distance. A quick calculation and the penny dropped, shorter distance than L’Eroica yet more climbing, this maybe a fairly stiff excursion.

Oh and that rain we thought we had avoided began to remind us where the water for the lakes comes from, but as if had been pre-arranged the first feed stop appeared out of the mist the “Swallows and Amazons” tea rooms on the banks of the legendary Lake Coniston. The quality of the cakes, scones, a little more cake and one last scone detained us just long enough for the rain to pass over.

Next stop Lake Windermere, probably the most famous lake in the district bit from our geographical point of view, in a different valley as we climbed out from Coniston we quickly decided it was the wrong valley, still Jelly Babies at Wrey Castle and a stamp in our route card before dropping down to Windermere turning the corner and eventually heading back home.

It must be said the organsers have a wonderful sense of humour 1.5km to go or in imperial “not far” was a sign for the final stamp in your road book for the illusive gold medal, this leg was titled “the sting” with good reason up a gravel path to the Hoad Monument a lighthouse to the same design as the Eddystone Lighthouse, except it is not a light house, or even got a light. It is at the top of a big hill though.

Summit crested a few snaps and away to the finish with a few essentials to prop us up after the ride, a tasty meat pie and beer (help yourselves to the barrel we’ve got to get through it all), a solid gold medal, an enamelled  L’Ancienne mug and a rather natty bag to keep it all in.

All in all, we rather enjoyed the weekend with our new friends, there is however a little more.

A few of the Basket Brigade elected to ride Le Loafeur who enjoyed themselves so much they even added twelve miles onto the route, the organisers did noticed their absence but naturally assumed they had stopped off in another pub. Chapeau ladies.

Finally thank you to everyone who helped make the weekend happen, Alan and Alison for putting the event on, Rachel for the fair and the cinema and the mechanics for their tireless micky taking and apparently offering a rather good support service too.

See you next year chaps.

A few images from the hills

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