Sunday 12 April 2009

Hardknott to be miffed

Yesterday was our busiest day of the year so far. We probably sold more beer than we sold in any one week in February. That's bank holidays for you. Today should have been busier. We made extra bread, put extra change in the till, rostered extra staff and lined up the beers on the handpulls.

I have a theory that on bank holidays, when the sun is out, Ambleside and Windermere becomes an impossible bucket of bubbling grockles. The more sensible ones bubble over the notorious Wrynose and Hardknott passes and find their way to us. Most of our daytime trade arrives from this direction. Bank Holidays are normally an order of magnitude busier and last right through Sunday.

By 1pm today things were looking quieter than we expected. We'd noticed a few cyclists heading passward during the morning but thought nothing of it; That is until our customers started to complain more than usual about how bad the pass is to drive. We normally get a few wimps bewail the intrepid 1 in 3 hairpins and, to them, horrendous looking drops by the road. The complete lack of Armco barriers something of a reality check too far for some. But today nearly every driver had something to say, adding that there were cyclists weaving all over the road.

So somebody, it seems, had organised a bike race - on Easter Sunday. Golly, slightly stupid I'd say. I was clearly loosing custom as it turned out to be taking an age for motorists to get over the passes. As we were quieter than expected I went up to the pass to take some pictures. The scenes here just happened over and over again.

At least the Fred Whitton happens on a quieter Sunday. A normal Sunday is a holiday changeover and a relaxing break from the madness of Saturday. We like the Fred Whitton because it seems well organised, todays event was not.

If anybody knows what the event was, just so I can write to the organisers and point out the errors of their ways, I'd be terribly obliged.


Curmudgeon said...

Careful lest you inspire the wrath of the militant cycling lobby, but it does seem thoughtless to say the least to organise a cycle race over the Hardknott on what is likely to be one of the busiest days of the year.

Sat In A Pub said...

That is just spiteful. Have you had any disgruntled cyclists in recently?

Unknown said...

I have got no problem with cyclists using Hardknott. In fact I admire anyone who can make it to the top without pushing. Organising a huge event on Easter Sunday was just dumb. Safety was also compromised.

I've probably had less disgruntled cyclists in the time we've been here than I had disgruntled motorists today.

To be fair to cyclists, many motorists are inconsiderate as well.

Marc Laithwaite said...

I apologise if the event caused disruption to your day, it was an error to organise it on Bank Holiday weekend. Last year we organised the event on April 13th and this year booked the same weekend without initially realising that easter was a week early last year. We will not make the same mistake next year although people who did both events noted that the traffic was no worse compared to last year.. I guess that Hardknott is going to be busy on any sunny weekend. Thankfully as you have already mentioned the majority of tourists congregate in Bowness and Ambleside and this doesn't affect the majority of our route out to the West. Once again.. please accept our apologies for any problems caused and we will ensure that it doesn't occur in future.

Unknown said...


Thank you for that.

I'm afraid I'd have to disagree about the amount of traffic compared to last year. But hey, if you agree it was a mistake to organise it on a bank holiday then it's academic arguing the point.

I would look forward to the event on any other Sunday.

All the best for future events.