A dire weather forecast & many of the club's usual suspects off on other cycling business, I'd not expected a great turn out at Williamson Park up in Lancaster. Stephen was on Dad duty (with a hangover teehee). I set off early up the M6 and arrived to see Ian sitting gnome like beside his bicycle. Luckily it wasn't chucking it down up here (at home it had been thrashing with rain), but there was a drizzle in the air as we climbed to the Ashton Memorial and ventured upwards on lanes into Littendale. 
Not a car in sight as we wheeled through the picturesque valley, enjoying the twisty, turny steep road as it descended to Artle Beck & then climbed up the other side.  A right turn took us on a tarmac track onto the southern flank of Caton Moor where the view changed from chocolate box pretty to wild, dramatic and grey.
We turned onto the North Lancs Bridleway which climbs up to the windfarm and as you crest the hill, the view of the Lune Valley towards the Yorkshire Dales to the NE, and Morcambe Bay & The Lakes to the NW opens up.  The fierce wind cooled us down after the morning climb, luckily the descent would become more sheltered as we neared the clay pits that feed the brickworks in the valley bottom. The lumpy track twists and turns alongside Black Wood then straightens out for a fast ride down to join the main road. From here we turned into the headwind, through Caton Green and into Brookhouse for lunch at The Black Bull as the sun came out. 

After lunch we joined the Lune Valley cycleway, somewhat sheltered from the wind we made headway fast and before I knew it we were at Halton and time for more interesting track. The last stoney track took us upwards and over the M6, round the back of the Prison & the old Moor Hospital and we were back at Williamson Park promptly.
A lovely 18 mile loop, tackled fairly speedily with the help of the morning tailwinds assisting us up the hills and the very small size of the group/duo. Great to explore this corner of the county that I don't know so well.