Bay Cycle Way - NCN 700

JohnE

Active Member
Location
Stockport, UK
I recently cycled The Bay Cycle Way which follows NCN 700 from Walney Island (near Barrow in Furness) to Glasson Dock (near Lancaster), a total of 81 miles around Morecambe Bay.

I retired a few years ago and did my first ever tour not long ago. I'd had this one in mind for a while. So with a fine weather forecast, I decided, on the spur of the moment, to go for it. Many of you would do this in a day, but with the travelling, I decided to do it over two days. I booked accommodation at approximately half way, prepared my gear and was ready for an early start next day. I'd decided to drive up to Lancaster, leave the car, catch the train to Barrow, cycle the Bay Way, and then cycle back to Lancaster for the drive home.

Day 1
It didn't go to plan ! The M6 was closed – a police incident apparently. Managed to get onto the A6 and eventually got to Lancaster much later than expected. I just missed the train I was hoping to get and had to wait over an hour for the next one. Still, the sun was shining ! The train arrived and two other cyclists appeared from nowhere and were in the cycle carriage before me. B*gger ! they only take two bikes. Went on anyway, and we managed to arrange the three bikes so that it didn't affect the passage way through the compartment (much !). Phew !

I cycled the few miles over to the official start point on Walney Island. I was using the Bike Tracker app on my phone for voice guidance on the route and had already downloaded the route files. Loaded up the route, and my phone locked up. What's going on ? Switch it off and on, load up the route, and my phone locked up again. B*gger … again ! Downloaded the route file from the cloud and it's all working fine. Phew … again !
Finally, I'm off. The route was really interesting. The start had very stark coastal scenery, followed by Barrow and its industrial heritage, then coastal scenery without being near the sea (if that makes sense), then inland through rolling hills and farmland (ahh, the smell of new mown hay, and ohh, other rural smells),
a bit of woodland, rivers and estuaries,
and through some lovely little villages (Cartmel being my favourite). I had said I would be arriving at my overnight stop about 5pm, and arrived at the nearby Derby Arms with time to spare, so quenched my thirst there. The food menu looked OK, so I decided I would pop back later for my evening meal.

I stayed at Witherslack Cycle Barn,
which is run by fellow cyclists, and is very convenient, as it's less than a mile off the route. It was spot on. It has safe bike storage, modern clean rooms, a comfortable lounge and a well equipped kitchen if you want to cater for yourself (there is a community shop nearby, next to the Derby Arms). Strava said I had done 48 miles and 2830' climbing.

Day 2
After a hearty breakfast, I was off again. Not quite as interesting as the first day, but once again a bit of everything - a mixture of rural farmland,
coastal scenery,
canal towpath, converted railway line, and riverside, all through some nice villages.

I arrived at Glasson Dock for lunch.

This is the official end of the Bay Cycle Way

A short ride back into Lancaster and off back home. Strava said I'd done 42 miles and 1390' climbing. Once again, my luck was out. On the drive home, the motorway was closed again – another police incident. It didn't matter – I'd had a good couple of days.

Summary
It had been a good ride which I'd thoroughly enjoyed. I had ideal weather – clear blue skies, but quite cool – the scenery looked grand. The ride has a bit of everything. Overall, the route was very quiet and I encountered very little traffic. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for a short tour (perfect for a weekend). I can also thoroughly recommend my overnight accommodation at Witherslack Cycle Barn – I intend to return there later this year with my wife, who is a walker, not a cyclist, and explore the nearby area some more.
 

rugby bloke

Veteran
Location
Northamptonshire
Looks like a great trip, excellent photos. I like the idea of breaking it down to 2 civilized days of cycling.
 

MontyVeda

a short-tempered ill-controlled small-minded troll
Nice write up. I've done it from Ulverston to Lancaster. Did you enjoy the 'memorable climb' after Haverthwaite before going down into Cartmel? Almost killed me that did!

It'd be nice if they one day extended to route all the way to Knott End near Fleetwood, thus taking in the entire bay and not just 4/5ths of it.
 

geocycle

Veteran
That hill comes from nowhere! On the grand scheme of things not a monster but hard to anticipate. They are extending the route to Knott End, Fleetwood, not sure when. However there aren’t many roads following the coast so easy to make it up.
 

ColinJ

It's a puzzle ...
Nice write up. I've done it from Ulverston to Lancaster. Did you enjoy the 'memorable climb' after Haverthwaite before going down into Cartmel? Almost killed me that did!

It'd be nice if they one day extended to route all the way to Knott End near Fleetwood, thus taking in the entire bay and not just 4/5ths of it.
Ah, that was the steepest climb on the route wasn't it! I did the Bay Way with a non-cyclist friend a couple of years ago. We added a nice extension up the side of Coniston Water and over to Hawkshead, before coming down the side of Windermere and rejoining the official route just before that climb. My friend managed to get halfway up on her low-geared, slicks-shod mountain bike before finally having to get off and walk. I was quite impressed with her effort - I thought she would jump off as soon as she looked up at it!
 

ColinJ

It's a puzzle ...
By coincidence, the friend in question just rang me. I mentioned the hill and she reminded me that she did NOT walk up any of it ... She stopped for a rest and then carried on! :whistle:
 

MontyVeda

a short-tempered ill-controlled small-minded troll
That hill comes from nowhere! On the grand scheme of things not a monster but hard to anticipate. They are extending the route to Knott End, Fleetwood, not sure when. However there aren’t many roads following the coast so easy to make it up.
I often cycle from Lancaster to Knott End, but much of my route is on footpaths (not shared) that hug the coastline... I love it because it's totally flat with a nice sea breeze for the entire 16 miles, the biggest 'hill' being a canal bridge. It's perfect for days like today when it's hot and still and the last thing i want is a slow uphill struggle, and the prevailing wind blows me back to Lancaster :okay:
 

Globalti

Legendary Member
I often cycle from Lancaster to Knott End, but much of my route is on footpaths (not shared) that hug the coastline... I love it because it's totally flat with a nice sea breeze for the entire 16 miles, the biggest 'hill' being a canal bridge. It's perfect for days like today when it's hot and still and the last thing i want is a slow uphill struggle, and the prevailing wind blows me back to Lancaster :okay:
Oh this interests me as I once tried to do the same and failed. I've followed the route on Google Earth and can see most of it but how do you cross Cocker Channel just west of Cockerham? I guess you have to divert down to the A588 to cross the channel? Do you then head back out and follow the sea wall or stick to the road and regain the sea wall near Pilling? Have you then taken the foot ferry and continued down the coast to Clevelys? There's a nice cafe if you then head straight SE to Wyre Country Park and a fascinating marina at Skippool.
 

MontyVeda

a short-tempered ill-controlled small-minded troll
Here's a couple of maps... (Yellow = road. Green = footpath (not shared). Brown = bridleway)

glasson to the cocker channel.jpg


The official Bay Cycle Way is the solid green line at the top. Follow the roads to Cockerham Sands and the caravan site. My green dashed line is a grassy footpath. On road again to the Black Knights Parachute centre, the the brown dashed line is a bridleway (which is dry if its been sunny for a good few days, can be very muddy otherwise). Join the A588 and head west.

pilling amenity area to knott end.jpg


Leave the A588 at Pilling Amenity Area and ride past it until you see the Golden Ball pub, then turn right and follow the road to the sea. The sea wall dyke type thing has a concrete footpath leading all the way to the esplanade at Knott End.

I imagine the footpath along the dyke is quite popular on weekends, so i've always done this route midweek and in termtime, when it's relatively quiet and the few pedestrians i do meet don't seem too bothered by me cycling on their footpath.

[edit] here's a gradient graph...

Glasson Dock _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Knott End

:rolleyes:
 
Last edited:

Globalti

Legendary Member
Love the gradient graph but you missed the / where you have to climb 6' onto the top path!

Yes we've often done the sea wall from Pilling over to Knott End and the ferry. Most dog walkers don't seem to care.
 
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