Tour of Britain: stage four

Stage three delivered two things we’ve been expecting since Sunday: a Mark Cavendish stage victory and some cattle. Before we rush headlong into the stage results, let’s check out the cows.

Not Belties, but they look on the sturdy side of black cattle, so let’s say there’s some Galloway in there…

The cattle-spotter’s version of the LBJ.

Yesterday’s stage brought us sunshine, rain, a long-lasting breakaway and a return to bright conditions for the final sprint. The breakies were deemed unlucky to have relatively straight, wide roads leading into the finish; had the run in to Dumfries been more technical they might have had a chance to keep the chasing peloton at bay. Wiggins got the Sky train organised in the final 5km to deliver Cavendish a comfortable win by sprint standards – I’m sure the fans who showed up at the Strickland Arms would have been happy to buy drinks for anybody in the black-and-teal.

Cav might have taken the stage victory, but Orica-GreenEDGE’s Leigh Howard will line up in the gold leader’s jersey for stage four. Boy Van Poppel still leads the points classification, but Urtasun gives up the climber’s jersey to Rapha’s Kristian House. Peter Williams retains the lead in the sprinter’s competition.

Stage 4 is back in England, with a 156km course from Carlisle to Blackpool. The mountain points on offer tonight will come from three climbs: the Cat 2 Shap Fell at 51.8km, the Cat 2 Old Hutton at 79.9km and the Cat 3 Quernmore at 114km. Having a climb so late in the stage means we might get a chance to see it, and the scenery all through this stage should be spectacular.

There are some cows milk cheeses produced in this area, which suggests we might see some cows although there are no breeds specific to the area. Scottie’s local tips for cheese and beer are as follows:

Booth’s will almost certainly stock Keverigg, a beautifully textured creamy cheese with a slight crumble and a tangy aftertaste with a natural rind, made from organic milk from Winter Tarn Farm’s pedigree Holstein herd near Penrith. Winter Tarn also produce their own Rose Veal and as you probably know, all British veal is cruelty free. The abundance of clear clean fellwater in the area gives rise to an abundance of small local breweries and that makes choosing a beer tricky so I’ve picked three. Loweswater Brewery’s Loweswater Gold (4.3%) is an award winning tropically flavoured golden ale brewed using three malts and German hops; or for an antipodean theme, Hawkshead Brewery’s NZPA – New Zealand Pale Ale (6%abv) – described as ‘a complex, strong, modern pale ale made using four New Zealand hops; Green Bullet, Motueka, Nelson Sauvin & Riwaka. Packed with punchy, green, citrus hop flavours with a dry, bitter finish.’ For a more generally available beer I’ve moved south of the Lake District to Lancashire and Blackburn’s Thwaites Brewery. Wainwright’s Ale (4.1%abv) is named after local hero A.Wainwright, the father of Lakeland Fell Walking and author of the beautifully illustrated ‘Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells’.

Let’s not overlook Lancashire cheese, which comes in three varieties: cream, tasty and crumbly. This cheese developed when farmers used excess milk to produce cheese. Given that they lacked enough surplus milk to create a cheese from one day’s yield, the cheese was made from the curd from two to three days’ worth of milking.  The method was standardised in 1890 and is adhered to for Lancashire cheese production today. British Cheese claims it makes the best cheese toast in the world so I reckon it might go well with some of Scottie’s recommended beer in a rarebit.

Keep your eyes peeled, cross-check with the Kranky Kids wall, and see if you can identify any British bovines.

9 thoughts on “Tour of Britain: stage four

  1. ToTheBillyoh says:

    Alfred Wainwright is fair dinkum legend! Wrote walking guides that have stood the test of time. Dour but witty as well. Hope “his’ beer is good. Not being a real ale fanatic I always preferred a pint of Theakstons Old Peculier (sic) – magic, with a decent wodge of cheese and some pickled onions. But beer is just because you cannot drink single malts all day and night.

    • Injera says:

      I’m partial to the Old Peculier myself, although lately I’ve been drinking Samuel Smith’s Pale Ale, and the gorgeous Oatmeal Stout. I’m definitely going on a hunt for some of Scottie’s recommendations!

      • ToTheBillyoh says:

        Their website says:”Old Peculier is a beautiful, yet very simple beer, brewed using a very generous blend of finest pale, crystal and roasted barley with two bitter hops combined with the majestic and noble ‘Fuggle’ hop to produce a beer of awesome full-bodied flavour with subtle cherry and rich fruit overtones. It tastes superb when accompanied by rich stews, strong cheeses and sweet puddings.”

        Rich stews, strong cheeses and sweet puddings – my God these smooth talking so&so’s are playing to my weaknesses.

        Nice pic. http://www.theakstons.co.uk/Ales/Old-Peculier/

  2. ToTheBillyoh says:

    Oatmeal Stout??? I’m doing a huge Homer Simpson drool right now! (If if was raining I’d be off to track some down. Damn.)

  3. Scottie says:

    Oatmeal fans, you’re in for a treat tomorrow. The Stoke-on-Trent stage, in Staffordshire, is a tight little route but one brimming with local delicacies. Staffordshire has its own cheese, with PDO status and Bertelin Staffordshire is an outstanding example. A cheese with a long monastic heritage, it has a smooth, slightly crumbly texture and a creamy, fresh, lactic flavour. Another local delicacy, unique and still a popular lunchtime or post-pub snack in the area is the Staffordshire Oatcake, a pancake-like flatbread of griddled oatmeal batter, eaten soft and warm – not to be confused with it’s Scottish namesake. Enjoy both with Lymestone Brewery’s Stone Brood honey beer, (4.4% abv) a rich, dark beer from honey from the brewery’s own hives and the finest chocolate malt producing velvety chocolate notes giving way to a balanced bittersweet finish!
    ToTheBillyo, I couldnt find my own recommended beer for stage 2 at my local KwickymMart and ended up buying a bottle of Theakston’s Old Peculiar with my Blue Stilton. Went down a treat!

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