Potted history

These days Carlisle greets its guests with open arms, but not so long ago any visitor would have been treated with suspicion. It was the nerve-centre for bitter feuds and bloody battles created by the disputed Border. Early in its history it was a Roman headquarters for the Wall. In 1092 William the Conqueror’s son William Rufus started to build the castle where later Mary Queen of Scots was incarcerated. During a period of Scots occupation its ruler was one Macbeth. Known as ‘Carluel’ it was, according to legend, the domain of King Arthur, and the Emperor Hadrian was perhaps the first to realize that whoever held Carlisle could influence the destinies of both England and Scotland.

You only have to look at the vast ramparts of the castle to realise the city’s strategic importance. It is the home today of the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment. If you get time, it is worth looking at its labyrinths to find the Licking Stones, so called because the water running down them was the only form of sustenance available to the Jacobite prisoners captured following Bonnie Prince Charlie’s retreat in December 1745. The cathedral is also worth a visit. The city’s long-running commercial success is celebrated in the Guildhall Museum, once a meeting place of the medieval trade guilds. Home of Carr’s biscuits, its pubs were once nationalised to regulate drinking hours because of the massive (and dangerous) munitions industry which dominated the local economy.

Places of interest

Tourist Information Centre, Old Town Hall, Green Market, Carlisle CA3 8JA. 01228 625600

If by chance you have cycled all the way from Wallsend and
still need to know more about the Roman history of the Wall
then before you leave Carlisle it is worth visiting Tullie House.
This excellent museum will also give you a great deal of local
information to help you on your way.

Cycle Shops

Hollymill Cycles 140 Botchergate, Carlisle, CA1 1SH. 01228 513909

Palace Cycles 120 – 124 Botchergate, Carlisle, CA1 1SH 01228 523142

Rickerby’s Currock Road, Carlisle, CA2 4BL 01228 27521

Scotby Cycles, 1 Church Street, Caldewgate, Carlisle, CA2 5TL 01228 546931

Whitehead Cycle Centre 128 – 130 Botchergate, Carlisle, CA1 1SH 01228 526890