After last weeks ride, it dawned on me that I dont ride enough in the Lakes. Its an hour away from where I live and I only go there about 4 times a year. I know bikers who would give their right arm to have such riding practically on the doorstep, and I have not been doing the place enough justice.
So, fuck it. I'll go again. None of my crew could make the admittedly short notice ride, so it was to be a solo. No problem and in truth I was quite looking forward to a bit of me time. Frantic work schedule over the last few weeks has really left me feeling a bit depleted and a big ride in the Lakes with me myself and I just to worry about was just the tonic.
Parked up at Clappersgate at an outrageous time of 10.15 and kitted up. Weather was lovely, the last of the golden coloured leaves were falling and winter was almost tacking a grip. Around under Loughrigg and up past the old golf course I followed Gav;s route from January;s STW ride and took the brilliant slippery downhill back to Clappersgate. Along the road to Skelwith Bridge and then the new Bridleway over to Elterwater. Made a much better alternative to the road and was pretty quite.
The path has had a bit of a mauling off the river higher up and some signs were up stating that is would be closed soon for repairs. Arrived at Elterwater and the Britannia was closed, so no temptation for me. I elected to take the more straightforward road over to Little Langdale and forgot how rough a climb it is. I was soon reminded, puffing and blowing like a bastard buy the time I got to the top. The view up Wrynos was looking good.
Crossed over Little Langdale ford and took the turn over to Hodge Close and then the Bridleway to High Oxen Fell. At the top of the path I heard the revving of twin's and waited at the gate for the Crossers to pass, all let on and thanked me for sorting the gate out.
Been a while since I rode this BW and it is cutting up nicely with some pretty interesting bed rock drop offs, all taken at speed and I was even trying to practice the cornering tips that I had got of STW.
Passed HIgh Oxen Fell and then crossed the road towards Iron Keld. I wasn't planning on taking the disappointing descent, instead I was headed for Parkamoor. At the side of Tarn Hows I came up to my nemesis. The long sweeping climb a left turn, steep loose scree and then a right at the top. In 4 attempts I have never made it to the top without either loosing traction or loosing a lung. This time I was determined to do it and, miracle, I did. Well chuffed.
The Spin down to Knipe Fold was fast and loose but the tarmac climb up to High Cross was shit. I stopped and took a picture of the tree trunk that toss walked into 5 years ago when we did the Tour of Coniston.
Into Grizedale now and I soon found myself going against the flow of shit loads of Trail Centre terriers... the North Face Trail used the same bit of fire road to join up the ST sections and I got a lot of bemused looks from bikers. Evidently, its not common knowledge that there are wonderful natural tracks in Grizedale other that the trail centre. I'll try and keep it that way too.
Soon on the track heading over to Parkamoor and I left all other bikers behind, had the place to myself. Stopped for the obligatory Parkamoor shot and noticed that the Old Hall was totally empty. Very different from the last time I was up here with the lads on our camping trip.
Spat out at Satterthwaite buzzing and arms pumped to fuck! It still isnt over... the Brutal climb up Breasty Haw and then the superb trail down into Low Scar wood was ace. Harsh and slippery climb up through Slack Wood and then the final down through Devils Gallop and it was over all too soon. I love the last few miles and could ride them forever.
The Climb up to Claife was MUCH harder than I remembered, almost expired at the top, but the Tarns of Moss Eccles and Wise Ean provided a welcome distraction.
Here I had a choice of routes to drop off Claife. The classic DH into Colthouse I did not long ago, but I remembered coming here with Pikey and Weester, must have been 11 years ago and we took the path down to Belle Grange. Now I remembered this as a pretty technical bit of singletrack which opened out into a paved steep fast plummet, so I though I'd have a bit of that. Well, its been fucking bulldozed. The upper section is 10' wide and intermittently stoned up and then it just puts you onto the paved path which was murderously slippery with the dead leaves. A case of just hold the back brake, dont dare touch the front and hope you make it down. Fucking rubbish. I felt like I'd been robbed. All that climbing onto Claife and that bollocks was my reward. You can shove Belle Grange up your arse from now on. I'll take Colthouse next time.
The spin along the lake was nice and relaxing, but the weather was starting to close in so I scarpered back sharpish past Wray Castle and back to the car.
Got to the car and was starting to pack up, but before I could get changed a fookin minibus full of Romanians or some such pulled up by the side of me. It then disgorged a load of fat old ladies who proceeded to moan about something or other, stood by the side of the river while the driver took photo's of them. I couldnt wait any longer to get changed so I just dropped my wet shorts, quick dry off and jumped into my clean skiddies, but I reckon he old dears got a pretty good view of the old Turkey's neck as there was a bit of a commotion from inside the van. Still, couldnt be helped, I was freezin.
All in all a fookin great run out. I'm going to do my level best to get up to the Lakes as much as I can over winter. Hardly any mud around. Not sure on the distance as My Tracks fucked up and recorded my doing 214miles and my route finishing somewhere just east of Whitby. Piece of shit.