Sunday, 18 March 2012

Blessed or Cursed - One year on.

Mothers day! Last year I was in a pretty dark place to be honest on this day. I thought I would have been ok, but really I wasn't. Not at all. I blogged the day here. One of the few times in my life that I had posted something negative. That day often crept up in my thoughts during last year, the year from hell. I kind of thought that I owed it to myself to make it better, to park that particular day as the low point and see life riding back up from there. Some people treat certain days as reflective days, the day of bereavement or the day of a funeral, but that one was mine.

So this year, with all that behind me I decided to try and put it to bed. make amends for that day if you like, or at least come to terms with the effect it had. I had to drop the girls off at Blackpool for 11.30, but then the day was mine. I didn't was to go somewhere that was packed with throngs of people, I just wanted big country, big hills and a bit of solitude so headed up to Kentmere. I kind of decided on the route as I was cycling really, just knew that I wanted to get up on Harter Fell and Mardale Ill Bell.

Arrived at Kentmere and already things were looking good. Last year I was pissed on all the way round... this year, wall to wall sunshine and a clarity to the air that just made the views endless. Kitted up (in short sleeves!!!!) and headed up through Green Quarter and gently climbing about Kentmere, the views opening up as I went.
Left the road and joined the Stile End. Smashing climb to start the lungs, loose and rocky but at a pretty easy gradient. Soon summited and dropped the saddle for the blast down to Sadgill. Now, given my frankly shite performance on Snowdon Ranger last week, I had been a bit apprehensive that perhaps I was on the verge of suffering a loss of mojo. I need not have feared. This bit of BW has been royally fucked by the 4x4's bedrock and babies heads all the way down, similar to how Walna was... fucking brilliant... flew down with both wheels drifting and getting knocked off line by big hits, rocky drops jumped over... it was just ace! Big Big smile at Sadgill.

So much fucking girding of loins here for the beasting that was to follow. 2000ft ascent of Harter Fell via Gatesgarth. The spin along the valley was great, this was just what I needed today, sunshine and relative solitude in Gods own country! I noticed a sign half way up saying that Buckbarrow Crag was closed for climbing as it had nesting Ravens!

Managed the 1st hairpin on the pass before I was off... spots in front of my eyes again. I can feel myself getting stronger after the excesses of Christmas, but still struggling a little with the stamina. Frequent pauses to look back down the valley. As I was climbing up I heard a lot of water noise and looked over the wall... a belting plunge pool, will have to bear that one in mind for a swim if we come up in summer.

Arrived at the first gate to spot the (ordinarily) soul destroying sight of the rest of the pass sailing over the horizon, but it was such a glorious day that I was in the mood to climb all day.

Push up the zig zags which were much steeper than I remember and very loose too, but with a good few stops was soon at the top of Gatesgarth.

Here, I would just like to apologise to LDNPA for making a complete balls up. Naturally I intended to descend to Haweswater, but, fuck me... I ended up taking the footpath up Harter Fell... what a bell end. By the time I realised what I had done I was half way up. Still had to make the most of it.

Wasn't too steep really, but sustained enough to make riding proper hard work... right on the "oxygen Debt threshold" (fucking get me!!) so I soon had to park up for a rest. Found a nice spot though.....
Soon up on the Summit and the views were just stunning. A crystal clear day, all Morcambe bay, west pennine moors, Ingleborough and Phenygent, northern Pennines, Cross Fell and all the Lakeland Fells away to the west. Stunning panorama.

Was going to grab a minute up here for some refelction and maybe a quick chat with me mum, but the wind was up and temp was dropping. So dropped the saddle and headed down to Nan Bield. Fuck me this was tasty. Rode some but a lot of the path was scambling with some switch backs over the cliffs above small water. Good fun though and I was soon down at Nan Bield for a bite to eat. Good view of the classic BW too.
Here once again, I took a wrong turn... can you  fucking believe it. Before I knew what was happening I had carried my bike up to Mardale Ill Bell and heading over to Racecourse Hill. I think the time was now getting on for about 5pm and as I headed over to Thornithwaite Beacon, it struck me that there was no one else around. Parked up at the actual beacon, looked again and there was not a soul in sight. I've never experienced this before on ANY Lakeland peak. As far as the eye could stretch the hills were deserted.

So I sat myself down and had a quick chat with me owd Mum. Told her about my year, asked how was Auntie Val who we lost last year too and asked if our Ste was behaving himself. I told her about the journey through last year and how I've come to where I am now. I reckon we both left that Summit a lot happier that evening.

Faaaaast blast down to the top of Scots Rake I took the precarious path around Froswick and then Ill Bell and bagged the last summit of the day, Yoke. Belting view from here and even the Isle of Man was clear as crystal, but a great view back up to Nan Bield.

From here was a right treat in store... fast rocky descent to the top of Garburn, then Garburn to Kentmere. Dropped the saddle and set off...soon up to stupid speed but the something caught my eye... the view out west... the setting sun, hidden between clouds and the mountainous horizon.. making each feature glow silver.... sentimental old bastard, but I kind of got the impression that this was me Mum, leaving me and waving goodbye.

Garburn top reached. Off I set... just a stunning stunning descent... loose scree and bedrock, this time tackled at full speed, wanted to get the Ranger Monkey off my back and it worked. Arms were utterly destroyed at the bottom, but a massive grin on my face.

So Thats That. A Shite year and the long journey out of it to a happy happy place. Someone was smiling on me today and gave me one of the best days of my life!

Blessed or Cursed ???? No fucking contest.


Jason said...

Fook, got something in my eye.

D0NK said...

you soppy old bugger. looks like it was a fantastic day

andyrmanc said...

Very moving.

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Toss said...

What a fine read that was.... Nice one David. (sniff)