The only problem that we encountered was finding a site that would accept a group of blokes. After a bit of poncing around we finally were accepted onto Burns Farm, albeit with heavy warnings of noise fines etc... JD was firmly in the box seat for paying the £50 noise tax.
The weather had been watched keenly leading up to the weekend, and indeed the previous week had been stunning. It was with regret that we later realised that the original date that we all wanted to go was indeed the sunny weekend of the 24-27th May, however the Meeeeeaaaaaaty one had rebuffed this as not being practical for him. Given what transpired, ie him not turning up we all agreed wholeheartedly that he was and indeed will continue to be cunt, for the rest of his natural.
We all jumped out and I have to say erected my tent in fucking record time. A stirling effort. Once mine was up we got Weester set up pronto too. Just as well as soon at the tents were up the rain started. It lasted nigh on 36 hours before it relented. The only stroke of luck we got all weekend was getting the tents up just in time. Heater on in our tent, all cosy and JD opens up the pots of Chillie that mrs JD made for us all. We ate like kings that night.
The first night was spent listening to the rhythmic drumming of the rain against the tent, but also a couple of other interruptions. The dawn chorus provided by the local birds was almost enough to make me want to go completely fucking postal and chain gun the twats. Jesus H Christ on a fucking lollipop they were loud. However even these were drowned out by a big fucking cow mooing her fucking head off. This was just too much to bear and I covered my head with a pillow. Turned out that the mooing cow was actually having her twat ripped apart by giving birth, so I'll let her off.
Superb breakfast made by myself and toss, chuckling rather childishly at the sausages that looked like foreskin and bell ends.
After dawdling over breakfast, we soon realised that we had to make a descision. Do we actually ride in the deluge or just sit around getting pissed. We had all been looking forward to this weekend for so long that, admirably, we all manned up and agreed we needed to get out.
Waterproofs donned, bikes checked for oil, food checked for calories and group check for southern pufftah. Turns out the southern pufftah was missing. We checked our phones and looked at the txt he had sent, informing us that due to some unmentioned problem he would not be joining us till later that evening, thereby missing the Friday ride. The big fucking tart, no doubt saw the weather forecast.
So Borrowdale Bash to start! Down the steep hill from the camp site and onto the old railway line for the run into Keswick. I thought it felt easy today and indeed it turned out to be a steady gradient all the way down to Keswick. I will now mention the rain. I'll get it out of the way and try to not mention it again, however it rained ALL fucking day, with varying degree's of hard pissness. Some bits were drizzle, but most of it was heavy piss. There... I shall mention no more of it.
Keswick reached pretty handy like and we take the long road to Watendlath. It was steep and I was hurting. Me and JD gracefully brought up the rear and did so in style I have to say. At Ashness Bridge I attempted to describe the classic Lakeland view to the lads, however it just wasnt cutting it. Up more steep tarmac to Surprise View. Suitable unsurprised to see nothing but mist we carried on to Watendlath.
Here the lads for some reason all brain farted their way past the obvious bridge, instead choosing to ford the tarn's outlet. For some reason, JD bringing up the rear, presumably found the underwater trench created by the others and was almost up to his bollocks. Still it gave the mushrooms growing on his riggot a wash.
We attempted to climb up the steep scree, I failed, but failed with style, weester and Jase making a good fist of it actually getting about half way up. We bumped into a Dad and Lad walking here and I would just like to nominate them for the award of most friendly people in the world. The owd dad was 80 if a day and his son told us that he gets out on the bike still. We had a great conversation in the pissing rain with them and came away with a big fucking smile on our faces. Salts of the earth, pair of em!
Gentle run over the top to the start of Birketts Leap. I still didnt manage to ride it all, but CW descended like a cat, showing us all how its done. Couple of punctures here for me and JD, I elected to change mine under a tree and got fookin eaten alive by the midges.
Next up the road. and then the climb up Honister. Jase, being a big cunt, ascended as though gravity didnt affect him. I made it as far as the first Layby, Toss and Weester getting about the same, JD and CW electing push and almost beat us up anyway. Hit the turn off and I mentioned about the faint left turn to take the BW to Castle Crag. I thought that mentioning "look out for the faint left turn" 62 times was perhaps a bit of overkill, but my fears were justified and CW managed to blast straight past it. I was tempted to let him go and call him on his phone at the bottom.
Nice singletrack to the top of The Graveyard. We had a bit of a regroup here, to collectively wring each other out and then set off at once for the descent. I love this descent, lulls you into a false sense of security with a steady well paved start and then wham.... your into stone pitching with big fuck off rocks. Was brilliant and I made it down with no dabs and INTACT. Sadly the same cannot be said for young CW who came a cropper and OTB'd. He also managed to convincingly twat his rotor which needed a bit of fettling to get to spin. Everyone else was ok but took it nice and stead, the rocks taking on a sheen like appearance with all the moisture.
Grange was passed through and then a full on Monsoon kicked up. We attempted to take shelter but it was no use. Short climb up past Manesty and we were on the side of Cat Bells. Just getting a bit of speed up and I was behind Weester and Wors when BANG! big fucking loud pop followed by Weester shitting himself and just about coming to a stop. His tyre AND tube had shredded. We speculated that a sniper had taken a pot shot at him and got his wheel as we couldn't see any other reason as to how it had happened. He managed to mend the tyre with a gaffer tape "get you home just about" fix, however having spotted a discarded glove nearby panicked and spent the next 20 minutes asking if it was someone's glove. Obviously.
Given his weak tyre, we elected to take the last bit of road back, once again in the pouring rain. Not much fun this bit as, by now, I was pretty much drenched to my bollocks. Over the bridge and we took the cheeky footpath into Keswick. Some big fat low level walking bitch moaned at us that we shouldnt have been on the 8' wide perfectly manicured bit of trail, no doubt being such a hardcore walker, she refused to see the irony of the situation.
We all (well, all apart from Toss) agreed to get back and get showered, so we set off back up the railway line. I do have to say that this was deeply unpleasant. We were all pissed thorough and the gentle incline up to the camp site was not much fun. We all split into groups... the fast lads charging off to claim the shower, me and weester in the middle and CW and JD bringig up the rear. I wondered if I should have waited for the guys at the turn off for the camp site, but decided that 1) I was too wet and needed and shower and 2) I really couldnt be arsed if they did carry on as it wasnt too far out of thier way anyway.
So all showered and feeling somewhat refreshed, we booked a couple of taxi's and headed into Keswick. Our taxi driver was the lovely Suzi, of Suzi's taxis' fame. Our small talk obviously endeared us to her as our taxi was £1 cheaper than the lads in the other one. Tour of the local hostelries was the order of the night, Toss being raped by the New Inn for 3.90 a pint. This I suspect has ruined his year, not just the holiday. Good banter and crack all night actually, unsurprisingly it was still raining at 11 when the taxi's came to pick us up. Back to the tent for a cheeky ale and then bed.
Next day didnt so much as dawn as squelch. The rain was getting lighter and the temperature had increased which gave us hope, although not much as today we were heading for Skiddaw and the fabled Ullock Descent. Toss's gas ran out on his cooker and we had to light a bbq to cook the beans on, not the best state of affairs.
As we had breakfast, miracle or miracle's, the rain stopped. Fuckign praise the lord.
We got kitted up and I pointed out the route to a less than enthusiastic set of bikers. Off we set up to Threlkeld. I decided that rather than just hit Skiddaw, we would loop Glenderaterra and come back along Lonscale Crag. Got the lungs working and it is a seminal trail in these part. I fluffed most of it as did most of us but CW once again rode it with style.
Arrived at Lattrig, I told the lads in front to do the u turn, which they did and the full horror of the zig zags up to Jenkin Hill were revealed. Collective groans. Jase made a sterling effort, getting to the 2nd hairpin before giving up. Rest of us pushed right from the get go. Fuck me it was a long hard pull. But with steepness comes altitude and we were soon at the top of Jenkin Hill. It was here about that I mistakenly thought we had brought along a 6 year old child. The "How far is it now Dave?" "are we near the top Dave", "is it much further" upon checking for said infant, it transpired that it was Dom who was the culprit. He really is a big southern homo. At the top of Jenkin, we were at least able to ride the majority of the rest of the hill, but soon came up against the final pull. Thick mist and a shocking wind now were in close company with us, but we soon arrived at the summit.
At the col between Skiddaw and Ullock, we all set off for what turned out to be a cracking descent. I was walking a good few sections, but CW and Jase made a right good fist of it. Only the stupid cliff section defeated CW I think, there must surely be a way around this section of trail that we couldnt find. Was a belting descent though and again, I'd love a crack at it in the clear sometime.
The run through Dodd wood was fast and fun too. Bumped into a very attractive lady walking her dog who had a great crack with us, turns out her husband was a jockster too.
So back to Keswick and we hauled up at the first pub we found. The Pheasant. What a fucking great little boozer this was. Fine ale and a lovely place inside too. Slaked our thirst with about 3 pints and then into Keswick for chips and more beer. Here Dom elected to leave us and head back to the tent, obviously his rigorous bike cleaning regime meant that he would be pushed for time.
Shower then get the BBQ on that Dom kindly brought. He also brought the worlds first non flamable fire lighting liquid jizz, therefore lighting the fucker took ages.
Barrel was finally emptied we retired into the warming busom of my tent for final ale's and a bit of an love, all inspired by a warming glow from weesters camp light.
A splendid weekend fighting adverse weather and still having a great time with a great set of lads.
Coniston next year though... I think we were punished by the weather gods for abandoning Coniston.