No pictures, sadly. I forgot to take my camera to the lakes at the weekend, and I can't for the life of me workout how to link photos from other people's flickr accounts, as Des and Robin both have cracking pictures!. Idiot.
Anyway, another belting weekend of biking in the Lake District, this time with my usual riding amigos, as well as 3 guys from my club Glasgow mountain bike club, Tom, Gavin and Ross. We were planning on meeting at patterdale on the Saturday morning, and decide where to ride from there as the weather was looking ominous.
As usual, we were a bit late. And missed the GMBC guys, so set off on our own, heading up onto high street. Here's the thing, I don't actually recall agreeing on heading up high street, I just bought into following the route Robin had programmed into his GPS. I'm firmly landing the blame of this one at the door of our senior partner. So first off was a leg warming climb on a hardcore track up to hayeswater reservoir, by which point, the surroundings were getting whiter and whiter.
After a few photos, it was bikes up on the shoulder and climbing straight up a steep, grassy and increasingly snowy slope. By the time we reached the Knott, at 700 odd metres, we realised that there wouldn't be much riding done today. To summarise, in the three hours that followed, we probably rode for about 3 minutes. We mainly carried and pushed our bikes through 18 inches of snow and complete whiteout air conditions, right up and over the 2500 feet summit of high raise, and on to the northerly end of high street.
Robin had a wee shaky sugar low moment coming onto the rocky summit of raise, but quickly got some food down, and steadied himself again. That was until his GPS announced that the batteries were low. Queue the wobbly panic voice again!. It's no surprise that when an opportunity presented itself to get off the summit, albeit on a footpath (daft English rule number 273a - no riding on footpaths) we grabbed it with both hands.
It turned out to be a very un-lakes like descent, more like a Scottish moorland trail, narrow, grassy, muddy and as slippery as a libdem under oath. What it did do, was deliver us back to the valley floor, and what followed was ace. The much vaunted Ullswater bridleway. A roller coaster of wee ups and downs, interspersed with rocky chutes, boulder fests and all sorts of technical challenges, both up and down. Unbelievably, by this time, spring had returned, and bathed us in her watery sunlight, even heating our bones a little too.
So, 7 hours later, we were back at the YHA Patterdale, getting showered and ready for the worst meal in history. I must take the blame for this, booking the white lion inn for the 6 of us, as by this time the others had joined us, after having their own troubles - riding the garburn pass in the wrong direction....
The food was so bad, that I won't expand, just don't go there....
After this, Ross decided he was going to live up to the national stereotype of drunken Scotsman abroad, singing, hanging about the village drinking red wine from the bottle and generally enjoying himself in his own way. All while we were tucked up in preparation of another ride the next day.
So up the next morning to a nice not-too-greasy breakfast (bed and breakfast fast for just over £20, you've got to love the old old YHA) and we headed off in a group of six to ride to pooley bridge and back along the trail we did the day before. Great ride. 21 miles, a few of which were on Tarmac, but getting to ride the ullswater bridleway both ways was a joy, and the climb out of pooley bridge post coffee was rewarded with a very, very long and fast descent back down to the edge of the beautiful ullswater again.
Needless to say, after the previous nights high jinx, Ross only managed about an hours riding, before heading back to the hostel. By the time we got back, the half bottle of red wine he had previously left lying on the bridge had gone. We will never know.....
So, even in poor weather, the Lake District once again shows why it is probably my favourite place to cycle. Even if it is in England. I promise not to forget the camera next time as well.