Sunday morning was lovely in the shire, but by the time Robin, Julie and I got onto the M74, a day of drizzle had begun. However, the north west lakes can take on an eerie beauty on days like that, with mist hanging over the mirror pond-like derwent water.
We had decided on a slightly different configuration of a popular route of ours, the borrowdale bash, starting on the west of the lake near hawse end outdoor centre. This meant a nice warm up along the lakeside path to the south of the lake, then cycling along the, ahem, footpath to manesty on the east. The main road down the east of derwent is closed to traffic at the moment, so we were untroubled by cars for a change, which was nice.
Untroubled doesn't last long in the lakes though, as the Tarmac climb up to ashness bridge gets the lungs going and the heart pumping, then once the road gets flatter, a tasty headwind had built up heading toward watendlath. After a short but steep climb off-road from the lochan, one of my favourite descents in the lakes lies before you - the the techy bedrockfest down to rosthwaite, and it didn't disappoint.
The discovery of a previously unnoticed tearoom at rosthwaite was awesome, as we were wet and getting cold from the descent, so a pint of tea and a massive slice of almond and cherry cake was very welcome.
All that was left climbing wise was the hoist up the devilishly steep honister pass. Which we passed on!. Instead, we took a wee shortcut, pushing up a footpath to the lovely undulating trail which ultimately leads to castle crags. I used to really love this descent, but I now feel it's just a bit too straight and ploughy, more of a test of nerve rather than skills. Still good though.
After this, I managed to talk R n J into a wee push up cat bells, as they were set to head for the warmth of the car. This was an accidental spot of good luck, as we spotted a path we'd never seen before, a bridleway higher up than the lake path, which was pretty good fun, and even ended up descending right to the car!. By which point it was chucking it down, Oh how I love getting changed by a road side in the rain.....
Great day though, and some tasty food in threlkeld before heading back up the road. A great start to our lakes rides for 2014.