As it has become evident that my shift pattern is changing, after 16 years of having a week off every month, I decided that I'm going to use the last remaining ones to best effect. So a wee plan was hatched, friends were invited, but I knew they were all working, so off on my tod I went to the Lakes.
After a reasonably early start, and a quiet 3 hour drive south, I pitched up at a lay by just outside of Glenridding, next to the mirror like ullswater. First up was a long farm track which terminated with the rocky climb up toward grisedale tarn, and then on up the steep pitching steps to dollywaggon pike.
This part of the trail is pretty busy, as it's part of the coast to coast route through the area, from grasmere over to patterdale, so there were lots of incredulous looks at a big sweaty scot carrying a bike up a mountain, all cheerful though!. Once up on the plateau, and heading over nethermost pike toward helvellyn itself, the views were absolutely astounding all around, from high street in the east, scafell pike in the west, Skiddaw and blencathra to the north, and even Blackpool tower and heysham nuclear power station to the south!.
|Looking west over the langdale pikes|
|Path up Ill bell|
As I was on my own, I had made the decision to ride at maybe 70%, to avoid a tumble on what can be very exposed and rocky terrain! but to be honest! I wouldn't do this again. The lakes cannot be ridden at 70%, full concentration! commitment and a bit of speed is required. Lesson learned. Once up onto the summit, the views were even better.
|Ullswater from helvellyn|
|Descent off helvellyn..|
All that was left was the descent down sticks pass, and as I said earlier, I took it too easy going down there too.
20 minutes after getting to the car, I was in Ambleside YHA, for a bath, change and then a well earned bite and beer, before retiring early due to a bigger day the next day.
A quick bite for brekkie, and I parked the car at the bottom of dubbs road for a wee cheeky assault on some footpaths above kentmere!. The plan was to climb garburn, but instead of descending down the usual route into kentmere, carry on up Yoke, over Ill bell, froswick and thornthwaite crag, before turning west over Mardale Ill bell, and descending the famous Nan Bield bridleway, then taking the high Borrans route back to the car. Cracking day, I'd definitely do that again.
|Leaving garburn pass|
|And off up onto Yoke|
|A wee pal...|
|Windermere to the south|
|Path up into ill bell|
|Ill bell summit|
|Nan bield switchbacks in the centre of picture|
|Ill bell from thornthwaite crag|
|Harter fell down to nan bield|
|The lakes in one picture. Sweet.|
As everyone I know knows by now, I love the Lake District. Haste ye back...