Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Great few days riding around Keswick in the Lake District.

Just had to tell all you active brits readers of an awesome few days worth of biking we've just had in the Lake District.. Its was actually a proper fest of rampaging through the mountains by day, and attacking the food and the amber nectar by night..

Last weekend Weeman and myself headed for a 4 day excursion to Keswick in the beautiful Lake District. We decided to stay at our usual campsite in Braithwaite which is in staggering distance to the local boozers. On the Bank Holiday Monday, nursing a slight hang-over we decided to do the awesome Blencathra curcuit. The first acscent of the day took us vertical from just outside Keswick to the main car park on the side of Mt.Skiddaw. By now the taste buds were craving something other than the rancid lager but we decided to push on and follow the singletrack along the east facing flank of Lonscale Fell to Skiddaw House. The route is excellent, couple of small gnarly sections at the start (with some good drops to the right) followed by some awesome undulating twists and turns laden with baby heads and death cookies.
From Skiddaw House we then headed North East, following the Cumbria Way down the valley to the village of Mosedale. This section is pretty damn quick, not steep but a great chance to push the cranks round, flick the bike about and attack the trail. From the village we followed the country lanes back to Threlkeld (on the main Keswick to Penrith Road) before diving onto an old disused railway line that ends up in Keswick town centre.

On the Tuesday morning we awoke to errrrr, rain and heavy wind.. Grizedale Pike and Skiddaw had been engulfed in low cloud so we decided to go and have a hearty English breakfast and see if the weather got any better.. Stuff it we thought, cant do with those namby pamby fine weather riders so we decided to put our hangovers to one side and go out and get freakin well wet.. Literally 10 minutes later and the weather changed beyond recognition, ok it was overcast, but absolutely perfect for a bit of biking so we decided to have a day playing around on the mountains south of Keswick..

From the town centre we headed down the B5289 for a couple of miles before veering left up a sweet 250m ascent warm-up tarmac hill climb to Watendlath. The scenery was spectacular and its definately worth a 1 minute stop to look at the view from above Derwent Water, makes you really appreciate your existence. By now the result of drinking copious amounts of alcohol during the previous nights activities (yet again) was more than evident. The guts were rumbling, the head was banging and my taste buds had died. No shandying out though, it was time to push onwards. We decided to do a small but highly enjoyable bridleway that links Watenlath with Rosthwaite to the South of Derwent Water. Its one seriously quality and fairly technical track-singletrack that starts with a short carry-up (or possible ride if you're taking artificial stimulants) followed by a quality downhill comprising a mish-mash of slabs, man made steps and boulders (just watch out for the drainage channels that cross the path, they are freakin deep and are located just where you dont want them).

From the village we decided to head to Seatoller, go full on proper sick and attempt the Honister Pass, not exactly the ultimate hang-over cure but certainly helped get rid of the excess wind from the system, lets just say i'm glad i was at the front.. You basically have to negotiate an imfamous pretty steep lakeland pass, you'll either love it or completely hate it and wish you'd have chosen a different hobby, either way just remember what goes up has got to come down :o) Mid way up the pass.. about 300m past the point where you want to die, we took a right turn and began the rapid decent down a path known as the Allerdale Ramble. Its very quick, rocky, wet and at times down-right treacherous but freakin fun. It saps the energy right out your system which is still trying to recover from being put through the Honister Pass experience. After an intense first section, the path continues to undulate gently along the east facing flank of Derwent Fells (the west side of the Borrowdale Valley) to a village called Grange. Upon arriving in the village we had to stop for 5 minutes to allow the carrot chunks to settle back down in the stomach before heading for a final big climb of the day over the Catbells.

To be honest, Catbells is not really a climb, its more a torture route for sadistic people. Its basically a 1km long, 350m ascent carry-up which destroys every muscle in ya back and shoulder but rewards you with a quality views of the entire Derwent Water catchment to the east and the fells adjoining Grizedale Pike to the west. It is a proper killer and what makes it worse is the 'official' downhill is near as damn it impossible in places as you have to negotiate a 200m stretch of unconsolidated scree slope (the by-product of old mine workings). You can take 'unofficial' lines down the bottom but you'll probably get some grief if there are any Satans Children' knocking about.. It was then a matter of tanking down the road back to Braithwaite for the obligatory 3000 calorie munchfest, yet more drinks and some quality banter with the rest of the Lake District active possie... God this life is great..

Respect and be safe all.. yer like thats ever going to happen eh!!... Cya..

1 comment:

Arthur said...

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