We just about managed to squeeze this one in, as 2 weeks later, we were in full Covid-19 lockdown….
But, at the time, that was an unimaginable reality, yet to strike, and we were in the Lakes to ride bikes.
16 of us met at Raven Crag on a wild, wet and windy Friday evening, with snow still on the tops and we immediately set to route planning in the Old Dungeon Ghyll. Saturday was to be a classic ride, along Langdale, over the flanks of Loughrigg Fell then heading south to ride through the Iron Keld plantation.
There were a few amongst our group who weren’t riding (and given the weather, who could have blamed them…), so 12 of us set off on Saturday morning along the bridleways of Langdale towards Chapel Stile in the rain. The road climb up the side of Loughrigg Fell gave everyone a chance to warm up before the superb descent down Loughrigg Terrace towards Langdale. The rain did have one advantage, and that was the normally busy path down the Terrace was nice and quiet! We decided against an early cake stop in Ambleside and instead climbed steeply (again on tarmac, which made it easier!) back over the southern flank of Loughrigg Fell for another great descent to Skelwith Bridge and the delights of Chesters By The River for some well earned lunch! The after-lunch climb was a particularly stiff one (apart from for those on e-bikes), but the descent trough Iron Keld more than made up for it. We cut the planned route short after this, because of the weather (or was it because England were playing Wales in the 6 nations…?) and reconvened for our tea and a pint in front of the rugby at the New Dungeon Ghyll.
The next day was forecast to be slightly better and we relocated to Staveley for pre-ride cakes in Wilf’s Café. Whilst it was showery instead of persistent rain, when those showers came, the rain came down in stair rods! There was a demo-day event going on at the bike shop, so the whole area was busy with MTBers, but the 10 of who were riding soon escaped the crowds and started the long uphill haul towards the western side of the Garburn Pass. The long climb lead to a shorter, but much more technical descent down the eastern side of the pass to Kentmere village – tricky, but rewarding riding. From Kentmere, it was an easy road roll back to Staveley, being overtaken at great speed by a huge party of e-bikers from the bike shop event, fortunately they weren’t racing to get back to Wilf’s for cakes!
Another “despite the weather” great weekend of riding and looking back from the CV-19 lockdown, a pleasure not to be repeated for a while…
However, if the virus allows, the intention for the autumn trip is to ride the eastern 7 Stanes centres, based around Peebles. This will be on the weekend of 9-11 October.