A return to proper man size riding, we'd planned to go to the lakes on a decent bank holiday monday, wanting to avoid the crowds we went to dunnerdale to do harter fell, eskdale, bunrmoor tarn and back. Me and burk did this ride many years ago and he refuses to go back, it was a bit traumatic for him, he wasn't on top form and had had some dodgy milk with his breakfast so was really suffering at the end but my (very) hazy recollection was of a decent day out.
Anyway me Si and Johnnie headed out - eventually sat nav issues - it was a lovely day, steep road climb, nice little downhill then the pain started, proper push up Fickle Crag and most of the way to Grassguards. Grassguards gill was a hard technical climb then another push through the rest of the forest which was flat but too rooty/rocky to ride. Johnny came off in a bog on the top of harter fell and we all had to push down a very big rock, there was a very sketchy line but I wimped out. The rest of the down was great, went on for ages, rocky bits, water run off troughs, gravel landslides and smooth grassy setions, lovely. At the bottom I was flying had to go off path to get round a family, I saw a boggy bit so manualled over it and landed front wheel on the other side which turned out to be just as boggy and the wheel sank and I fired over the bars, right next to the family and right infront of Johnny and Si (Lowey you would have loved it) Grassy landing so no damage apart from my dignity being in tatters. Some gorgeous twisty flowy cheek and then some almost as nice Bway got us to Boot and a pub stop. Time was marching on, it had taken over 3 hours to get 7miles! Change of plan, no loop round burnmoor just straight back. The ensuing post pub giddiness caused a couple more crashes, when Johnnie hooked up on a low branch I tried to squeeze passed on the rocks and had a slow speed OTB with Johnnie catching my backwheel as it passed his face. Another too enthusiastic approach and I had a bit of a staggering stop. We weren't looking forward to the long uphill so decided to hike straight up the hill on an FP instead of riding to the foot of the traversing climb. The beer stop really made itself known as we sweated our way up in the sun. Me and Si got pounding headaches mine didn't stop for the rest of the day. Ride and push across the fell, push through the forest again but then the down. Mmm mmm, fantastic, techy singletrack for ages, couple of stepping stones crossing that were just rideable, and a squeeze between two conifers which almost ripped Si's face off when he didn't duck enough and then a rock just after had johnnie off. Bit of a trek along a BW before the last downhill, I was tearing down when it suddenly got all rocky, had to slam on I (and Johnnie behind me) was going way too fast. I ripped this tho, proper rocky with hairpins and slippy gravel but I was just flowing, absolutley loved it. A bit more ace cheek to avoid the 3mile road to the car. 15miles in 6 hours sounds rubbish, I later remembered the full 22mile ride took me and burk around 9hours. Really tough going but those downhills are ace and worth the pushing I think. I'll go back soon but go up the last downhill (fickle crag is 80% unrideable) and just have to keep the pace up and avoid too many stops.