or Two Blogs Collide, if you prefer.
Wednesday the weather forecast was looking up so I text the usual suspects about riding on friday. No response from lowey, the rest negative, Johnnie had DIY to do sommat about connecting his water supply but I soon set him straight nice weather, not been out in ages, we were riding. Thursday we set plans, 7am start, a couple of lakes routes planned. Then Lowey text, him and his chums were already in the lakes and were riding walna scar on friday, did we want to join them? Hmm crack of dawn hikeabike slog with techfest downs or join the slackers club, late start, a relaxed pace, probably beer fuelled ride with pub and swim stop...? I'll take option B please.
We got stuck in traffic so the start at torver was even later, me, johnnie, lowey, toss, weest, and chris. The lads were feeling a little hungover and the steeeeep tarmac start did not help. It was already hot and not a breath of wind about, lovely if a little uncomfortable for riding in. We dropped down to water yeat bridge all happy, getting into riding mode. Up Long Mire where Chris spotted some newts (I've not seen any in person before) and over on to park head road. The drop to seathwaite is a classic, rocky but a fast and a lot of fun. Lowey went ahead to take pics, I charged down after loving it. I stopped at the first gate, Johnnie and chris soon caught up. Looking back I could see the other 3 a bit away then disaster I saw someone go over the bars and their bike land ontop of them. It was lowey and he stayed down a long time. Weest and Toss were there with him but it was a tense few minutes for us at the gate until we saw him get up and carry on. Only a bit cut and bruised (lucky considering the terrain) but his back brake was wrecked. Ouch. The next section has been sanitised, ie they've dumped a load of clay like soil ontop of the rocks and turned it into a quagmire :-( A slightly subdued pub stop, the heat and stark reminder of the consequences of mistakes meant there was only me boozing (and only a half at that) Next we went up the valley to a gorgeous spot on Tarn Beck, a little pool with small water fall either end. It felt icey cold at first but got used to it and standing under the waterfall was fantastic, the most powerful jacuzzi ever, magic! Toss was getting a little over excited, he seemed to be enjoying it a little too much :-)
Eventually carried on to walna scar. Stop for a rock climb at the bottom then the long long slog to the top. Took us well over an hour to get to the top, heads were dunked in Long Hall Gill at several points in a failed effort to keep cool. A long rest at the quarries til loins were sufficiently girded for the final section. I set off riding very dubious of managing much but I kept on keeping on, up the steep bit round the switch back until about 10meters from the top where a teeny tiny stone knocked me off line I went off trail left, swung back on tghen straight off the right where I collapsed and didn't move for quite a long while. Bugger!
Regroup at the top where a couple of us discovered just how dehydrated we had become.
We set off down, I'd pushed too hard on the way up I was feeling a bit rubbery and it took me a while to get into it, Lowey was having a bit of a 'mare, unsurprisingly considering the lack of rear brake, everyone else was whooping with delight. We eyed up the drop off halfway down, with a new big run off ditch hazard, only Chris had the bottle to jump it. Seeing him bin it (yes in the ditch) the rest of us rolled it. Down spoon hall, wet rock sketch, and onto the campsite, the guys stripped my bike for spares while lowey drove me to get my car.
A pretty short 6hour ride with an average speed to make our trip to Boot last year look quick (despite which I was still knackered by the end) but nonetheless a brilliant day out. Definitley the best option, cheers for the invite lads.