What’s the best way to finish your training for 100 miles around London on the road bike next week? Answer: take your fat bike up into the mountains for some hike-a-bike!
I’ve never walked or biked in the Howgill Fells, but they’ve always been in my consciousness as some kind of Lakes-Dales hybrid where you tend not to find lots of people. Today was the day!
Parking up in Sedburgh, its not long before the hike-a-bike begins, as height is rapidly gained. The weather over this side of the country was supposed to be nicer, but there was still a strong, cold easterly making the going hard. I walked up the last section with a group of four walkers who were doing the Dales High Way, and had been battered by the wind all week on the fells.
On top at last, there was a promise of endless sweet singletrack descending Bowderdale. And there was. Some of it was a bit narrow, meaning extra care had to be taken to avoid clipping the pedals on the side. Some of it was a bit steep-sided, so the penalty for mistakes would be a tumble to the river. Amazing scenery, and after leaving the walkers behind on the top, not a soul in sight.
All good things must come to an end, and eventually I arrived at Bowderdale village. Using the back roads and cycle track, I made my way around to Ravenstonedale, where Liz and I spend New Year this year – happy memories! I could even see Wildboar Fell, which we climbed in the snow on New Year’s Day!
From Ravenstonedale the route takes the dead-end road towards Adamthwaite, taking the bridleway off towards Murthwaite. From here there is a succession of beautiful singletrack heading up then down all the way back to Sedburgh.
A long, hard mountain route, but given how dry it has been, conditions were perfect.