I was in the Lake District for the weekend, since Liz was exhibiting at Woolfest.
This gave me the opportunity (between helping out with unloading and setting up) to get a couple of rides in.
Buttermere and Ennerdale
First was an exploratory ride from some bridleways I’d spotted on the map, and a cursory internet search that led me to believe it would go. Park up at Buttermere, head along the side of the lake, then climb up and over the Scarth Gap pass into Ennerdale before heading back and taking the pass back via Floutern Tarn.
In reality, the ride along Buttermere was pleasant enough, but sanitised. The climb up to Scarth Gap was all hike-a-bike. The descent into Ennerdale was largely a push, at the top end of what I would ride, but being alone and out of phone signal, the penalty for a mistake would be severe. Riding along Ennerdale was fire road, but pleasant enough. On the climb to Floutern Tarn, there was some riding, and some pushing. I met a couple of guys doing the route in the reverse direction, and maybe they’d picked the better version. Higher up the ground was extremely boggy. The descent alternated between more boggy ground, and small, unrideable boulder fields. I even passed a group where one of their members has fallen and sprained her ankle: I offered assistance, but they had all things in hand – emergency shelter was up, the kettle was on, and mountain rescue had been informed. The final few miles were even more bouldery, and my sense of humour was leaving me. Amazing scenery, and a lovely day in the hills, but not a route to take a bike.
The second day was onto safer ground, the Borrowdale Bash. The weather was a little more summery, and the ride along Watendlath to the cafe was pleasant (even with the sharp hills). At the cafe, scone with jam and cream was quickly demolished, and onwards up the hill back towards Borrowdale. The climb was a push, then pleasant riding along the top before the technical descent. Part way down a big hit on a water bar led to a puncture, and any questions over the state of the sealant in my tubeless set up were proved to be unfounded: one spin of the tyre and the leak was sealed. At the bottom of the hill I put a bit more air in the back tyre and carried on. The road section was reasonably quiet and pleasant, but turns steeply uphill at Seatoller. Mostly ridden, but with some breaks for photography, this is a tough climb, and any idea I had that I could do it on the road bike need to be reassessed – 30×42 on the mountain bike was still tough. The bridleway descent back downhill above the Honister road was great, followed by a short climb up to the Grange descent – a highlight of the ride. Rather steep, extremely rocky, but just do-able. Once successfully at the bottom of the descent, there’s a pleasant ride by the river and along a back road before arriving at Grange and the cafe! After lunch, a short spin along the road in Borrowdale back tot the car and another great day out on the bike is complete. This time both great scenery AND great riding!