My mate Stu has access to an apartment in Ambleside, so we had a pleasant week riding, eating and drinking our way around this beautiful part of the UK.
Sunday 31st July – Ambleside to Kentmere, Garburn Pass, Troutbeck and Jenkins Crag
Only about 16 miles, but with the 1,000 foot climb/push/carry of the Garburn Pass part way round.
For those that know this part of the world, we headed along the main Windermere road before taking a steep bridlepath to Town End which I only just cleared. Welcome to The Lakes !
We crossed the Trout Beck with its short but very steep climb away from the river, climbing further up the road to High Borrans. We followed the ridge (more or less) before descending a fast and rocky descent for a welcome rest at Kentmere.
Next up was the Garburn Pass, maybe 50% rideable unless you’re old and fat, so we managed to ride about 25% of it 🙁
The descent was great though, and we caught the eye of a few of the attractive ladies at the side of the trail (see below).
Unfortunately I ripped my rear Cross Mark tyre on this descent, and (shades of my SDW debacle) it again proved unrepairable so the Stans valve strip was removed and an inner tube inserted. Is there a problem with Cross Marks, or am I just clumsy?
Stu had a puncture on the final part of the Garburn Pass descent, but after a testing fire road climb out of Troutbeck, we had some fun descending from Jenkins Crag back home to Ambleside.
What a cracking ride to start the week? And the weather was great, too!
Monday 01 August – Road ride out to Spark Bridge via Grizedale, then back along the side of Coniston Water
A 33 mile trip that we started around 10.30 once the morning rain had eased to a light drizzle. We stopped at the Grizedale MTB centre to suss out the trails, but sadly never made it back here later in the week.
We though it prudent to use this opportunity to refuel with coffe and cake, as it’s important to ensure one remains properly ‘fuelled’ throughout the ride.
On the subject of fuel, our return leg saw us reach the well-known Drunken Duck Inn at the 30 mile mark, so the opportunity was taken to consume a fine (but rather pricey) Ploughmans Lunch, washed down with the product of the Barngate Brewery attached to the pub.
Tuesday 02 August – Whinlatter Trail Centre
Monday’s drizzle turned into heavy rain overnight and into Tuesday morning. Luckily, the forecast proved correct, and by early afternoon the rain had stopped even if there was little sign of the sun.
Stu lost his trail centre cherry to the ‘blue’ Quercus trail, surprisingly never having been tempted to visit these man-made creations before now. He soon got to grips with what they had to offer!
We then rolled straight into the ‘red’ Altura South loop. The surfaces were a little greasy after all that rain, but like most trail centres, the trails themselves were holding up very well despite the rain.
I managed to clean the switchback climb to the top of the trail, hence the ‘victorious’ pose below:
We returned to the trail centre cafe, where we planned to refuel before tackling the North loop. However, we decided enough was enough for the day, so I’m looking forward to a return visit to tick that one off the list, too.
Hope to post part 2 in a day or two, with more photos of great scenery and great beer 😉