Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Lakeland Diaries Part 1

Posted by Dandy | August 7, 2011 | 2 comments so far

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.

Gatesgarth descent upper 2

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.

Kentmere rest Stu

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).

Kentmere local

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.

Jenkins crag tree

What a cracking ride to start the week?  And the weather was great, too!

Jenkins crag

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.

Serious nutrition

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!

Stu on the boards

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:

Dandy Whinlatter South

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 😉


About the author

Having been mountain biking since 1996, you might have expected Dandy to have learnt to ride a bike by now. Several broken bones in the last few years prove the maxim that you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

In between hospital visits, Dandy rides a brace of much-blinged Pace RCs, the 'green themed' 405 and the silver & gold 506. His winter hack is the Moles' favourite, an On-One 456 hardtail, now converted to an Alfine hub He also dabbles in 'the dark arts', keeping 2 road bikes in one of his seven sheds.

There are 2 comments on ‘Lakeland Diaries Part 1’

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  1. Matt says:

    Nice one Andy, love the cake shot, you seem strangely surprised to find it there. Can’t think why that would be!

    It makes me think we need a gallery of various cakes we happen across on our travels.

    Also, great to see you got to ride the Lakes in the sunshine even with normal service resuming in subsequent days…

  2. kc says:

    Oh Man! I want to be back there doing those rides too! I spent a magic day at the Whinlatter centre and can attest that the climb you managed is a challenge. The descent was such fun though in the dryish autumnal setting I enjoyed.

    Looking forward to seeing more pictures of girls in the next update. I can really recommend the Cockermouth Lakeland Sheep and Wool Centre; you will see some outstanding well presented examples in this great centre of excellence in all things sheep! 🙂

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