A return visit to the northern Lakes has been on the cards for a while.

dsc_4764

And today was the perfect day.  Pour yourself a cuppa and open the nobnobs – there’s a few photos coming up!

We parked at the back of the church hall in Threlkeld, with a promise of tea and cakes later.

dsc_4735

The bridleway between Blencathra and Skiddaw leads up into the hills.

Just a hint of colour around even now.

dsc_4736

It’s a quality bridleway – firm and wide.

dsc_4739

On the other side of the valley you can see the narrow track we’ll be returning on.

We cross over the valley near the top, and join the return route for a short while.

dsc_4743

It leads up quickly to Skiddaw House, a remote Youth Hostel nestling above the watershed.

dsc_4745

A brief fig stop, exchange hellos with three Geordies and we’re heading east, down a boggy grassy path waiting to catch us unawares.

 

dsc_4748

We manage to avoid an over the bars incident and the descent puts a big smile on our faces.

dsc_4749

Looking back towards Skiddaw – what an amazing day!

dsc_4751

Eventually we hit tarmac as we head down to Mosedale.  Puts me in mind of an old blues song – “I went down to Mosedale….”

You know what it’s like when you get half a tune in your head – just can’t shift it!

From here it’s singletrack (road) around the east side of the Skiddaw massif, and then onto the old mining tracks around the Caldbeck Fells.

dsc_4753

THere’s some fun descending to be had here too.  Fast and grassy with a few jumpy bits thrown in.

dsc_4755

On Shaman’s behalf, I’d like to point out that those brown stains on his shorts are borne of mud, not fear.

dsc_4756

Before long we’re back into the purple heart of Skiddaw.  With an evil dog in hot pursuit!

dsc_4757

Up past Whitewate Dash and the steep haul to the gate.

dsc_4760

And then back towards Skiddaw House.

dsc_4766

The moment you point a camera at The Sleeve he starts showing off. Although he may have just been trying to avoid the king-sized bugs attacking us from their base in the heather.

dsc_4770

I think it might have been easier to ford the stream – we already had wet feet.

dsc_4773

Beyond Skiddaw House we take the prized singletrack along the side of Lonscale Fell.

dsc_4775

It’s a lovely track – for me the highlight of a great ride.

dsc_4780

And everywhere the views are stunning.

dsc_4785

Makes you feel glad to be alive!

This link should show the route:

back-o-skiddaw

We had considered finishing off with the climb to the summit of Skiddaw.  Fortunately we didn’t have time – The Sleeve had a table booked at one of Manchester’s finest and we didn’t want to upset his better half.  So it looks like we’ll have to come back another day for that.