I was going to call this a saunter down the High Street.
Unfortunately we never made it – after battling through gales to reach the halfway point of the ascent, we threw in the towel, dropped our saddles and headed for the sanctuary of the valley bottom.


There were three starters – myself, Andy and Sir Jimmy – a work colleague who’d recently acquired a new bike as a result of a ram-raid on a Manchester bike store. We were all set.

Things got off to a good start, warm for the time of year and not too breezy (although it was blowy at Tebay services when we stopped for Sir Jimmy to order his regular start to the day – a full English). How does he do it and remain thinner than me? Some questions have no answers…

There was even some sunshine on the fells:

We were soon out of Pooley Bridge and taking the western bridleway out of the Cockpit, down towards Ullswater.

The first descent brought the first puncture, an opportunity for Sir Jimmy and myself to relax in the sunshine whilst Andy replaced the tube

The track runs alongside Ullswater for a few miles of decent trails:

Then it was along the rocky singletrack by the lake. To be honest, riding what I could, I found the continuous dismounting and remounting a chore. I like it a bit techy, but you really need trials skills to stay on the bike along there!

Soon we were at Hartsop (after a bit of cheeky – the alternative is a deadly main road) and into the teeth of the gale. We struggled to ride the flat, and were soon pushing. The fellside provided some shelter and we soon reached Hayeswater, where the wind was sending plumes of spray showering across the hillside. It’s hard to catch the wind in pictures, but Andy and Sir Jimmy tried:

At this point we decided enough was enough – time for a game of Pooh sticks!
Just lob a baseball bat of a stick into the torrent, jump on your bike and chase it down the valley!
Oh, what fun we had!

Just because we didn’t make it didn’t mean retreat. We found another hill to go up instead! So it was up to Boredale Hause, where it was a little calmer.

Here’s the view back through Boredale Hause:

From here to Bedafell Knott, where we found a cracking little descent:

With some proper singletrack – a relative rarity in the Lakes!

Not a bad day out – it looked like this:

A distance of over 40km and 1400m climbing. Enough to send Sir Jimmy to sleep for half the journey home!