I could not possibly report on each ride, but will mention a few that have been especially memorable.
The High Cross ride in February, was on one of those rare clear frosty mornings, some icy patches and a sprinkling of snow on the trails, we headed south towards Low Parkamoor with a fabulous view over Coniston Water and The Old Man of Coniston, the air was crystal clear, with deep blue sky reflected on the surface of the lake, We stopped on the sky line to take some photos, then continued down the rough track to Nibthwaite, eventually to start a long climb up to High Ickenthwaite. We sat on some logs for a lunch stop and whilst there, were able to watch a Red Kite circling above us in the clear blue sky, it was a magical moment. We continued the ride over to Satterthwaite, then Bogle Crag, to come eventually to Hawkshead Moor and back to the start point at High Cross, about 25 miles.
We had a fun day out at Whinlatter Forest back in April, I think there were about six riders, and we went to try out the Quercus trail at 7.5km, and Altura trail at 19km, the Altura is a red rated ride and climbs way up over Keswick and Bassenthwaite to 1600ft. Both rides feature, Berms, Jumps, Rock Features, Skinnies, Cork Screws and Table Tops, Obviously there was a lot of hard work in climbing these, but the ride down was a real thrill. It was an exciting departure from our normal day tours.
June 14th saw us going up to Keswick again, this time for a round tour of Skiddaw. We parked free at Brundholme, then took the old railway track up to Threlkeld, this was where the climbing started up past the Blencathra Centre, then more up and along the side of Blease Fell, crossing Glenderaterra Beck and on up to Skiddaw House, this is a hostel / refuge , with no road for miles. It was a perfect day and we made a lunch stop here. We then continued on the long rocky Cumbria Way to Mosedale, here to find a short stretch of tarmac to take us north before joining the old mining tracks on West Fell. These were good unsurfaced tracks and took us close to Branthwaite, high up on the fells, with fabulous views over Hesket Newmarket, way below, and the Solway in the far distance.
Aug 23rd, saw us meeting at Ingleton, for a tour of Ingleborough. We headed out on the old road to Clapham, through the tunnels and then the long climb via Trowgill up to Sulber Nick. This was a good place for lunch with fantastic views south over the Limestone outcrops and wild open moors. We then continued through Ingleborough nature reserve on the same track, eventually dropping down to cross the River Ribble, then heading north to join The Pennine Way and down the old Roman road to Ribblehead. Here we had a cup of tea in the pub, before crossing under the viaduct and heading north to Winterscales, started to rain at this point, but we continued on heading south west to Ellenbeck and the trek across Scales Moor. Lots of open pot holes and Limestone pavement but no real trail to follow across here, we eventually arrived at Ewes Top (1200ft) before a fabulous descent down Twisleton Scar and back to Ingleton, about 30 miles. Steve guided this ride.
Well, I guess that by now you have a fair idea of what the mountain bike rides are about, as a rule we do not have a ride leader, and simply agree a route before the start, only takes a couple of minutes. However these guys are so keen that they are now subscribing rides, and leading them as well, if you look at the Nov / Dec list you will see that five rides were subscribed.
It has been a memorable year, and I would like to thank the regular riders for their support. Neil, Mark, Steve, Chris, Malcolm, Tim, Andy and Peter. There is never a dull moment, Steve keeps us going with his jokes and stories, and Neil fixes the bikes when they break. Neil says we are like the last of the summer wine on mountain bikes. I have a short MTB ride coming up on the 11th November, so try and get hold of a mountain bike and come along for some fun and hard work. How about some road ride reports?
Best wishes, Bill.