Saturday, 18 June 2011

A Sting in the Trail - Day 2


Me shouldering my back on the long climb out of
Wasdale Head to Sty Head
With a little trepidation, but the advantage of a full English breakfast, we set off for on the next leg, to Ambleside. Notwithstanding the description of the route in the magazine, and a study of the map and the converging contour lines, there was no substitute for the real thing to convince us of our task. A few miles along Lingmell Beck we started the gradual, but nevertheless unridable climb up to Sty Head.

By this time we literally had our heads in the clouds, so no views to compensate for the climb. Alas, when we reached Sty Head the climb wasn't over. There was another 260m of height to be gained before we reached Esk Hause at 75m. This was to be where Ashley achieved an incredible 'head plant' after failing to successfully negotiate a stream, resulting in his bike being stuck vertically, wheel deep in mud, his feet firmly in attached to his pedals and him forming a human bridge over the water!

Chris and Ashley negotiate the rocky climb down Rossett Gill
After a technical, loose downhill there was another climb up to Rossett Pike. Unfortunately there was not to be the usual reward for gaining so much altitude as the downhill into Mickleden is an incredibly broken and rocky climb-down the top section of Rossett Gill. The well worn track along the valley bottom had been 'improved' by the addition of loose stones. This made it drier but not any easier for walkers and even more difficult for bikes - thank heaven for the suspension!

A welcome sight along the valley is the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. After an orange juice and lemonade (no not a pint of Theakstone's, though the temptation was real) and a short rest, we continued, with the onset of rain, with the remaining section to Ambleside and the Youth Hostel on the banks of Windemere. 

Arrival at Ambleside Youth Hostel
The rain was forecast to continue throughout the night and the following day so we were resigned to the prospect of wearing waterproofs for day three. We spent an our or so on some routine maintenance on the bikes and lubricate the now dry chain and gears. In the absence of any secure storage for the bikes, they had to be partially dismantled and locked in the van for the evening.

Day 3 .....

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