To Longsleddale and back

We went for a bike ride on Sunday.

We’ve done this route before and it’s one we enjoy as it takes in Kentmere and Longsleddale. A fairly easy start, you leave Staveley along the back road heading toward Burneside. The a left turn and an up hill plod along Potter Fell Road and then down to Garnett Bridge.

Garnett Bridge

After the initial warm up along the road, we start the off road section. The bridle way winds its way north up the Longsleddale valley, passing through, or diverting round the various farms along the way: Nether House Farm, Bridge End, Docker Nook, Wad’s Howe, Hollin Root, Well Foot, Underhill House, Hill Cottage, Toms’ Howe and Tills’ Hole. Again, not so hard, more cross country than mountain biking, but the damp conditions meant a slippery trail.

Bridleway Signs

At Till’s Hole it’s a sharp left up a steep hill towards Cocklaw Fell. Too steep to cycle, it’s a tough job pushing the bikes up the hill, but when we get to the top the fun begins. This bit is one of my favourite mountain biking routes around. The trail continues south east over Cocklaw Fell, Green Quarter Fell passing Skeggles Water, and south towards Staveley Head Fell. There have been some path repairs since we were last on this trail which I’m pleased about because it was getting very boggy in places.

A minor 'boggy' tumble before the long, awesome, rocky descent back in to Kentmere

This route has seen us falling off on many occasions, but usually this was due to sinking into the bogs. Sunday saw me flying over the handlebars on a steep but dry bit of ground. I’ve no idea what caused the bike to stop, but I kept going and landed with a crash and not a few bruises. Ouch!

Winded and in a bit of pain with a rapidly swelling knee, we took a right turn and headed west and down hill through a plantation and down to the main road. An easy ride back got us home after 3 hours.

Despite the crash its was still a great ride. 😛

The route

2009 Great Langdale Pudding Race

The curse was finally lifted (just!!) as Anna claimed her pudding on a cold morning in Langdale. For 3 years, Anna had been thwarted by injury and illness. It was freezing at the Stickle Barn, with fantastic ice crystal growths on the tables:


Throughout the preceding week or so, Anna’s training had been interupted by sciatica, a fall down the stairs and finally a bad cold. Things weren’t looking good with an hour to go, but the girls fed up on some huge bananas and were nearly ready. (despite this, there was no appearance, as promised, from bananaman)

Sarah and Anna get stuck into some fruit
Sarah and Anna get stuck into some fruit

First though was the junior race, (U16), and with the traffic in Langdale still up the creek, it looked like Martha and Charlie would miss the start. In fact they did, and as the field set off, Sean kicked them out of the car in the queue, and they set offa good 300yards behind the rest. Well done Charlie who set off like a demon and came in 12th and Martha who didn’t have time to change into her trainers and did the 3kms in her school shoes!!

Charlie storms through the finish
Charlie storms through the finish

At last the clock ticked around to high noon and the runners gathered at the start. Apprehension was soon overtaken by adreneline and as the field swept away Anna looked like she might even enjoy herself!!

Anna in high siprits at the start
Anna in high siprits at the start

There was nothing left for the spectators to do except hope………. (oh, and go to the bar for chips, hot toddys and free mince pies)

The Hudsons:  post race.... pre chips
The Hudsons: post race.... pre chips

After barely time for a drink, thefield were back (33 minutes), first zac, closely followed by Sarah and then Anna. Despite all the ailments Anna posted a respctable time (easily sub 55 mins) and later that evening was heard to say that her legs didn’t hurt at all… (as she finished her first bottle of wine!)

Anna finishes
Anna finishes

To the victors, the spoils!!!
To the victors, the spoils!!!

That evening Sarah held her usual post race party…. Thanks Sarah, great as usual!! it was also good to see loads of people, even though the roads were really icy and getting there was a problem. One of the locals managed to roll their car not 50yds from Sarah’s house…. a bit worrying as our cars were parked on the road.


And, after a heavy night the night before, that stopped him running, even Bananaman showed up!!!

pudding Race 09 025

All open at Cairngorm

Dave and myself headed for Cairngorm on Friday evening ready for a weekend on the piste.

After a couple of beers we headed back to the B&B. Up early and off to Cairngorm.

The conditions were amazing (for Scotland) with ALL runs and lifts open.

Kitting up
Kitting up

After a few runs (I skied and Dave Boarded) we stopped for a healthy lunch…

Mmmmm, nice
Mmmmm, nice

Even though it was half term, the pistes were not that busy. In fact, I managed to find a lovely run that was nice and quiet, while Dave found some good off piste snow.

The 'busy' M2 run
The 'busy' M2 run

We finished our last run before heading back to the car park to be disappointed that some B**stard had backed into my drivers door, denting the metalwork and smashing my wing mirror (and of course they’d driven off without leaving a note).

A pint or two in Mambos we met with Vickie (from work) and her friend Claire and decided we should meet tomorrow on the mountain……..

Wet & Windy at Brackenclose

I was hosting the CC meet at the FRCC hut in Wasdale, Brackenclose, and had been looking forward for months to doing Botterill’s Slab, but as the week progressed the forecast for the weekend gradually got worse and worse. We were undecided which route we would do as we set off from the hut knowing that the rain was imminent – we had thoughts about Moss Ghyll Grooves? If we’d made an Alpine start we would have beaten the rain that started just as we arrived at the bottom of the route. :angry:

Paul, Anna, Ian and Laetitia on the long slog up to Scafell crag

We threw on our waterproofs and decided to walk to the top of Scafell where we were nearly blown over by the wind and rain.

Pete getting wet!

We headed back down to the hut on the knee breaking track.

A couple of cups of tea later the wind picked up and down crashed a branch from one of the large oak trees onto one of our parked cars! This provided us with some drama and entertainment. But a whole afternoon in the hut seemed a little daunting, so we headed out to Sellafield visitor’s centre. It was shut! 🙄 So what else could we do on a wet Saturday afternoon? Beer and Chips! :yum:


:star: Beer & Chips :star:

Saturday night we had dinner (a catered meet 😛 ), a climbing quiz and a slide show. Which was all great fun. The slides were supposed to be from the day’s adventures, but the rain saw to that and so we enjoyed other pictures from Norway, Italy, France, Scotland, etc.

On Sunday it was still raining cats & dogs and even windier! We went home. 🙁

Offroad and falling off around Grizedale

I met Faye & Vickie from work in the Climbers Shop at 10.30 after buying a pair of mountain bike SPD shoes in Ghyllside Cycles and then bought a small OMM 10 litre daysack in the Climbers Shop.

Pippa was made very welcome in the shop and had loads of attention with the customers.

After recovering from my purchases we headed for Moor Top in Grizedale and had a great time picking a new route around the forest and taking in some of the North Face Trail.

Faye & Vickie take time to discuss the trip

What\'s Vic doing?

At Satterthwaite we bumped into another group and one girl stopped and made friends with Pippa, regretting not having bought her collie along too.

As I’m not the best mountain biker in the world I fell off three times on the North Face Trail and ended up in the mud several times.

A lovely ice cream at the visitor centre rounded off a fab day.

Thanks girls, for letting us come out to play.

Chamonix + Contamine, a broken day

We crunched our breakfast this morning – un pain avec abricot confiture – and something crunched harder than I expected. I’d broken my tooth! 😮 But nothing was going to stop play today.

Pete surveys the narrow forest track

The sun was out and we had plans to go to Contamine. Contamine is about 30km from Chamonix. It’s lovely and very quiet. We decided on a few pisted runs to get our snow legs in before we tackled the ski tour. Unfortunately I crossed my skis at one point and I took a flyer. It was all very slow motion and I had a few moments to contemplate life as I flew through the air. I landed on my back, jumped up and gained a score of 10 for style, but a big fat 0 for skill. 😳 Oh well, only injury was the second break of the day; I’d broken my rucksack’s ice axe loop.

The tour was less dramatic, but the snow wasn’t in great condition so was tough on the unfit legs. We started on a familiar route – up to the Col de la Fenetre – and then headed for the trees. This wasn’t as good a route as we had done last year. The trail through the tress was far too narrow for our skill levels so we had to walk for a while. But is was still great fun and very beautiful.

Skiing at Gaustatoppen, Rjukan, Norge

Loads of snow fell overnight, so Ian, Anna and Jon headed for the local ski area to enjoy fresh powder. The pistes were empty, and we never queued to get on a lift. FANTASTIC!

Jon and Anna on the slopes

Lots of off-piste and general fooling around as we honed our rusty technique, and luckily not many people to laugh at our efforts………………

Anna jumps off a cornice on Gaustatoppen

Crochues-Bérard Traverse

We decided to take Dave on the amazing Crochues-Bérard traverse tour to discover Snowboard mountaineering!

Laetitia at the top of the Index chair lift
Dave teaching Pete how to use his new-fangled GPS gadget!
Dave at the top of the Crochues col

The climb up to the Crochues col followed by the traverse across to and climb up to the Bérard col were easy. But the descent was another story! I struggled so much with the snow conditions on this ski tour’s descent that I wondered if it had ever been possible for me to have completed the Haute Route – what was my problem? The descent is supposed to be the fun bit…

The awesome traverse to the Bérard col.
Check out the massive avalanche path!

Just nine months earlier we had made relatively easy work of the skiing on the seven day Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, yet with a wicked icy crust the snow down the Bérard valley was a killer! At almost every turn I broke through the crust to the deep power below and “tripped” myself up, ending in a massive head-plant crash. After the umpteenth of these I was more than a little knackered and angry! :angry: Dave and Laetitia kept saying, “you are sitting too far back”, and I kept trying to get forward and be aggressive through the turns. But that just made a whopper of a head-plant wipe-out more likely (and painful). 😥

After yet another wipe out!

So, what was my problem? Well, I’d like to blame my tools, as Dave on his snowboard had no bother at all. Or I could blame it on my being heavier than Laetitia, as she was also on skis but only wiped-out a couple of times. But basically I have to face the facts – my skiing was crap!!! 🙁

Off to the piste tomorrow to brush up on those skills… 😉