Garburn Pass & Trowbarrow

Saturday – Garburn Pass Mountain Biking

The weather on Saturday was cold and showery. So after a late start and some essential household chores had be achieved (including second breakfast and a café latte 😛 ) we decided the best way to get some fresh air and exercise was a ride on the mountain bikes. We’ve been out on the bikes a few times in the past weeks so our legs are a bit more used to the pain, and our bums are a bit more used to the saddle, so we decided to go over the Garburn Pass and descend towards Ings. Wow, the slog up from Kentmere to the col at the top of the Garburn Pass is a killer. I was knackered. We were even overtaken by a fell runner. But we did manage some overtaking of our own, passing another pair of cyclists.

The Garburn Pass used to be a really rocky and technical descent. However, its been significantly improved and levelled. Not so much fun from a technical point of view but a good deal safer and a whole lot faster! 😮 Not that it was possible to go at full-speed as the slate used to improve the trail was very wet. We even had a snow storm going over the col!

Laetitia successfully crosses the ford above Kentmere
Laetitia successfully crosses the ford above Kentmere
Laetitia on the fast, and much improved, Garburn Pass descent
Laetitia on the fast, and much improved, Garburn Pass descent

Here’s a GPX track of our journey…


Sunday – Trowbarrow Quarry

Sunday’s weather was much nicer. Sunny! 😀 However, it was still very cold so a sheltered and sunny location was required for the day’s outdoor entertainment. Trowbarrow Quarry is a little over familiar. But there’s a reason for that – it is sunny, sheltered, and has a selection of really great routes across a good range of grades. Perfect really.

The weather was a threat though. We could see intense storms rolling off the Lakeland fells, and every now and again we could just make out a few drops of rain in the air. We kept our fingers crossed and hoped the squalls tracked south and missed our location. Of course we couldn’t be lucky every time. One squall came right over us and for 30 minutes or so we were pelted with hail stones! Luckily I was at the top and missed having to climb in the onslaught. Looking down the route at Laetitia the crag had adopted a wintry look – all the edges and ground had become white, covered in a thick layer of hail stones. 😯 These promptly melted when the squall passed and the sun came out again. Then of course the rock became soaked. I sat on top, damp and cold, Laetitia stood at the bottom (wrapped in her duvet and waterproof jackets), wondering what to do next … the rock dried off … and we started climbing again! 😀

It was cold though. So much so that I think I put a fair bit more effort in to the climbing than I really needed to. This is something I’ve noticed I do often when I can’t feel my fingers, I pull extra hard to be certain I’ve really got hold of the holds. I can see that I’m holding on, but I can’t feel that I am. Anyway, today my arms and fingers are sore. 😉 A great day and adventure even in a very familiar location.

Sunny for now, but another hail storm approaches from the direction of Coniston
Sunny for now, but another hail storm approaches from the direction of Coniston

The best Mountain Biking in Lakeland?

Even when it is impossibly wet Kentmere offers perhaps the best valley base for cross-country mountain biking in the Lakeland fells.

We’ve explored most of the options for rides around Kentmere, and the parallel Longsleddale valley, and have pretty much found all the best sections of single-track, fast and rocky descents, and best ways to gain height for those descents. However, today with Dave along for the fun we added a few more kilometres of previously unexplored trail to our itinerary. Most of the rides start with a two kilometre climb up “Mount Everest” – a great way to gain height as it is on a surfaced road and goes past the home of one of the team members of the 1953 first ascent of Everest, hence our name for this section of road. 😉

Kentmere Biking
Laetitia and Dave at the start of the off-road biking trail before it joins the fast single-track all the way down to Kentmere village. The sun came out for a moment just for this picture - nice rainbow!
Dave negotiates a tricky river crossing - he made it with dry feet!
Staveley Head Mountain Biking
Laetitia swooshes through a deep stream across the single-track as Dave prepares...

It was cold, raining most of the time, and hailing at times. So after the ride we headed to Wheelbase to wash the bikes and our bodies down (everything was plastered in mud) with their helpful, and free, hose. After that we were frozen – none of us could feel our toes at all! :freeze: The universally accepted remedy for such cold toes is a hot cup of tea and cake! Dave supplied the cakes, yummy Eccles Cakes! :yum: