Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hills and Spills in the Howgills last Summer.

This is an account of a day out we had in July last year, in somewhat autumnal conditions.

We are very fortunate in having some great outdoor loving friends. They are a broad church with varied main sports, but we often get away for a weekend together to do stuff.

On this particular weekend my family and our friends visited the Howgills. We stayed in a fomer school at Fell End just of the A683.

My original plan for the Saturday, was along with a couple of others to recce a fell race route that went over the Howgill Fells, and on Sunday do an easy off road bike ride with Minipips.

Saturday came, and the adult consensus was instead to go for a bike ride. Minipips asked if he could come along.

The route planned was a tough one for grown ups, but I reckoned we could go with them for a while, swerving the rough stuff, and then head back on our own.

From our accomodation, we followed bridleways in a SW direction towards Sedbergh. The going was muddy, and there were plenty of awkward off camber bits. We all fell off lots.

At Sedbergh the two of us rode on from the rest of the group whilst they bought trail food. Organised, we had lots of homemade cake with us.

The riding to Sedbergh, had been fairly flat, but this now changed. First some little road climbs, and then the main event.

The Calf is the highest point in the Howgills at 676 metres and that was where we were bound.

Shortly after we started on it's ascent via the Bram Rigg bridleway, everyone else caught us up. Martin took some photos of us attempting to ride the river crossing, which most had little success at, including me.

Minipips gave it a good go on a better line, and nearly made it.

After the river, the gradient steepened, and soon everyone was pushing their bikes up the grassy hill. Only 2.5 Km to the top now, but with near 500metres of ascent.

Unsurprisingly on this gradient Minipips tired quickly, his bike though lightweight still weighs more than a 1/3 of his body weight.

So initially I tried helping him push his bike whilst pushig mine. Awkward and not particularly efficient.

Then a thought. Why not stick his bike on my pannier rack, and we would both do a bit of pushing.

This worked well and we then made good progress to the summit.

From the Calf we headed N down Bowderdale which may look on the map as if it is innocuous, but wasn't particularly as the ground was sodden. Bog, big stones, and ruts.

Nearing the bottom I could see Minipips was tired,  and I was certainly feeling I'd had a day out.

On reaching the Lune valley we adjourned to a posh pub in Ravenstonedale in our muddy clothes. I guess he could have ridden the last bit back on the road to Fell End, but instead we opted for a lift back in the car.

34 Km and 1000 metres of up. A tough day out.

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