Monday, March 28, 2016

A couple of days in the Lakes with the Tandem.

We'd been wanting to do a big ride on the Easter weekend, and thought we might have a go at the Lakeland 200 route which I'd ridden before. The weather forecast wasn't looking good after the first day, but hey, the weather forecast isn't always right!

We drove up on Thursday night, met some friends in Kendal for a drink, then slept in the car ready for a 3 am start.

Here is Tom putting the bike together ready for the off.

A couple of hours later we stopped for some breakfast.

This part of the route is fairly easy and we enjoyed watching the sun making it's first appearance of the day.

By 7:30 the sun was out, and there were blue skies. Time for more food.

The next section towards Coniston, takes much longer than the signposts suggests, as you rarely follow the signs.

At Grisedale we stopped for hot food and drinks.

Then before tackling Walna Scar road, cake and ice cream in Coniston.

The first steep road section from the Rising Sun towards the Old Man was desperate on the tandem with all our stuff. No walking for us though.

Once on the bridleway proper we savoured the views.

After the descent towards Duddon, the route hangs a left to a section towards Stephenson ground, which was as is usual a bogfest. No dry feet for us on this trip. After doing a loop round Caw, we dropped into Seathwaite.

NB if you forget to tell your stoker you are stopping to let them know to unclip, then this will happen.

A bar of chocolate fuels the climb that skirts Harter Fell which takes us over to Eskdale.

Time for a puncture to be fixed as the daylight dwindles. By the time we get to Boot to start the last climb of the day the sun is long gone. We fired up the Exposure Toro light which on Mode 2 on low gives plenty of light for all but the fastest riding, and runs for ~18 hours.

A steep rocky climb either side of which is lined with prickly gorse bushes takes us onto Eskdale Fell. As the gradient slackens choosing the right one of many trods becomes a chore. Without wasting too much time we do find the descent track down to Wastwater. Oh, and if you've ever wondered if a stoker can have a bit of a snooze on the bach of a tandem, it is possible.

We left Staveley at 3:30 am and nearly 18 hours later we arrived at the Wasdale Head Inn. 64 miles and 9000' done.

By 10:30 we had the tent up and were in bed ready for sleep.

As forecast the weather changed overnight. The rain and wind arrived.

We were about half way in distance round the Lakeland 200 route in distance, though not effort or time, there was some serious ground to cover in the big hills next. Whilst Tom was eating his "precious" sandwich for breakfast we discussed our options.

The wind against the side of the tent told me that heading up the Black Sail pass now was not a good idea. We plotted instead a route back on the road.

As we rode along Wastwater the wind kept on trying to blow us off the road. The tandem was like a sail.

Wet and just the right side of cold.

At Dalegarth Station back in the Eskdale valley we had breakfast and warmed our soaking outer layers on the radiator.

Minipips as you can see is now raring to ride up the 30% Hardknott pass.

Up the Hardknott without putting a toe down on a laden tandem is one of the toughest short things we've done. Team work and absolute determination nailed it though.

The rest of the ride back to Staveley was fairly uneventful other than the incessant rain.

It was great to get back to Wilfs just in time for a pot of tea before heading back home to see the girls.

99 miles and 12,400 for the two days. Tired but not so much that we didn't do 30 miles the day after.