Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Monday, 28 April 2014

Shiny bikes, fine trails and artisan coffee...

It was slightly tricky organising yesterdays mountain bike ride to fit in with people's other commitments, but I'm sooooo glad that we managed to because we had a great day.

Steve's new bike and Abi's test bike, the 'Juliana'

Abi was demoing a posh bike from Bike Treks, and Steve arrived with his brand new shiny Whyte M109s, which weighed about as much as a toaster. My bike and Rachel's were suitably 'well loved' (dirty with rusty chains)!

Great views looking North
Rachel storming....
We headed South from Ambleside on some newish cycle tracks that avoid the road (nice tracks), before getting to Wray Castle, where we happened upon a cycle event. One poor competitor from the South of England (I now consider Stoke the border between the South and North) had lost his BMW car key somewhere on the course (!!!). We promised to keep an eye out for it as we headed into the forests of Claife Heights.

Abi flying

Messing around on the rocks
The tracks were great, I'd last been here in 2009, and had forgotten how nice it is. We started noticing various rubbish/debris on the trail, tyre levers, a packet of wet wipes, rubber clothes, and then I spotted the car key. It looks like his bag had been shedding bits of kit for a mile or so. Pretty lucky that I spotted the key as it was small and quite well hidden. It looked like the actual key was missing, or maybe it was a keyless push button car. Anyway we sent the key back with another rider.

Steve and the new steed....

Hanging out....

Steve and Abi were both flying on their bikes (maybe 29ers do rock) as we blasted some down hill towards Sawrey.  We stopped at an amazing artisan cafe, Frithy's at Far Sawrey and had a great coffee. I just wish that I'd taken more money as the cakes looked amazing....

Great stop off

The mighty coffee.....
We blasted back along the West shore of Windermere. It looked like some areas were getting rain, but it stayed dry all day for us. Brilliant 25 km ride......

Steve and the wild garlic

Lovely bluebells

Monday, 21 April 2014

7 Stanes - Newcastleton

I seem to getting in a fair bit of biking at the moment (yay) and today we headed to Newcastleton, another of the 7 Stanes mountain biking centres in Southern Scotland just over the border.

'Stane' is the Scots word for stone and each of these 7 centres has a stone sculpture reflecting local myth, legend of history.

Shaw riding single speed at this point after a 'mechanical'
It was sunny and warm and we had a great time on the trails. Unfortunately Shaw managed to sheer off his rear derailleur on a jump, but luckily we were very near to the end of the trail at this point.

Judith on the attack..

Shaw too quick for my camera!!
I was really impressed with this trail and its my fave so far, the uphill never seemed a drag and much of the trail went through deep, lush older growth forest.

I spy.....

Loved this part of the forest

Saturday, 19 April 2014

High up in the Yorkshire Dales

I was contemplating if we'd made the right decision on route choice for today's mountain bike ride as we sat in the car at Malham.  The car said it was 5 degrees outside and there was an icy wind blowing and my thoughts turned to the lovely warm sheltered valleys below.

Keeps climbing

Abi and Mike showing us how its done

I needn't have worried as we had a great ride from Malham Tarn over Lee Gate to Littondale (great grassy decent), before heading to Kilnsey for a 'Yorkshire Rarebit' and break at Trout World. We then had the delight of the return trip back over Mastiles Lane, which was improved greatly by a cunning diversion up the dry valley (to break up the endless climbing!). 

Endless skies

Lots of uphill to come

Simpsons sky
I bet the Lakes will have been pretty full today, but amazingly we didn't see another mountain biker all day (and very few walkers). It sounds mean but it was probably good for us that Jane had a chest infection today because I don't think that we would have kept up if she had been at full fitness. A great half day on the bikes.

Jane in fine form

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Norman the Newt

I made a new friend this week, Norman the newt. I found the poor common newt in the middle of the road one night this week and initially thought it was dead as it was stationary/very still with two legs sticking up into the air. First newt I've seen.

Here comes Norman

It seemed to revitalise when I picked it up, maybe it was the heat from my hand. I wanted to keep it under the bed (Chris Packham style), but released it into a suitable area near to the Church yard near some water. I miss Norman, hope I'll see him again one day.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Goodbye old friend....

I know materialism can be 'bad', and although I'm a reasonably proactive consumer I do agree that...

“ is the preoccupation with possessions, more than anything else that prevents us from living freely and nobly.” 
― Bertrand Russell

I'm sure that we all have items that travel with us in life for awhile, and are important. They may function perfectly for our set need, be beautiful, be unique, or often all of this and so much more.  

Outdoorsy folk all have bits of 'kit' that have a special place in their lives, and on top of it doing 'the' job, I think these items are also important because of the intense experiences we share with them, and the memories that they then can evoke. 

Rest now camel.....  the new pretender has a lot to live up to.
So with regret I have to say goodbye to my old faithful Camelbak rucksack (that's not even mine!), its been in many scrapes with me, climbing, mountain biking, skiing and everything else for over 10 years. I hoped we would have longer together, for the numerous holes could have been patched, but now that your two zips have failed I'm afraid our paths must diverge.

Rest awhile under the stairs dear friend and fear not, for every time I look upon you it will fill me with fond memories and make me smile, you never let me down....