Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Friday, 29 August 2014

Going big in the Goyt Valley

I'd told myself I'd do lots of biking (training - for Septembers race) this week, but got tempted away with climbing earlier in the week! I thought, okay I need to actually get on the bike today and the weather looked good in Derbyshire so that's where I headed.

Love the sustrans routes, wouldn't want a racer on this one!


The route heads North from Buxton, has a deep ford on it, loops through the Goyt Valley, up to the Cat and Fiddle before heading back off road on a rough track.

Playing in the woods

Nearly back.....
It was a favourite of mine when I lived in Derbyshire, and I noticed in my book that the fasted time I've ridden it is 2 hrs 5 mins, and the slowest is over 3 hrs 30 mins (in the snow). I was reasonably quick today but did get distracted by some unofficial trails in the forest that I played on when it rained. To celebrate actually riding my bike today I finished with a massive 'club sandwich' in Buxton, which I guess negates all the hard work - but it was good!

Hmm club sandwich.....

Weeks off are quite tiring!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Duddon valley bush walk

We headed deep into the Lakes today for a spot of climbing. The idea was to explore a little and climb at some of the smaller crags/buttresses we hadn't been to, but after an interesting tussle with one such route (Leprechaun, MVS) we ditched this plan and instead thoroughly enjoyed 3 excellent and clean VS routes; Western Wall, The Plum and Bryanston (very Tremadog-esque), before the bullet train (Ben's car) took us home.

Wallowbarrow Crag

Contemplating life tied to a Holly tree while Ben 'explores'

Ben looking for 'hope'.....

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Cragging in Borrowdale

Due to the below average August temperatures and forecast of high winds we avoided the higher crags today (would have been too cold) and found shelter at Black Crag, Borrowdale.

The start of The Shroud
Just taking in the view (waiting patiently...)

Just one more bit of gear....

Initially in the shade (chilly) we climbed The Shroud, an interesting VS were the guidebook description didn't quite match what we found higher up costing us (Ben!) some time (it said traverse 7m, in the end you had to go 10-12m if you must know...).

Gear of the day.....
We then thought we had climbed Troutdale Pinnacle Direct (another VS), which bizarrely I found easier than the classic easier route to the top which is graded as Severe. However on closer inspection of the guidebooks it appears that we actually did a 5b variant first pitch! Confusing........

Due to a late start (getting here at midday), we decided to call it a day after 2 great routes.

Troutdale Pinnacle

Here he comes (on Pinnacle Direct)....
Ben needing a rest on the Pinnacle
Great views

Monday, 25 August 2014

Fun in the Dales

On Sunday we went out mountain biking in the Yorkshire Dales with Jane and Mike. Rachel was meant to be joining us too, but unfortunately was too busy dating.....

The 3 musketeers on nice tracks gaining height on the outward section
We headed out of a cold Settle on the long grind up towards Malham Tarn, soon getting hot with the uphill and the improving sunshine. I surprised myself by managing to ride a couple of the more technical bits that normally result in pushing.

At the high point looking to Malham Tarn and hoping the ice cream van is there!
The drop down towards Malham Tarn was initially great until a run in with an obnoxious walker who refused to let us pass on the bridleway (grr ). We didn't let this bad apple spoil things for too long and we enjoyed a 99 ice cream before a loop of the Tarn - which was busy (justifiably always is).

Malham Tarn
Heading back was initially slow going as we tried an alternative bridleway that was very boggy and being a ride/push/ride type track. It was bliss to get to the end of the boggy section and hit the fast flowing trail back towards Settle with great views of Pen y Ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside stretched out ahead of us.

Looking back to the Tarn from the boggy track...

Pen y Ghent poking out (above Mikes head)

Jane and Mike on the fast return track
All was going well until a slight error on my part (I was messing around pulling wheelies!) ended up in a dramatic 'dive', bruises and tail between legs for the last downhill of the day back into Settle.

Biker dude!

Jane trying to get a lift home....
We enjoyed the atmosphere of the busy market town from Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe. An unusual trike/motorbike caught our eye, which looked like it was from the film Mad Max. I asked the owner, who was liberally covered in tattoo's and sporting a purple beard if I could take a picture of it. His reply of, 'as long as you aren't with the police' summed up the experience quite well.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Leg stretcher to Sunderland Point

Abi had noticed that there was a fund raiser for sea defences at Sunderland Point today so we decided to cycle over. Sunderland Point is only a stones throw from us, but on the opposite side of the river Lune's estuary. We last visited here when we first moved up to Lancashire and hadn't been back since. I think its probably because to get there you have to go North of the river, queue in Asda traffic, bypass the grotty industrial zone and hang a left by the nuclear power station.....


Looking back over the estuary to home turf
However, its definitely worth it. The dead end approach road is tidal, which adds drama when cycling on it and not sure which way the tide is going. Whilst over at the point we enjoyed a cake stop, admired the views back inland to the Bowland Fells we call home and also went to pay our respects at Sambo's Grave.

Sambo's Grave
Sambo's Grave is the burial site of a cabin boy/slave in a field near Sunderland Point. Years back this was an important port serving cotton, sugar and slave ships from the West Indies and North America. It is thought that he arrived by ship in 1736, sadly died here and was buried on this unconsecrated ground (as he wasn't a Christian) by the sea. Hard to imagine these times now, the slavery and the fact that this area was a major port - now long gone and I guess replaced by motor transport and air freight/travel.

Before heading back we enjoyed a cake stop in the sun looking across the estuary to Glasson Dock, and Abi bought a beautiful mug from Liz a Dolphinholme 'artist in residence' (check out her 'stuff' here -  Liz's ceramics ).

Cake time

Holiday vibe
Time for home, lets hope we can beat the tide and get out....

Friday, 15 August 2014

Day on the farm (and mountain biking!)....

I made the most of my day off by heading to Derbyshire rather early (6.30am)! Maybe I was a little too early, the drive/traffic was quiet, but I arrived in Hope (Derbyshire) before the cafe opened! A 20 minute snooze ensued as I waited for the famous old school Woodbine cafe to open at 9am. It was worth the wait and I enjoyed a massive egg and bacon 'bap'.

Hope Cross

The weather looked promising and I struggled to climb the first hill on my planned 35km Dark Peak blast. I'd forgotten how 'gritty' and tough on the bikes this area is. Within minutes I could hear the grit literally wearing away the parts as I pedalled onwards.

Heather in flower
At the top of the first climb I got onto the old Roman road (sometimes known as Doctor's Gate) and cruised across the top to Hope Cross. Hope Cross stands 7 feet high with a capstone on top and originated in 1737. It lies at the crossroads of an important packhorse route through the Peak District.

The old Roman road

detour through the forest
After enjoying the following descent I had a scary encounter with two stray bulls, and had to change route as I couldn't get past them on the narrow road (they stared at me and started stamping their front feet). This detour was a good move as I ended up on a track I'd never cycled before through some nice woods.

Here comes the rain....
Sheltering in the forest
Soon after this the rain started and even though I put every bit of clothing on, it didn't really help, within minutes I was soaked. The rain eventually cleared, and it was sunny again as I hit the last section.

After a quick change into dry clothes I headed to mums to catch up with the family and see Lyndsey's ducks. After a good catch up it was then off to see Amy at the farm and check out their new rotary milking parlour. Very swish, however I was a little surprised that I got a very close demonstration of AI (artificial insemination) as Amy had to quickly 'serve' a cow before tea.......


Monkeys in the garden...

The new rotary parlour

2 week old bullock

Start them young....

on the farm....


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Back on the Grit (stone!)....

Originally I was hoping to get out on a long mountain bike ride on Sunday with Steve, but after getting caught in a thunder and lightning storm on a short bike ride on the Saturday, with an equally poor forecast for Sunday a rethink was in order....

Ben on Trapeze Direct VS 4C
The weather looked great in the Peak District so I headed to Froggatt Edge for a days climbing with Ben. I've not climbed on gritstone for over a year and not been to Froggatt for ages so it was great to get back. 

Terrace Crack VS 4B

We managed to climb 8 routes between HS and HVS today, which was pretty good. Although short routes, I'd forgotten how tiring grit can be, and my arms and shoulders feel like they have had a great workout after today.  

Tody's Wall, at full stretch, if only I was an inch taller...

The hard bit (I'm telling myself its just like hopping over a wall!)

The fine upper crack of Tody's Wall
Me top roping the same route in 1995 (My early years learning to climb)!!!!

All of the routes were fun, but my highlight was Tody's Wall, a great HVS 5a that requires commitment to get over the lip (it took me awhile!). The weather forecast was also on the ball, being sunny all day and at times a little too hot. Gritstone rules.....