A few days after my last post
went live on Pinkbike I received an email via my website from a Swiss mountain biker planning a trip to the UK with some others. He was after someone with a bit of local knowledge to show them the loop. We were in touch on and off via email as the date neared. As it turned out my schedule was looking pretty busy that weekend so I contacted a few friends to try and find someone able to show them the ropes. Without much luck I decided to travel back to the lakes specifically for the ride from Newcastle, not a tough choice given how much I love riding my bike there!Helvellyn summit sat in the cloud from Whiteside
We’d planned to ride the loop late Friday afternoon taking advantage of the long summer evenings, the weather forecast had been looking promising with clouds due to clear in the early evening hopefully giving way to some sunshine into the golden hour. Travelling over the Pennines I grabbed my first glimpse of the northern Lake District fells, shrouded in hill fog. It wasn’t looking so promising anymore – although in this part of the world there’s an old saying "if you don’t like the weather wait 10 minutes."Looking over a grey Keswick to Skiddaw and Bassenthwaite from White Side
Arriving in Glenridding I sent my contact – Bas, a WhatsApp after locating their car. I wasn’t sure what to expect - a bit like a blind date. Meeting the group at the car was a relief, first impressions were a great bunch of guys who oozed enthusiasm and spoke good English. A real mix of nationalities; Swiss, Dutch, Austrian and myself British all brought together by bikes! Without hesitation we ventured on up riding along the bridleway to greenside mines and the YHA, past this the going gets steep. We climb along into Keppel Cover to the base of the zip-zags where the ride becomes a push. From here we have a great view up the valley onto the summit sat in the cloud.
Eventually we break out onto the path between White Side and Raise, we head left up onto White Side where it is decided we shall begin heading back down via Sticks Pass as one of the guys is suffering cramps in his leg. Helvellyn summit still sits in the cloud coupled with a strong cross wind giving a chill of -5, best not to hang around up here then!Off to a good start.
We rode the loose descent down White Side before ascending Raise to 883m the highest point in the ride.Group photo on the moonscape that is the summit of Raise
After a group photo for the visitors, it was time to hit the descent, breaking it down into sections for safety and photo opportunities. The loose rock typical of the area was proving a fun challenge for the group! Into the switchbacks gave some exciting spectating, lots of line choice!Endo to get it around!Keep it low on the jump to make the turn.The trail hugs the side of the gulley.Stream beds crossing the path add a technical challenge.The trail winds its way through the old quarry and into the final zig-zags.Boni keeping it together over a slab of bedrock.Bas cutting into the edge of the trail to find the best line.Grehard coming in towards the mines.
Back at the bottom the grey clouds gave way to some fantastic golden light - typical but I think it niggled me the most being one with the camera. We headed into the Travellers Rest for a well-deserved pub dinner and a pint of Helvellyn Gold! http://tristantinn.co.uk