I've never ridden the permissive track but it was really nice a few steep sections, a bit of rolling along some rock steps, some I had to have two goes at but it was a nice track. It joined back up with the other bridleway just in time for a steep loose climb (I had hoped it would miss that) that I spun out on and couldn't restart. A short push then back on eventually reaching the road.
Some good riding on the bridleway to Baysbrown, I really enjoyed it, quite wet in places but any stream crossings were actually quite shallow. I actually decided against the bridleway up through the woods from Elterwater, I remembered it as steep an rooty and a bit of a push so I decided to take the road round thinking it would be more rideable and less steep, wrong on both counts!
Joined back up with some rideable stuff then headed down to the ford at Little Langdale, waterproof had gone back on at some point prior as it was cold again. Zoomed down the road towards the ford, passed a couple of MTBers going the other way then approached the ford. No intention of riding it as I knew it would be very full today but I hadn't bargained on the depth of the puddles just before it. The first one was fine, deepish but not too bad. Second one was a lot deeper and I had to give a big push to the pedals to keep from stopping.
The bridge is looking somewhat rickety I have to say! Then off towards Hodge Close. I set off on what I thought was the way but the Garmin told me I was off course. Thinking I was being daft as usual I rode back to the ford as a known point and got the map out, checked it, sure I was correct so headed off the same way again. Garmin told me I was off course again.
Maybe I had plotted it in wrong (unlikely) so I set off on the other choice of track but it got to tarmac which I knew wasn't right and the Garmin said I was off course again. So I'm wrong whichever way I go? I was in some tree cover so headed back to the ford, set off on the original choice again. It said I was off course, I ignored it and about a minute later it told me I had found the course again! Think the tree cover was upsetting it.
I was approaching one of my favourite little climbs in the Lakes, a short push up a slate covered track where the slate is almost musical as you go over it. Except I couldn't clean it, no matter what line I chose. Bah. It was a stream, lots of water running down it so no tinkly slate as the water muffled it and it has washed lots of big chunks down which I kept getting bogged down it. Its normall like the foreground section here, lots of small slate with the odd slightly thicker piece:
But it was a lot rougher than that, especially up near the wall. After three attempts and knowing I still had two tough climbs to come I pushed. Not a happy bunny, lots of big bits of slate though and lots of water:
Next, the pig of a climb up Arnside Intake, not a favourite as it hurts a lot but I usually clear it. Like a lot of the other tracks today it has had a lot of loose stuff washed down it and annoyingly I managed to climb until about a bike length away from where it eases off when my rear wheel spun out and I couldn't get it back. Pah. In order to get a good go at it again I would have to go down a fair way so just scootered up a bit and got going again - I'm not that annoyed at not cleaning it.
I had a butty break at Iron Keld then down towards Hawkshead ready for the worst climb of the day. I was actually feeling a little disappointed as I knew that once the climb was out the way I wasn't that far away from the car. Another bit of navigational faff but I got to where I should be then almost at the bridleway up from Colthouse the Garmin said I was off course. I didn't think I'd missed it as I knew I was looking for a big deer gate but I rolled back anyway.
It was wrong (more tree problems possibly), I was right and I got back on the bridleway. I knew this one was going to hurt, I knew I wouldn't ride it all but I had a go at it all. It was quite wet and very loose and very steep in parts. I had a couple of "regroups" on flatter bits. Pushed up a few short bits where I couldn't keep pedalling. My legs were really starting to feel it, I was suddenly pleased the car wasn't too far away!
I got really worried for a guy descending it on an MTB purely because he was riding so slow and nervously. This bridleway is part of the Hawkshead trail race (both as an up and down). I ran all of it as an ascent at the start of that race and I now fully understand why my legs died on me at Far Sawrey! Ouch.
The top finally came, a bit of forestry track then onto one of my favourite parts of Claife Heights, the open area with the tarns, lovely, the sun was out too:
Fast down to Far Sawrey, past the pub then brace for the loose climb to the gate.....which has been sanitised. A bit of a reprieve for my tired legs but now very boring. Soon at the top of the last descent of the day, one of my favourites and the reason I chose to do the ride this way.
Saddle down as it can have its moments, some slippy sections at speed and rode it much faster that was really sensible on my own, hee hee. I didn't have any skaty moments at all for a change, excellent fun all the way down. From there it is an easy undulating spin back to the car.
The water level of Windermere was very, very high. On the last section of track before the climb (I always forget that little climb) back up to the car the lake eventually was high enough to pour onto the track. A couple of very deep puddles to wash the bike off:
So whilst I didn't ride in Rydal Water I technically rode in Windermere. Hope noone wants to get in here soon:
Pack up, hose bike off. The bloke parked up next to me was absolutely fascinated by the Dirt Worker. A quick trip into Ambleside to visit Lakes Runner before getting a slice of Bath bun from the Apple Pie Shop - decided a whole apple pie was excessive. Then drove home.