Ride no. 19 consisted of the second day of a three-day mountain bike tour of the South Lakes. We left off from Day 1 in the Hawkshead Youth Hostel after a big ol’ day in the pouring rain. Day 2 dawned with grey clouds but no rain (hoorah!), so off we went with tea and oats in our bellies.
The first order of the day was a steep bridleway climb out the back of the tiny, quirky Hawkshead. Legs, arms, core, back – lots of bits on our bodies started protesting to the first ascent of the day, the muscles just didn’t seem to want to wake up. We dropped into the purpose-built tracks of Grizedale Forest, where we aimed to spend most of the day riding. Lots of wooden bridges over the boggy bits (plenty of those), and some fallen trees over the trail made for an entertaining ride. Eventually we popped out at the visitors centre where we were greeted to friendly staff and some very welcome coffee.
Set off from the cafe to do some more rounds of Grizedale forest while the weather held. I find that Grizedale forest has some rad bridleway riding that is more fun to ride than the purpose built tracks. Granted, the purpose built stuff is some of the oldest in the UK (classic?), so it isn’t fair to compare really. Breasty Haw is a particularly rad bridleway, and as I’ve claimed before, one of the best bridleway descents I’ve ever ridden! If you’re in Grizedale forest doing the rounds of the mountain bike trails, I would give Breasty Haw a go … plus it’s got a funny name :P.
After a dash down Breasty, there was a road ride down to the ‘ferry’ that goes over to Windermere from the Furness Fells by Coniston water. It’s a brilliant idea, as you can feel quite remote over in Grizedale forest, and with a £1 ferry fare, you can be over in Windermere in mere minutes. One ferry ride and a long, steep road slog out of Bowness later, Jack and I found ourselves completely zoned out at the Booths cafe in Windermere. The only thing that got me up the last bitch of a hill from the ferry was the knowledge that a soya latte was waiting for me at the top – and it was damn good!
By this point we were both absolutely knackered. We left Booths in the fading light, packs full of food for dinner (and after-dinner snacks), and cycled up the steep mile-long hill that leads to the Windermere Youth Hostel. After much food, some showering, stretching, and reading, we both went to bed, dreaming of sunshine for the following day.