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Lake District (and Ae)

posted 29 Oct 2013, 13:39 by Jon Bowyer
Friday 18th - Sunday 20th October 2013 

An appallingly bad weather forecast saw only a few brave souls head down to Ambleside in the Lake District for October's weekend meet... The hope was that the worst of the weather would pass by overnight with clearer weather coming through on Saturday. Sadly it just wasn't to be, but the mountain bikers still had plenty of fun!

Mountain biking report (Alex): 
Dan and I had originally planned a classic full day out on Saturday across the Gatescarth and Nan Bield passes with his mate, but heavy rain made it look like a bad idea. We all met up in Staveley, where Jonty showed us round two trails called Green Quarter and Three Rivers. Wet, but great fun - though the mud, water and grit made life hard on our components. Gears and adjustable seatposts took a hit and siezed up a bit!

Sunday was pretty similar, so the plan was to visit the "Altura Trail" loops at Whinlatter, then break up the journey home by popping into Ae Forest on the way back. The rain was heavy to start with, as we unpacked and wrapped ourselves in still-soggy waterproofs, but the day just got better and better, and we were soon ragging down the trails in blue skies and stunning surroundings.

Was looking good for Ae, too, until we got there! Then the rain came back. The 19km "Ae Line" route started out good, but we were getting a little trail-centre fatigued by the end - the rolling undulations can wear pretty thin into the 40th kilometre, and we were pretty peeved that the much-feted "Omega Man" descent actually proved to be more than three-quarters climbing! We came out of it higher than where we'd dropped in. But still, a final, jumpy blast to the car park in the rain, and we both agreed it was a day well spent, and definitely the right plan for the conditions!


Hillwalking report (Jon): Hazel & I had planned to catch up with Sarah on Saturday for a hillwalk up the Old Man of Coniston / Wetherlam and optimistically drove down there hoping the weather would improve a bit by the time we arrived. Sadly the reverse happened and with persistent driving rain even down at the valley floor (and recent experience on the CIC weekend having proven conclusively that my 6 year old gore-tex isn't all that waterproof anymore) we all decided this was not a recipe for an enjoyable day! So instead we went for a low level walk through the trees along Coniston Water, followed by some coffee shop bagging in Hawkshead and Ambleside and some shameless gear shopping! The valley weather did improve a bit in the afternoon (though not on the hills) before closing in again with thunder and lightning rounding off the day as we headed to the White Lion to meet up with the others for a pub dinner and a drink. Dan then impressed us all with his herculean consumption of multiple jumbo burgers :)

Sarah was back at work on Sunday, but Hazel & I had hoped to sneak up Skiddaw before heading home to salvage some hillwalking from the weekend, however the weather was every bit as hostile as it had been the day before so we made a sharp escape from the Lakes and headed to a much drier Northumberland for a forest and moorland walk before heading home.