XT660R Heaven

XT660R Heaven
Life on the road is fab...

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Training days in Cumbria

All packed up...
Geoff arrived Monday evening, we at once headed out to the village pub for a catch up & a gossip... after a couple of nice beers, the plan for the days ahead was hatched, with some grand plans to do some of the more famous fell passes in the Lakes, as well as a few of the green lanes around West Cumbria, dropping to the south for a play around the Kendal/Stavely area... lots of lanes, lots of miles, the perfect way to test the bikes, the kit & of course us!!

Day 1. Tuesday morning arrived, bacon & eggs for breakfast of course! ;-), then load up the bikes with the bags & head out... as forecast it was peeing down, it had rained most of the night & the day promised high winds, more rain & grey skies, it is the Lakes after all!!
Undeterred we set off out of the village romping through puddles & mud within 10 minutes of leaving the house... We headed over towards the Caldbeck fells, then closer to Penrith before heading down to Keswick & the new bikers cafe there, lovely place & pretty friendly too, plus you can park your bike right outside the window.. even better!! A big cup of coffee & some great carrot cake set me up for the afternoon adventure...
Geoff meets the Chicken!

We headed to Lorton to do the couple of easy fell lanes that head over towards the west coast, wondering all the time if there were any decent biking allowed in the forests at Whinlatter, there seems to be loads of walking, mountain biking etc so what about motorbikes? have to check that one out, that would be fab...
We did the first of the Lorton lanes, then on the descent I managed to drop heavily into a rut which was full of rocks, one of these compressed the tyre loads & I had a puncture... this is where the fun began!
We found out Geoff had bought a nasty set of allen keys from Ebay, they snapped at the first turn, leaving the end of the allen key wedged in the nut head... bugger... duct tape saved the day, we managed to 'stick it' out of the head.. phew.. then we realised we hadn't another allen key to loosen the nut off...bugger again... so we decided to get out the little compressor that Geoff had in his bag, blow the tyre up & head to Pica where my memory tells me there was a bike shop...
We set off & ended up in Whitehaven, mainly through my crap nav on little back roads... stopping at Central Motor Cycles... great place... I hadn't been here for years, but the guy there was sooo helpful, we had a right good crack & as he was too busy to change the tube for me, he lent us the tools to get the job done plus a jack to stand the bike on, FAB!! this is when we realised that we only had one tyre lever between us... mmm more borrowing of gear needed... anyhow we sorted out the replacement tube & by this time was hungry so dropped into a supermarket for some food, Tesco's was right opposite Central bikes so sandwiches & juice followed.
Once sorted we set off for Eskdale with a plan to camp somewhere down there as the day was now wearing on, instead we ended up at the National Trust campsite in Langdale having found the start of our green lane for tomorrow, ridden both Hardknott Pass & Wrynose Pass... it was wet, windy but great fun!

Once we'd pitched camp we headed to the Old Dungeon Ghyll for a beer, it turned out we needed to eat here to as I'd forgotten to fill up the fuel bottle for the stove... on purpose or forgetfulness.. I'll let you decide!
So a couple of beers later, some Cumberland sausage & chips & plenty of chat with various people saw us fed & content & heading back to the tents.
Day 2 - We headed back up & past Blea Tarn, then took the trail to Tilberthwaite Quarry, however we branched off & headed round into Hodge Close instead, mainly because this trail looks a little less technical... big bikes, luggage... not good for full on trail riding.... once through Hodge, we headed out onto an ace little lane that took us over towards Hawkshead. From here we followed a short trail called Scar House Lane & eventually headed down to the ferry across Windemere.

Looking the business at Hodge Close

Hodge Close Lake
Ferry chat...

We had a brew at the cafe in the marina just next to the ferry, then headed out up over Green Lane, which was lovely lane, plenty of ups & downs & one short hard rock step... Once back on tarmac we headed south, picking up a small lane, where Geoff had an off into a ditch, I wasn't there to see it, when he caught me up the sweat was pouring form him, bloody hard hauling these bikes out of a ditch, especially on your tod! We left this area by heading down towards Crosthwaite & the byway that heads around the northern part of Whitbarrow where the surface changes to a limestone & mud lane, slippy & good fun as the back end steps out fairly regularly....

Food time now so we headed to Kendal for a brew & a butty, before heading back north to pick up a couple of lanes just off the A6.. the first was a tiny lane, just wide enough for a bike, the second was rough, a farm track which climbed back towards the A6 after traversing a lane with soooo many gates on it.I had an off on a rutted bit of field track here, front wheel hit the edge of the rut, then slid from under the bike, I rolled off the side & down the grassy bank in a full on head first first session... when I got back to my feet Geoff was wetting himself laughing so hard...

We had plans to do the BreastThigh Lane that goes up & over Borrowdale Fell, but missed the entrance to it, so decided to carry on to Pooley Bridge & pick up the Little Mell Fell lane which had great views... after this we headed back up through Mungrisdale & Hesket Newmarket heading back to my place & a well earned cuppa!

Heading downhill to Kendal

The perfect bit of signage!

All in all the 2 days had gone well, we'd tested everything & were generally happy with how it all worked, the bikes were great... the only problems were I lost a fairing screw, it must have rattled out somewhere but it meant I had to keep my left knee on the fairing panel so it didn't blow off as we razzed down the roads & Geoff's bike had a wobbly wheel bearing, which he thought was only a matter of time anyway as the bike had been handling funny since he got it!

I'd managed to visit a whole load of places I'd never been too in the Lakes, even after living here for nearly 20 years & we'd both learned a fair bit about riding some rough trails.. great stuff! And we still have the big passes to do because we bailed as the weather was a bit too bad for us novice trail riders!! :-)

Happy days on 2 wheels!!