We actually managed to break one, bend another & the other two obviously weren't trying hard enough!! :-)
The Filling Station cafe on day 1,
Gaz, Mark & I turned up as Geoff had family duties keeping him at home... Mark had had a few problems with fuelling on the cold DR650, which almost meant a return trip back to the Midlands for him, however the magic engine gods stepped in & it suddenly started to run fine, so off to Keswick we went.
After a huge cup of coffee it was off to St John's in the Vale for a the first two lanes of the day, Mark hadn't seen either of them & promptly got a good sweat on doing the first two uphill sections. The weather wasn't quite as good as the last time I did these two lanes, but the views were easily as fab!
Once we'd passed a local farmer, a few walkers & a couple of mountain bikers, all with a friendly wave & a smile, we dropped back to the tarmac at Dockray & headed down to ride along Ullswater, heading over Kirkstone Pass & dropping down the Struggle into Ambleside to pick up a bit of fuel for Gaz's bike.
That lane drops us down towards Windemere, so we caught the ferry across the lake & headed up past Knipe Tarn, stopping to collect Mark's gear lever at one point as it fell off for some reason, then headed down into the limestone area west of Kendal. A stop in Kendal at the KTM bike shop, Triple D, where we replaced an engine mount bolt that had vibrated off Mark's bike & had a good gossip with the boys there about all things KTM.
Are you starting to notice a trend here yet??
After Kendal, we headed back northwards to pick up a new lane, the Breast High Lane. This basically killed Mark's bike & left all of us totally knackered. I'm crap at uphills, so dropped the bike 4 times, it's pretty steep as a lane but very good to do, there is lots of loose big rocks which have been put down to protect the soil underneath which makes the going hard work. Mark & Gaz both found it fairly straight forward
Once at the top we stopped for the obligatory pictures, decided it was too windy to stop for long & headed down hill. For me this was difficult, but OK, I sat down sometimes, stood up at others, shifted my weight around & generally crept down to wait at the bottom for the boys, a good history of mountain biking helps here I reckon... I did bend my footpeg on the up though... oops...
Gaz was having a little epic, it turned out, he stalled the big old XT on a steep bit of the downhill, then as it was a kick start he couldn't hold the bike & kick start it & we were quite a ways downhill, unaware of this...
he crept down the hillside, nearly dropping the bike as he hit a large rock & with no engine power couldn't pop over it... he arrived looking pretty tense & again commenting on the difficulty of the terrain...
Fab adventure all round then!! :-)
|What up there???|
Mud, gates, some very bumpy farmland took us up towards Dalston & a stop at Mickey D's for some late breakfast. After this we headed down to the Eden Valley to explore some of the lanes over there. They were very good it has to be said, some sand, some mud, some very pretty villages, then a blast up Hartside, saw us drinking tea at the cafe with all the other bikers out on their toys on a Sunday.
|The perfect sign!!|
That was two days of great riding, some 230 miles covered with about 50% offroad, this is what we wanted!!
Geoff & I used this as our final test & training run for the bikes & both of us felt we'd done plenty of stuff that would see us through on the TAT trail,
trip out with the lads from Batley in January, the bikes had proved
|Alston Moor lanes|
Quick update on Mark's DR650... the piston has a hole in it, so he needs a new engine as the cost of a rebuild is more than the bikes value, that's another project for the winter now!!
He's looking for a replacement now, maybe a Suzuki DR400 E, time will tell I guess...
|Hartside Cafe, bikers heaven... :-)|