Lakeland 200km

Driving home after a wet trip to Scotland over Easter the idea of doing the Lakeland self-supported 200km sprung into our heads.  The promise of  a 'window' of good weather beckoned us to have a go. 2 LONG DAYS of traversing the Lake District with nearly 7000metres of ascent.
Some people would disagree that we are not self-supported due to sharing a jetboiler and tent but to us it was an adventure and an opportunity to ride some of the best tracks in our eyes in the world.

First challenge was getting up when the alarm rang out at 5am. Full of porridge and off by 6.30 (still dark at this time of year until then). Steady, chilly start up and over to Ambleside via Jenkins Crag, over Loughrigg and down into Elterwater. The weather started warming up and layers shed as we reached Grizedale with a quick chat to the fox.

Bike messing after first hill including adding more air to rear shock
A quick chat with the Fox.  (I  asked him for some extra energy)


A fast flowing ride down Lawson Park landed us in Coniston with the opportunity to buy a second lunch at 12 ish as first lunch had already disappeared.  The next hill up towards Walna Scar had our lungs gasping for breath as the tarmac road got steeper and steeper, refusing to get off and walk after saying to my dad previously, "All tarmac rides are doable on a mtb!" As we pedaled towards the top of Walna Scar it became impossible and pushing was needed. From the top a quick blast and then Stephenson Ground with a quick stop to enjoy the sausage roll bought in Coniston.
Stephensons Ground pretty dry for this time of year.
A bit boggy in this section of Stephenson Ground
Enjoying start of descent off Stephenson Ground

A bumpy and exhilarating downhill to Seathwaite was enjoyed due to having full suspension bikes, down the road then up and over into Booth. The boggy part at the top required a push and beware of drainage ditches on the way down.  By this point energy levels low so PUB, coke, crisps and snickers have never tasted better.  After a rest the biking continued with a bit of a hike a bike past Burnmoor Tarn and down to Wasdale. Nobody else around by this time and we were tempted to camp by the tarn but the thought of a pub meal stirred us on to Wasdale Head.
Old Park Beck.  Glad I can lower me seat for this one (Fi)
Off we go
Scarfell massive
Heading up to Burnmoor tarn.
Eskdale Moor
MORE coke and burger and chips were appreciated. As people
 settled down to a cosy warm night in the pub the carrying began as we headed out of Wasdale with the light starting to fade.  Head torches were switched on as we continued up and over to Ennerdale.  Definitely not rideable in the dark would like to see someone try in the day.  Legs starting to give in we eventually set up camp by the river out of site of the youth hostel.  Liquids replenished, time for some zzzzzz before day 2.(6.30 till 10 didn't take long to fall asleep).

Head Torches on for Black Sail Pass

Plenty of pushing and hike a bike on Black Sail Pass
Alarm rang out again at 5 and slowly woke up to a few pains and groans.  Full of porridge and cup a soups we packed up as the sun was rising and headed towards Black Sail Hut.  The first carry began as we headed up Scarth Gap Pass and down into Buttermere, surprisingly more rideable than anticipated. After this up Honister Pass and joined the Borrowdale Bash twisting and swerving along the side of Derwent Water stopping for a second breakfast on the way. Made it into Kewsick with a detour to the co-op for food and then climbed up Spooney Green Lane for a loop round Glenderaterra Beck.

Sun rise day 2
Packed up and ready to go after camping
Black Sail hut

Looking down from Ennerdale Valley
                                                                                                         Scarth Gap Pass


                                                                                 Contouring round to Castle Crag descent
Glenderaterra Beck
                                                                           Ready for the descent
After that we crossed the main road and picked up the good 'Old' coach road.  This took us to High Row and then we meandered down the country lanes to Pooley Bridge.  Quick fuel up on coke and crisps at the pub before we contoured round Bonscale Pike to Martindale.  From here we pushed the bikes up to Boarddale Hause for magnificent views.  A skiddy downhill greated us on the other side, before long we were in Hartsop preparing ourselves for 'High Street'.  Heading up here seemed more difficult than previous times. Legs getting tired as a push, carry, ride, push, carry, ride began until we reached the top of High Street, worth all the pain as the views from the top stretched for miles. Along to Thornthwaite Beacon and then dropping down the side of Hagg Gill for a fast flowing descent.
Zooming along the Old Coach road

Looking out onto High Street

Dusk approaching us

Fi back on the bike after the big carry

Getting closer to the end

Snow still around!

The end was getting closer as we started up Garburn normally clear-able this way but not tonight with bags and legs that were definitely feeling full of concrete.  A speedy descent down the baby head sized boulders as we tried to press on before we needed headtorches.  Light was definitely dwindling by this point and we made it up to the top of Kentmere Hall before we gave in and put the headtorches on. The final descent of three rivers with headtorches (Glad a knew this descent) was greatly appreciated before we made our way along the tarmac to Staveley with smiles slowly appearing on our faces knowing we had completed it under the 40 hours whilst enjoying 2 brilliant days of weather, riding, pushing, carrying, views and company.

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