Hight Street Ridge via The Knott, High Raise, Ullswater and Boredale
After three weeks of MTB starvation I was in the mood for a decent ride. It had to be a challenge and in the high mountains of the Lake District. The weather looked OK but you never know in the Lakes, it has a climate of its own, usually wet! I was lucky today with a sky of broken cloud and a half decent temperature. I parked the car at Hartsop heading up the track past the farm soon realising this was going to be tough. After about ten minutes riding I was pushing already.
I noticed a group of five infront of me so kept going with a few breaks to catch my breath. The ground levelled for a short while and to the dam wall of Hayeswater. I passed some pleasantaries with the lads, who were a little uncommunicative, and headed up a very steep section towards The Knott. This was a lung buster. I had forgotten how uncomfortable a bike was on the back!! I paused on a number of occasions to take photos for mbpost of course! Nothing to do with the fact I was totally shot. My wife's comments ringing in my ears, "You are totally mad taking a bike up there!" I was beginning to think she had a point! Onward and upward I went with the five lads behind.
After a brief rest and exchange of photo taking I carried on, getting a second wind. On reaching The Knott and onto the dramatically named Straits of Riddingdale, a huge 360 degree vista of peaks opened out before me. Awesome! This was why I was here. The troubles and tribulations of work etc faded in an instant as I powered up to a large cairn taking in the views across to Ullswater, Kidsey Pike and High Raise.
On reaching the top of High Raise (2619ft) the High Street ridge lay before me. This is a grassy top which is downhill for 6 miles. Not technical at all, which was a little disappoint as that is my favourite surface. But who cares the scenary more than made up for it. The moorland here is quite unusal at this time of the year as it is peppered with plants producing white tufts of cotton type material. I'm not a botanist so I haven't a clue what they were but they looked amazing.
The trail pealed off to the left and down to Ullswater, still downhill and a bit more technical. I was starving by now and stopped off at a small bridge and ford near Howtown, to eat my cheese butties. I caught my breath and replenished my calories knowing there was at least one last big climb to come! A couple of guys shot through the ford so I got them on the camera!! Never saw those youngsters who were with me at the start. Made me feel good!! How sad!!
Ready for the challenge to come, I washed my shades in the brook and jumped on the bike and headed for Boredale. I hit the small lane and entered Boredale. I saw a scar on the steep side of the hill infront of me and thought, "That can't be the final climb.....surely?!" Oh yes it was, and it was steep. With the bike on the back again I slowly and wearily toiled up to Boredale Hause. The top! My heart sank as I looked left and then at the map. Not the top. More carrying. I rode on to realise that I'd read the map wrong and that the trail went down and round this peak and back to Hartsop. The end was nigh! I shot down this really steep track desperately trying to keep traction and avoid rear wheel skidding but it was virtually impossible.
And so I was back at the car. What a day. Five amazing hours. My body and mind felt relaxed, alive and renewed. It had indeed been a challenge, which had pushed me but what a way to see the mountains of the Lake District, that little bit of heaven in England! What shall I do next weekend? Now let me think .....!!