Thursday 11th July 2013

A particularly warm and clear evening for this ride, we did one of our regular bridleways first, up from the village of Askham and down to the Cockpit stone circle, before a long steady descent on the banks of Ullswater to Howtown. With it being so dry recently, this section was really fast compared to what it can often be like. Last time I was down here, the track was basically a river, but it was bone dry today.

At Howtown, we climbed up on the bridleway to Martindale where we needed to make a decision. It was about 8:30pm, so we had around an hour and a bit of good light to go. We could either head straight back and be in the pub in Askham for 9:30, or continue as planned up Boredale and up onto Beda Fell. This would add another hour or so of riding, so we would definitely be doing the last bit in the dark and only some of us had lights.

The sensible choice was to head back, but it was a long summers evening, hardly a drop of wind and not exactly cool temperatures, plus half the group new the area well enough for navigation in the dark. It felt like the risks were low, so with no complaints to do the extra loop, we headed off up towards Boredale Hause.

Boredale itself was covered pretty quickly on tarmac, before turning to bridleway and a steady climb, eventually narrowing to a gully which required a hike-a-bike for a short section. With Boredale Hause reached, the track up and over Beda Fell can be seen and is a combination of grassy trail and exposed singletrack. It looked like a big climb still to go, but turned out to be covered pretty quickly and it wasn't long before we were tearing down the rather excellent descent to Dale Head.

A quick sprint along the road to Pooley Bridge followed and those that had lights put them on for the odd car or tractor that passed us. By the time we were climbing up from Pooley Bridge to the Cockpit stone circle, sunset was long gone and dusk had well and truly set in, but we could still just about see where to aim the bike with it being a clear night.

The final descent into Askham was an interesting experience to say the least, in almost total darkness, we pointed the bike in the right direction and hoped that no large rocks would throw us off. Arriving back in the village, it had just gone 11pm - a little later than intended, but a thoroughly enjoyable the experience.

The Dale Head descent off Beda Fell I would highly recommend and definitely drops into one of my top ten favourites in the Lakes.

Stats 'n that

Location info

How far and how long:

20.37 miles, 3 hours 45 minutes

Who was with me:

Richard Grave, Stuart Sirey, James Vincent, Steve Conner, Barry Alcock, Stephen Nelson
The first descent down to the Cockpit stone circle above Ullswater.

The first descent down to the Cockpit stone circle above Ullswater.

A bit of a hike a bike up to Boredale Hause.

A bit of a hike a bike up to Boredale Hause.

Stu on the exposed singletrack climb above Boredale Hause.

Stu on the exposed singletrack climb above Boredale Hause.