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Sports Day on Cross Fell

I'd already taken today off to attend the school sports day but it was moved at short notice - good job really as it was soaking wet - so instead of spotting the cheaters at the egg and spoon and listening to the Head's hilarious commentry what does one do with a wet day off?

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Thirteen full movie download PCU movie I don't often 'drive to ride' but I was quite inspired by this account and it's only down the road so off I went. The Alston road is a cracking drive anyway, especially when you have it to yourself on a wet Friday morning.

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Garrigill was my starting point - don't think they were all awake when I set off up the hill on the bridleway that doubles as the Pennine Way and the dust and noise of the busy metropolis was soon left behind. Now I do often ride in the rain but perhaps not in areas as gritty as this and suddenly I could understand why some people have problems with their brake disc pads wearing out - the grit gets absolutely everywhere and the normally silent Scandal was grinding its way up the hill. Up past the old mine workings, up past 'Greg's Hut', a handily placed Bothy, and onto the summit of Cross Fell itself.

I decided I hadn't time to get down the other side and back up again so just carried on cheekily over Little Dun Fell and then Great Dunn Fell with its radar station looming out of the mist. I had thought to take a compass but fortunately the well constructed cairns appeared crookedly in the distance as spooky sentinels guiding me back to the path. I don't often ride in big hills and it takes a bit of time to adjust your eyesight I find - too easy to take in the sweep of the path without noticing what's right under your wheels so on an already steep hill a slight dip over a rock finds you standing on your head in a rock garden. Not a good idea when in a remote area, on your own with no phone reception.

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The tarmac off Great Dunn Fell seems a weird interlude but then the soggy bridleway back down to Tynehead reminds you why you're here. The path is made more demanding by the swollen streams and the fact that in several places the path is actually in the stream having been washed away by it. It dried out very briefly here for me to stop at the source of the South Tyne - this is the river we live close to so it's interesting to see where it comes from, and how rapidly it grows!

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So back at the car in three and a bit hours, wet for about 3 hours, hands numb for about 2 and a half hours- only about 20 miles and 3000ft or so and not much of a day for photos but good fun and I've still got sports day to look forward to.

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11 July 2008