Monday, February 16, 2009

Kirkstone & Hartside Rideout

Helen and I went out yesterday with NUKB on a rideout to the SE Lake District including Kirkstone Pass and then over to the Dales via Hartside.

Tickled Trout Scotsy organised and led the route to his usual high standards. We met up at around 9:30am at the Tickle Trout. Considering the slightly miserable conditions, we had a very good turnout especially for this time of the year.

We left the Tickle Trout in convoy and proceeded up the M6 to junction 35 at Carnforth. We then headed up the A6 towards the Lake District. From here we took the A590 up to Lindale then proceeded on very muddy minor roads past Cartmel and Holker Hall. We re-joined the A590 briefly at Haverwaite before getting off again and going via Spark Bridge to link up with the A5084. We proceeded along the A5084 taking in the scenery of Lake Coniston, we soon passed through Torver and took the A593 to Ambleside via Coniston. We soon arrived in Ambleside and then negotiated our way up the struggle to the Kirkstone Inn, were we stopped for a much needed break. You can see an on-board video of us leaving Kirkstone filmed by Lil Mike here.

After the much needed coffee break we carried on along the A592 towards Penrith. The road down Kirkstone Pass was fairly dry here so I managed to have a decent run for a while. We then crossed the M6 and went down the A686 towards Hartside. We passed through Melmerby and I set myself for the ascent of Hartside. Within no time at all we hit fog and visibility was very poor indeed. We had no other option but to take it easy up Hartside. Which spoiled it for Helen as she couldn’t appreciate the road and its big drops. We reached the top of Hartside and could barely see the cafe. Gary was standing at the edge of the road so we could see the carpark turn in.

Foggy Hartside Cafe After lunch we proceeded down off Hartside towards Alston, were some of us refuelled. We then headed down the B6277 to Middleton-in-Teesdale. On the way to Middleton we passed loads of cars parked up at the side of the road, to our disbelief we realised that they were all skiers taking advantage of the snow. From Middleton we took the B6276 to Brough then the A685 to Kirkby Stephen and the B6259/A684 to Hawes. Helen filled up at Hawes as she had lost some fuel on the way as she hadn’t fully fastened her fuel cap. We then took the B6255/B6479 to Settle via the Ribblehead Viaduct. It was relatively dry on those roads so I managed to have a decent go at them. We stopped in Settle to have coffee and scones at the Naked Man Cafe.

I then led the remaining 6 riders via Wigglesworth and Sawley back to the A59. After we had passed Clitheroe services myself, Helen and Debs headed through Simonstone back home, the others carried on down the A59 towards Preston.

Helen and I used the new comms units today. The operation was a bit hit and miss. On the motorway Helen couldn’t hear anything I said, but I could make out the odd thing she was saying. Below 50mph they seemed to work really well and our voices were clear. Although my voice kept cutting out, may have to adjust the VOX on my end slightly. Also at times the range of the signal was very poor. We will have to test the units with 1 of us on a bike and the other at home to see if we can isolate if either setup is at fault.