A bikepacking adventure
By Nicole Mallett
Birthdays need to be celebrated by doing what you love the most.
I always get to ride for by birthday celebrations and since my birthday is in March, I nearly always get the added excitement of snow!
Last week it was my adventure buddy, Jen’s birthday, she loves riding and being outside seeking new adventures as much as I do. So, we went on a micro-adventure, bikepacking in the Lakes. This had been in our diaries since February!
We met mid-afternoon, discussed the route over a drink in the pub and set out to the carpark where we would leave our cars.
All packed and bikes loaded for one-night in the wild we went to set off but my bike decided it was not going anywhere because my bike had been in my car for eight hours in 30 degree heat, under a full glass roof!
My brake pistons had overheated and stuck on. Luckily Jen and Dan own a bike shop 40 minutes away so they drove back to “Ride Bikes” in Ulverston to get me a bike to borrow.
The late start turned out to be ideal, with it reaching 36-degrees earlier in the day. It was still unbelievably hot for the UK but at least the sun was on its way down and not cooking us on the climbs.
We set off up fire roads which led us to our first descent down Harter fell bridleway, this gave us permanent grins for the rest of the day.
Next, we took a path that followed the river Esk up towards the valley of Great Moss, where we set up camp for the night. Great Moss is a vast, flat area or march ground at the head of the Esk, 500 meters above sea level, surrounded by England’s highest mountains: Scafell Pike, Esk Pike, Bow Fell and Crinkle Crags, just to name a few. Craggy and remote with plenty of perfect sports to pitch up.
My Aussie Grit trail Jersey proved itself yet again, wicking the sweat away from me and keeping me cool.
Finally it was food time, we ate super beans and tuna followed by a big bag of nuts! It may not sound the most inviting meal after a three hour slog but oh my it was good.
Adventures and mountain views like these always make me sit and ponder. I get to see things many people only dream about. So many people are caught up in the daily rat-race that they never experience anything like this.
The sky turned an amazing shade of pink as we cooked under the twilight and camp was lit all night by the huge full moon.
There’s nothing better to wake up to than sun beaming on your tent and taking in the view when you open the zip: a horizon filled with mountains and bluebird skies.
Our morning started with yoga by the stream, copious amounts of tea and breakfast before we set off again. We even had a fly by from a spitfire.
We were all so sad to leave but the single-track was waiting for us.
The trails were hard in the heat on the way back. River crossings and hike-a-bike sections mixed thing up a little. My flint airflow long sleeved merino blend top regulated my temperature well and reduced the risks of getting sunburnt in the midday sun.
Our big grins from the very first decent stayed with us for days. What an amazing mini-adventure!