Mountain biking summer 2017

After guiding a lot of road trips, I always love getting back on my mountain bike, riding and guiding quality trails. This summer I’ve had the pleasure of riding one of my favourites in the Lake District with good friends: the three passes starting from Staveley.

This was followed by an impromptu trip up to Scotland to cover the last few days of Saddle Skedaddle‘s Celtic Crossing trip. This is an epic journey in the traditional cross country mould which starts on the north coast of Scotland in Bettyhill and concludes at the Wallace monument in Stirling. The day I started we were to cross the Corrieyairack Pass.

The highlight day of this trip has to be the penultimate leg from Dalwhinnie to Killin, crossing some beautifully remote terrain.

I also found myself back in the north Lakes, guiding some great rides near Ullswater. The forecast was for heavy rain all weekend but the usual Lake District sunshine prevailed for the most part.

Descending to Glen Clova

Autumnal activity

It’s a beautiful time of the year to be out enjoying the outdoors; here’s a look back at some of my favourite photos from the season.

Superb conditions at Glentress
Superb conditions at Glentress
A beautiful day around the Carneddau
A beautiful day around the Carneddau
Climbing Sentries Ridge
Climbing Sentries Ridge
Mountain biking in the South Lakes
Mountain biking in the South Lakes
Beginning of a day on the Nantlle ridge
Beginning of a day on the Nantlle ridge

Hopefully the winter will appear properly soon!

It makes those sweet trails even sweeter

EUCC Lakes trip

This weekend Edinburgh Uni Cycling Club had a trip to the Lake District and being in the area I thought I’d come along. Saturday was set to be drizzly so a tour of some of the finer trails in Grizedale Forest was on the cards; we got round with only 16 punctures between us. After a splendid evening of table mountaineering, trouser racing and cardboard box game, we decided to go to the higher mountains on Sunday. Gatesgarth and Nan Bield passes were traversed and a stunning inversion typical of this time of year gave an epic backdrop – autumn scenes at their best.

Sometimes it's worth climbing into the cloud...
Sometimes it’s worth climbing into the cloud…
... because you might end up above it!
… because you might end up above it!
It makes those sweet trails even sweeter
It makes those sweet trails even sweeter

It was great catching up with old friends, meeting new ones and seeing that the club is on top form!

Mountain biking in the sun near Orton

August activities

The tail end of summer has been a busy time for me, here’s a roundup of a few things that happened.

After plenty of road ride guiding, I guided a mountain bike weekend in the Lake District for Saddle Skedaddle. It was great to be on the trails with a great group and the weather played nicely too!

Mountain biking in the sun near Orton
Mountain biking in the sun near Orton

I’ve been doing a bit of climbing on days off:

Climbing on White Ghyll
Climbing on White Ghyll

Some of the trips have been supported (i.e. driving the Saddle Skedaddle van) rather than guided. Hadrian’s Cycle Way is a popular one, with some interesting Roman sites to see along the way.

A beautiful morning near Vindolanda on Hadrian's Cycle Way
A beautiful morning near Vindolanda on Hadrian’s Cycle Way

August saw a return to north Wales for the Saddle Skedaddle trip based out of Bala. Another long weekend of first class riding.

Winding up another climb in north Wales
Winding up another climb in north Wales

And a bit of local riding for good measure.

Riding through the mist in Gisburn Forest
Riding through the mist in Gisburn Forest
Fantastic North Wales trails

Other things to do in Wales

As well as some great roads to ride, Wales has some excellent climbing. We had a day on the roadside crags at Tremadog and then a day on the north face of Y Lliwedd, part of the Snowdon horseshoe.

Starting up the mighty Avalanche/Red Wall/Longlands continuation
Starting up the mighty Avalanche/Red Wall/Longlands continuation

The great face seemingly rises straight up and gives some fantastic positions on the crag.

Perched somewhere on Y Lliwedd
Perched somewhere on Y Lliwedd

The route we took was the Avalanche/Red Wall/Longlands continuation, which over 12 pitches takes an interesting line to the top of Lliwedd. A grand day out indeed.

I also managed to fit in a mountain bike ride around the Llyn Cowlyd/Capel Curig/Gwydyr forest area that took in some incredible natural riding followed by finishing off using the Marin trail in Gwydyr forest. Trails, company and weather all conspired to make one of the best days out on the bike I’ve had!

Fantastic North Wales trails
Fantastic North Wales trails