Bikes, Bogs and Bruises

A wet and windy forecast meant there was little in the way of motivation to get out on the sea...
...but provided a good excuse for a day on the bike amongst the Western Fells of Cumbria.
The weather was obviously closing in rapidly as I climbed Scarth Gap Pass from Buttermere. Behind, sunlight dappled the Derwent Fells but beyond the pass, dark clouds gathered above Pillar and I doubted I would make it over Scarth Gap before the inevitable deluge began.
In fact, the first heavy downpour lasted just a few seconds as I paused beneath Pillar rock on the forestry track that links Ennerdale to Black Sail youth Hostel.
Then the clag closed in properly; it was a wet but fast ride along the River Liza and Ennerdale Water...
...occasional breaks in the weather revealing Angler's Crag on the far side of the lake, to reach the start of the pass climbing to Floutern Tarn.
Clearly the bridleway had seen little traffic recently; a machete would perhaps have been more useful than anything Specialized offer.
Once up above the tarn, the angle quickly eased as did the rain, giving views across Mosedale back towards Buttermere fell.
A steep and fast descent ended rather more suddenly than I expected...
...grassy slopes giving way to bog, leading to the second fall of the day. A tumble while descending Scarth Gap Pass luckily resulted in nothing more than a bruised shoulder. This time, the more spectacular dismount over the handlebars bruised nothing but ego, landing as I did amongst the soft reeds and wet bog.
The track rapidly improves however and the descent to Loweswater was fast, the stony track leading down through the pines before meeting the road. A last short off road section brought me out underneath the bulk of Grassmoor and a final spin along Crummock Water saw me back at the bottom of Newlands Pass having completed a 33km circuit, the vast majority off road.