Widespread upland gales, blizzard conditions for a time, snow showers mostly falling as rain below 600m...such was the outlook for the Lakeland fells on New Year's Day. It looked pretty accurate from Coniston. But the lack of rain prompted a little optimism. It'll be alright...
And so it was that we found ourselves above the Dunnerdale fells being battered by a relentless knock-you-off-and-steal-your-bike sort of wind, aiming stubbornly for the descent from Brock Barrow to Seathwaite...
...which is superb and remarkably sheltered from the wild westerlies.
Worth pushing for.
The upper Duddon valley looking towards Harter Fell - quintessential lakeland.
And then the main objective.
Rising steeply from the valley floor, it may not be the biggest or toughest climb in the Lakes, but even with a 40mph tail wind, it felt pretty big and pretty tough. Gaining height the wind picked a notch or three until it was blasting an icy mixture of rain and sleet across the fell.
400m later and life is good again.
A 4km descent and one of the best. Chris tackles the steep switchbacks as we drop out of the clag.
A tight corner lower down, shortly before the angle eases. And then tarmac. Steep tarmac. Steep enough for the cars to wave us on ahead - enlightened driver - thanks.
Also worth pushing for - happy New Year.