Fast, loose and fun

I'll ride an out and back route happily enough if it makes sense to do so, but a circuit is always more satisfactory. Perhaps it is the paddler in me that wants to complete the circumnavigation and close a logical loop - but equally, I'd rather not add unnecessary road miles to a quality descent, just to make a circular route. So completing the Walna Scar ride as I did on this occasion was a real joy.
Instead of following the lake shore from Coniston itself before heading out to Stephenson Ground and then Dunnerdale, I started from Torver, taking a surprisingly rideable track up to join the Walna Scar road at around half height.
I was surprised too, to ride as much as I did from here, shouldering the bike only on reaching the hairpins higher up. A brief pause at the top of the pass, followed by a fast drop to the mines found me basking in a sun trap behind the slate ruins.
I stayed too long - it is perhaps my favourite view point of the central fells.
But another descent follows, not so fast but more technical than the last - tailor made or so it seemed.
Buzzards circled above Stephenson Ground lower down and I watched awhile before heading on towards the third descent of the day - another rocky drop from Brock Barrow to Seathwaite. Fast, loose and fun.
So, a biggish climb and three good descents, and that's just the warm up. The climb from Dunnerdale back to the top of Walna Scar is most difficult at the start, the higher track having been 'improved' beyond recognition in recent years. Still, it makes the second half of the climb easier on tiring legs. The descent is one I first rode over twenty years ago - on bikes laden with panniers and four days' kit, not a disc in sight never mind the rigid forks - it remains a firm favourite.
I stopped just once between the top and Torver, late afternoon light playing across The Old Man, before making a smooth run on grassy slopes amongst the old quarries to finish one the most enjoyable rides so far this year.
Next stop Torridon.

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