Saturday, 6 September 2014

South Lakes Loop including Lucy's first trip through Grizedale

On Thursday Lucy & I headed to South Lakes to look at a few new lanes, try out some old favorites & visit the KTM dealership in Kendal, Triple D Motorsports. We had a proper drool over the KTM 350 Freeride, both of us would like one of these for green laning & to do a bit more playing at technical stuff, but hey when we have some money one day... There was a 2009 690 Enduro in which is what we are thinking of for the big trip to Asia/Oz in a couple of years time, so it's good to see an older one in the flesh. Interestingly some of the bolt heads had rusted, otherwise it looked pretty tidy, although for some reason the plastic coating on the rear shock spring had peeled away & the spring was rusty, but it could just have been a couple of winters hacking to work on the salty roads or it could have been a knock etc, who know.s still it's a nice bike & it fits well to my height & shape, so another tick in the box there for that option!!
Spighot Lane Entrance

Back to the riding, we headed out of Kendal westwards to pick up the first lane, Gamblesmire Lane is lovely, very scenic & at the moment really dry so pretty easy, the little limestone steps are a great little warm up for things to come. When we got to the end of this we turned down towards Underbaroow & checked out a little lane I'd missed the last time I came down this way, it's pretty easy & dropped us onto back lanes that eventually took us to Whitbarrow & the pretty limestone lane that runs around the northern end of this.

Gaz & I had missed a lane that led upto Crosthwaite the last time we were here, but Lucy & I managed to find it, it's got a good rocky start, then becomes grassy with ruts taking you past the bowling green & up into the village, we met a lovely old guy there who stopped for a chat before we headed off up to a couple of lanes near Mitchelland, both of which are short but fun. Spighot Lane, (U5328), the second one has an orange marker card with a warning about the houses at either end which is fair enough, this is a lovely lane, be careful to take the left onto it though rather than head down to the pool at the end of the right, I had to turn around when Lucy pointed out my mistake, fair enough!!

We headed through to Windermere after this, neither of us had done the lane that drops down into Windermere, it's pretty but seriously, how many gates?? about every 100 yards there is a gate, including two at the ford, which is tiny, even the people walking on the lane were fed up with all the gates!! I suppose it looks like it's still a Byway but in reality it's just a pain. Hey ho...

We retraced our steps a bit & picked up Green Lane, which was a bit more fun & a lot less gates, after this we headed to the Far Sawrey ferry via the little cafe in the car park for a cuppa. We were both a little overdressed for the hot day & in dire need of a brew by then!!

The Turtle & the Chicken

Once across the lake we headed to Grizedale, the lane that runs through there is a bit infamous as it's pretty rough, this would be the hardest thing Lucy had ridden so we took our time & although she managed the rocky bits she managed to whack her left foot on a tree route, it bent two of her toes back, then pushed her foot into the rear footrests on the XR, this in turn bent the plastic heel insert inside the boot which cut her heel pretty badly, at the time she veered off into the fern, narrowly missing a pretty big boulder, cried a bit, swore a fair bit then got back on her bike & carried on up to the stone fox at the top of the hill. I managed to stall my bike looking at the line rather than paying attention & nearly went over the handlebars! Bugger...

Grizedale Fox statue plus climbing child... :-)


We got to the stone fox, sweating & stopped for pics & a snack, then headed downhill, which is pretty steep & very bouldery, Lucy does not like downhills at all, memories from mountain bike days apparently, so she was pretty steady at this bit. We reached tarmac & headed upto Hawkshead in the vain attempt to get fuel as my tiny fuel range was all but expended & I was on reserve, (Dropping the bike & losing some didn't help though!!). Hawkshead doesn't have a fuel stop so Ambleside was the choice as time was moving on by now & a revised route was called for.

We headed to Townhead, then over to Dubbs Road, the lane that runs alongside Dubbs Resevoir, we decided to not do it this time even though neither of us have actually ridden it yet, so we picked up a lovely little lane that drops down past Heaning to the A591, this was great & put us just north of Kendal, so a loop around on a tiny C road, took us back to Gamblesmire Lane which we used to return back to the van.

An eventful day on the whole, Lucy's foot was pretty bad, nothing broken, but some serious bruising & a pretty deep cut through to the bone on her heel, she struggled to walk the next day. The boot lining has been cut by the plastic insert & obviously the boots are a little too flexible for this kind of riding, so maybe some stiffer motocross boots might be in order!!

I've added a few more vids to the YouTube library, see the list below...

Windermere Lane
Grizedale Descent
Gamblesmire Lane

KTM Freeride Review Vid