A drier day in the Lakes and I managed to get out early evening for a nice wee ride. I had ridden this route once before, it was last summer when I was certainly fitter and I think running a marginally lower gear, I digress I set off on the Glenderaterra loop. It was a blustery but dry day and the gentle ride out of Keswick filled the soul with positive thoughts. The ride quickly lets you know why a Single Speed is a difficult choice for this area, from where the railway path pops out onto the A66 you quickly start heading up and it’s relentless for the next few kilometres on a single lane tarmac ascent up the side of Blease Fell towards Blencathra Centre. I will confess I had to make a stop on the road just to allow my heart and legs to control themselves. It doesn’t get much better once you reach the centre as the tarmac stops and classic hardpack Lakeland double track begins. The wind in my face at this point was pretty severe, so off I hopped and had a wee walk for a couple of hundred yards just to get me over the brow of the climb. Yes a lower gear would have been very much appreciated. The one advantage of this type of ride on a SS is you get chance to look behind you and with this ride that is very much recommended, the wide panorama of hills spread out in front of you is quite awe inspiring.
Anyway the track quickly becomes very enjoyable with the climb over you quickly get a sense of being out in the wilds, which considering you are only a few km out of Keswick is pretty nice. All the while traversing along the edge of Blease Fell your attention is drawn to the high singletrack on the other side of the valley astride Lonscale Fell, that’s where the return leg will take you, as I reach the bridge over Glenderaterra Beck ahead I can see a couple of riders just cresting the ascent to the start of the high singletrack. In times gone past I would have bust my ass to try and reel them in but today I’m quite happy to be enjoying the space, around my head is the song Another Spring, which I had been listening to in the car the previous day, a great version by Nina Simone, on first hearing it’s a pretty depressing little tune but once it creeps into your head and the words reveal themselves, it’s a joyous celebration of life.
I hang back to make sure the riders are well on their way so I can have the singletrack to myself, one last grunt of a hike up to the start of the real reward of this ride. I had it in my head I would get lots of photos here but to be honest this is just too much fun. For the most part it’s a skinny scratch of a trail high on the hillside that works its way around the hill to swoop you back above Keswick at the Latrigg car park and leave you with an almighty smile on your face. I’ve pondered long and hard about the best way to describe this but in a nutshell this is mountainbiking, it’s how in my head I see the sport.