Wensleydale Bike Club invasion of Sutton Bank
Helen Pollard and the Wensleydale Bike Club took a bunch of children to explore Sutton Bank - and now you can follow the adventure too!
An adventure doesn't always have to be long. Join Nicole Mallet on her Lakeland Micro-adventure and explore the beauty of the Lake District.
Birthdays need celebrating by doing what you love most.... I always get to ride for my birthday celebrations and as my birthday is in March I nearly always get the added excitement of snow!
Last week it was my adventure buddy – Jen’s birthday, she loves riding and being outside seeking out new adventures just as much as me....so guess what? We went on a micro adventure, bike packing in the Lakes. This had been in our diaries since February!
We met mid-afternoon, discussed the route over a drink in the pub and set out to the carpark where we would leave our cars. All packed and bikes loaded for one night in the wild we went to set off but my bike decided it was not going anywhere - not because I had the weight of the kitchen sink on it- but because it had been in my car for 8 hours in 30 degree heat, under a full glass roof! My brake pistons had overheated and stuck on.
Luckily Jen and Dan own a bike shop 40 minutes away, so being the best friends ever drove back to “Ride Bikes” in Ulverston to get me a bike to borrow!
Frantically unpacking frame bags, nearly everything ended up in my rucksack as I’m now on a full suss and the bags don’t fit on the frame, but hey, I’m not complaining; an hour ago I faced a grumpy drive home and no playtime!
The late start turned out to be ideal, with it reaching 36 degrees earlier in the day. It was still unbelievably hot for the UK, but at least the sun was on its way down and not cooking us on the climbs.
We set off up fire roads which led us to our first descent down Harter fell bridleway, this gave us permanent grins for the rest of the day.
Next a path that followed the river Esk up towards the valley of Great moss, where we set up camp for the night.
Great moss is a vast, flat area of marsh ground at the head of the Esk, 500m above sea level, surrounded by England’s highest mountains- Scafell Pike, Esk Pike, Bow fell and Crinkle crags just to name a few. Craggy and remote with plenty of perfect spots to pitch up.
My Aussie grit ‘Flint’ Jersey proved itself yet again wicking the sweat away from me and keeping me cool. It worked so well that I didn’t realise how wet it was until I took it off. I had A LOT of fluids to replace.
Finally, food time. Super beans and tuna for me, followed by a big bag of nuts! It may not sound the most inviting after a 3 our slog but oh my it was good and packed with plenty of protein and carbohydrates, washed down with a can of G&T- even adventurers need treats!
Adventures, no matter how big or small, and mountain views like these make me sit and ponder…. I get to see things many people only dream about.
So many people caught up in the daily rat-race never experience anything like this. To some, it would be far from their wildest dreams to hike up a mountain and spend the night under the stars.
The sky turned an amazing shade of pink as we cooked under the twilight and camp was lit all night by the huge full moon.
I regretted taking my summer sleeping bag for a few hours during the night when the temperatures plummeted to around 5 degrees - wearing all the clothes I had taken, I was chilly, so I invited Skye for a cuddle (a loving collie dog make’s a great hot water bottle you know!).
My regrets only lasted a few hours, as by 5am I was slowly starting to cook again under the morning sun. There’s nothing better to wake up to than sun beaming on your tent and taking in that view when you open the zip to a horizon filled with mountains and bluebird skies.
Our morning started with yoga by the stream, copious amounts of tea and breakfast before we set off again. We even had a fly by from a spitfire.
We were all so sad to leave. It was probably the BEST place I have wild camped, but single-track awaited, and my pub lunch was calling!
The trails today were hard in the heat! River crossings and hike-a-bike sections mixed thing up a little. My ‘Airflow’ long sleeved merino blend top regulated my temperature well and reduced the risks of getting sunburnt in the mid-day sun.
Those big grins we found on the first descent- they stayed with us for days! What an amazing micro adventure, it was one of those experiences you can’t find words to explain.