Last week was both geographically and topographically varied. From Loughborough to Aberdeen and back gave me the opportunity to fit in some outdoors stuff, so I took advantage and did just that.
On Monday I broke the trip to Glasgow by stopping for a run over Blencathra. Despite driving past it more times than I can remember, I don’t recall ever actually going up there. I considered Hall’s Fell Ridge, which is a Grade I scramble, but on my own in fell shoes it seemed a little reckless, particularly since a friend advised the same. Doddick Fell provided an alternative in lovely sunshine but a chilly breeze. A quick run across the summit and back down to Threlkeld just as it started to go dark proved quite well timed. Hall’s Fell Ridge and Sharp Edge look like they’d make a nice exciting day out for a future ascent (in the dry!).
From Glasgow I had to get to Aberdeen, and what better way than via Braemar? It provided an opportunity to go to lots of places whose names I’ve heard many times but have never visited. I parked at the Lin of Dee and took my bike up Glen Lui to Derry Lodge. I stashed it there and started running, up Glen Derry to the Hutchison Hut, then continued up to Creagan a’ Choire Etchachan at 1100 m with the intention of heading south over Derry Cairngorm back to my bike. From about 950 m upwards the ground was frozen solid and there was a thin layer of verglas coating everything at floor level. I struggled my way to the summit with multiple falls at walking pace, and then had to admit defeat and return to the hut instead. Some food and drink in front of a roaring fire revived me, as did a nice chat with a chap called Jon, and I made the long trip back down the Glen to the bike. By the time I rolled back into the car park, dusk had well-and-truly… dusked. It was at this point I realised I’d left my running poles in the hut! Well, with 10 km of cycling and 21 km of running I certainly wasn’t going back up to get them.
I was bit gutted about the poles, since they’ve done brilliant service, mountain marathons with me and even been in a helicopter, but after leaving a note on the only car left in the car park that evening I was really pleased to receive this text the following day…
What a hero (and you can read about his trip here).
The long trek back from Aberdeen was broken by a night in Carlisle, and then a ride around Gisburn Forest. We walked the trails there about five years ago, and it was great to finally get to ride them. They’re really really good. They ride well and were nicely drained overall, despite the recent rain. There’s nothing too scary, but the whole lot is technical enough to keep you engaged throughout. Well worth a trip.
An action-packed week – I’m knackered now!