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 Post subject: Howgill Fell Trip Report
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:24 pm 
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Location: Cake shop
I'm starting to realise that mountain bike rides are like a sort of financial transaction.... you pay out on the way up some random hill to hopefully get back your investment plus interest on the way back down.....

Howgill Fell writes a bloody big cheque.... a better hide the bank statement so the wife doesn't spot it sort of cheque ;)

It all started out well enough in the car park Sedbergh on a lovely June day.... or rather it was overcast with low cloud but at least it wasn't actually raining and we were about to spend the day riding bikes so I'll over look the weather. A bit of road and a few farm tracks before we bit the climb proper as the trail runs up the side of a drystone wall. We're just hitting the bottom of the cloud when the trail takes a sharp turn to the right....

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Bit on the steep side but it doesn't last too long before the gradient drops to something more sensible.... and then back up to silly steep again. It's going to be one of those climbs ;) Normally I amuse myself on these occasions by enjoying the scenery, it's not really working out that way today.

This was one of the better views when the cloud cleared a bit. Most of the time 50ft was about it.

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Some walkers on their way down expressed some mild surprise at meeting three people pushing bikes up the hill although they did admit that the ride back down might be fun. We landed up making the final climb to the first 'summit' with another group of walkers... yes this climb gets a dip on the way up so you can climb the same bit of height gain again :roll: As we ride of into the dip the walkers suggest it would be a good idea not to ride of the cliff... we say we'll try not to. Bit of down followed by the final bit of up.


Two hours, 4.5 miles and 1800 ft of muttering under my breath about the whole thing being stupid and that pile of rocks is the final, at last, this really is it, top....

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Bit of a break for a bite to eat and we're off on the way down.

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It starts out fairly simple but quickly gets steep... very steep and tricky. The lack of a horizon is playing tricks with my mind and is telling me this is up hill.... the noise my brakes are making tell me otherwise.

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Sometimes the whole being a trail at all just seems a bit too much....

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But as we descend into Bowerdale we start to drop below the cloud and the trail starts be ..... a bit more trail like ;)

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Bowerdale is the reason for pushing up Howgill fell. It's just about 4 miles and 1200 ft of drop on a tight little ribbon of single track that hangs onto the side of steep sided valley. It's hard to ride with a drop to your right that keeps your mind focused especially when the left hand side of the trail specialises in trying to kick you off by grabbing your peddle. The trail twists and turns as it falls into the valley with sharp little drops into streams that cut the trail. More riding than you really know what to do with....

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As you get to the end of the valley it starts to open out before you run out onto the open fells.

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So does Bowerdale pay back the debt run up by Howgill Fell..... yep.

And then some.


So that was the mornings fun. The single track takes a break for in no particular order a bit of road, lunch, the worlds lumpiest field to cross, pub stop and a bastard road climb and were off again.

The trail heads back to Sedberg by running along the other side of the hills that make up one side of Bowerdeale.

We're back in the cloud as we start the drop along the side of the hill.

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But it's a bit more broken this time so there is a glimpse of the view.

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We climb and drop along the valley side just below the bottom of the could. The trail alternates between fast and technical before we cut though a farm to land up in the worlds second most lumpy field.

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The trail wasn't much use unless you were on a scooter so over the bumps is was...

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This one turned out to be a lot of fun ;)

The field leads into a little wood... trail a bit on the gnarly side...

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Still running along the side of the hill, sometimes following the contours other times climbing and dropping down again. The trail varying between single track and open wider paths.... this bit thinks it might want to be a stream when it grows up ;)

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The big hump in the background is Howgill Fell, we're getting a better view of it now than when we were on it.

The trail starts to narrow as it turns from a path to a sheep trail.

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Some of the locals, they didn't say hello....

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The trail slowly drops down the hill with just enough gradient to keep your momentum up without having to work the peddles too much before finishing with a little run through some trees.

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Strangely fitting gentle end to an epic route that jams in more riding in 25 miles than most places can manage in 50.


If I try not to remember the first climb up Howgill then this has got to be one of my favorite rides. A big day out that covers so many different types of trails. Tight twisting single track others fast and open. Most of the height gain is dealt with in two, admittedly, hard climbs leaving the rest of the ride to run the contours or drop with varying degrees of steepness. Any other climbs are short and usually technical enough to keep your mind off the uphillness of it all.

The thing about the first climb up Howgill is even when I do remember it this is still one of my favorite rides :D


Strava stuff... https://www.strava.com/activities/330250094?segment_created=true

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Sundays ride to follow ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Howgill Fell Trip Report
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:49 pm 
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Awesome! Love days like that.

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 Post subject: Re: Howgill Fell Trip Report
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 3:58 pm 
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Location: Cake shop
Sunday....

Better weather for the start in Staveley.... bit of road then it's onto wide single track. When you get a view like this the climbs are easier to deal with.

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Bit wet in places though.

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Start of the descent... it's called the Three Rivers because it crosses three rivers.... obviously got the same bunch naming trails here as they do in the Peaks. We've just crossed one river so it's two to go ;)

You can see the first river on the right... not that big a river but a river none the less.

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The trail is fast and open until the second river ( I think this might be the same river as before :shh: )

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Starts to get a bit more interesting...

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And a bit more....

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Fast grassy bit thrown in just to keep the awesome fast flowing rocky trail from getting a bit.... I don't know maybe a bit too fast flowing and awesome ;)

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Back on the fast rocky stuff...

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With a bit of double track to finish.

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So another 4 mile downhill run... same as Bowerdale but completely different feel this one was fast and flowing compared to Bowerdale's tight twisty technical trail.... loved them both :D

Final run of the morning... Kentmere.

TBH another bugger of a climb... strava tells me it was about 40 minutes to push up 1.5 miles :lolno:

No road to climb on this one.... no road on the way down either :D

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Just miles of rolling up and down trails with just enough 'technical' to make it fun.

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At the end of this I come to the conclusion that the trail grading for the Lakes doesn't use the usual green, blue, red and black. In the Lakes they go Incredible, Awesome, Mind Blowing and Out of this World ;)

A morning ride that in 13 miles and 2.5 hrs jams in two Incredible, Awesome, Mind Blowing and Out of this World downhill runs.

Not quite the same as Saturdays epic but a real cherry on the top of what was already a pretty damn good piece of cake :D


Strava stuff.... https://www.strava.com/activities/330250634/segments/7823061146

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 Post subject: Re: Howgill Fell Trip Report
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:59 pm 
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Location: Harold Wood
Top write up mate :clap:
nice climbing, looks like a great trip! who did you ride with!


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 Post subject: Re: Howgill Fell Trip Report
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:30 pm 
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Location: Cake shop
VW-surfbum wrote:
Awesome! Love days like that.

Cheers Ian... you know what it's like there :thumbup:



Simon.... couple of mates Stormy on the left, Steve on the right. Both much faster than me up or down which is why most of the pictures have them off in the distance ;)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 8:35 pm 
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I can't wait to go back but it's fitting it in with all the other events and away dates.

http://s16.photobucket.com/user/vwsurfb ... te%20bikes

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 Post subject: Re: Howgill Fell Trip Report
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:24 pm 
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Location: Harold Wood
Its taking part that counts ay! ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Howgill Fell Trip Report
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 9:35 pm 
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Great pics dude - looks rocky and fast!


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 Post subject: Re: Howgill Fell Trip Report
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 8:13 am 
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Location: Essex in the workshop
Looks like a great time was had by all.

Would like to get up that way on my fat bike. :crazy:
Have done a bit of fell walking but not riding.

Thanks for the pics & write up. :thumbup: :clap:

Epping will be a bit of a come down. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Howgill Fell Trip Report
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 10:11 am 
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Location: Cake shop
Cheers guys :thumbup:

If you like you mountain biking 'raw' and natural it's definitely the place to go. In many way it's similar to the Peaks but with longer trails that put you much further away from civilization ( or as much as you can be in the UK ) . You get a real feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere. Flip side is a mechanical is going to result in a very long walk.... probably 3 to 4 hrs to walk out of Bowerdale. You're also pretty aware that a twisted ankle is going to mean a trip in a helicopter.....

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In a funny way trips like this make me appreciate Epping more for what it is.... sort of like an espresso compared to 3 or 4 pints..... ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Howgill Fell Trip Report
PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2015 10:40 am 
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bugeye wrote:

In a funny way trips like this make me appreciate Epping more for what it is.... sort of like an espresso compared to 3 or 4 pints..... ;)


I like that :high5:

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