Ian Breslin reports:
I picked John butts up this morning who slipped into the conversation we would be doing Hardknott and Wrynose as part of Mals things to do before you die list (hopefully not immediately before I thought).
So that was me in and no turning back. First up, old Lindale followed by Bigland hill onto Torver then back west towards Broughton before a right turn up the steep climb onto Broughton moor . Next up the long drag from the Blacksmiths Arms at Broughton mills to Stickle Pike before dropping down into Dunnersale for Coffee and decision time . Continue up the Duddon valley to Cockley Beck to Wrynose (wimp out) or over the 25% Birker Fell and into Eskdale and over Hardknott. Foolish bravado won the day and we set off in the rain to climb Birker Fell though very steep at the bottom this is a gem of a climb with a rewarding fast des ent to follow. So on we rode up Eskdale the pass looming above and the weather now throwing its best at us . I don’t think anybody can imagine how difficult this climb is until you are on it . This was my fourth attempt and ultimately fourth fail though I rode all but 20 yards this time so I was happy enough.
A tricky descent in the rain brought us to the foot of Wrynose and to the last major ascent of the day and we were reminded of the perils of these descents when a rider who had climbed Hardknott with us came to grief on Wrynose descent. Onward now to Hawkshead and another cafe stop before boarding the ferry to Bowness and time for one last hurrah down the Lyth valley . Strangely enjoyable day 76 miles 2300m ascent . Put it in your diaries for next year “The Mal ride”.