Scottish Road Trip Disaster

These pictures are the leftovers from the 'Long Steep Road of Trips' story that appeared in Singletrack 58. Dave W gives his side of the story below:

Hope that we could find a spell of dry weather in the Scottish highlands was well and truly quenched by a curtain of spray coming up off the motorway. We were at the border to Cumbria and knew full well that every northward mile took us deeper into a developing downpour. Decision time.

A quick exit from the M6 and a spot of Colin McRae enthusiasm to the large puddles across the roadway (leaving all passengers car sick) saw us abandoning a Scottish trip. Disheartened we consume a substantial quantity of cake and take a quick nap. (Writing this up now with a bit more roadtripping experience, i realise this forms an important rule of thumb; catch up on sleep at every opportunity).

Eventually the weather seemed to relent. Begin Lakeland salvage operation that turned into a bit of an adventure:

Stunning scenery tempts us to brave the elements.

After a quick foray up high, the strong winds pushed us back into the valley away from exposed trails and the risk of being blown clean off the hillside.

I'd often wanted to give the gnarly Northen side of Nan Bield Pass a shot in my bid to prove every UK bridleway trail ridable. We made it as far as the tarn before coming face to face with the wind screaming down the cirque back wall of Nan Bield. One for another day?

Nan Bield - Familiar territory but in reverse. I'd been out of practice at riding such sketchy stuff - stuff later in the trip made this look like a 'blue run'.

Torrential rain and snow-melt turns trails into streams.

Please shut the gate.

Surrendering to the opportunity to stay a night with roof overhead and fire for warmth - we were glad when morning was summoned by the sound of rainfall. Desires to search for gnarled, high altitude trails had to be shelved for another day.

Descending from Boredale Hause

A year on from filming 'Pretty Sweet'

Soggy camera lens.

One of the most favourably placed tea rooms in the country; especially so with a storm brewing overhead.

Again temptation to dry off wet kit is far too great.

More rally driving and nausea induced, to arrive in Great Langdale and fine sunshine!

Half way stop on the first pass of the day - Rosset Ghyll - another one to tick off on our "pass storming" list

Stuff _______ - let's go Lakeland! (fill in the blank)

A* wilderness trail found

Putting on a show for onlooking hikers.

Descent down from Sty Head - definitely a trip fave.

Helmet advertisements. (And incidentally another sweet tea room)

High stakes ascending Stake Pass...

...but we hit the jackpot on the way down.

I've given up trying to maintain an even skin tone on the backs of my legs.

If i ever make it onto "Ready Steady Cook" im bringing smash and condensed milk as primary ingredients.

I was pleasantly surprised by Whinlatter's trail centre offerings

Attack from the black

The Lakes has some of the best roadside camp places going; Newlands and then this at Honister.

Graffiti in the sky

Best sunrise i never saw because i was too lazy to get out my sleeping bag. So begins the fifth day.

Powering up Pass #1, Honister, 30% gradient

Digger? Bulldozer? Either way, we were lost.

Found the trail at last.

Probably the the most sketch bit of trail of the trip; loose rock over a layer of loose rock.

Pass #2, Scarth Gap was a breeze, overtook most of the hikers.

Not a big fan at the time, but there was something magic about descending into an entirely desolate valley.

Up and over Pass #3, Black Sail. Truly humbling sense of scale in a massive landscape. (Spot the rider)

And a damn good trail to boot.
Pass #4, Styhead.

All told, and i think i speak for the whole team, this was defiantly one of the hardiest trips i've ever done. What we failed to clock up in distance we more than made up for with shear vertical ascent, prolonged hiking and adverse weather.

Its the price you pay for primo trails and just the way it should be.