Saturday, 28 March 2015

Ride to Snowdon

I've arrived at camp! I'm sitting in my tent at Llyn Gwynant campsite making notes because I won't remember it all. There's absolutely no mobile coverage here. I'm in a valley on the south side on Snowdon surrounded by signal blocking hills. So much for posting from the field.

The ground is so soft that the bike's sidestand still sank in even with the large foot pad. Site warden said they've had a lot of rain in the last few days.

Trip here

For most of the trip here the Zumo 590 was telling me to turn off on random branches and loops but to be fair I think this was my fault for maybe not being precise enough with Basecamp. It was also telling me to take the first exit of every single roundabout regardless of where the route was actually going. Both voice and text instructions were affected, but the map was fine. Lucky I was paying attention.

It has been neck-snappingly windy today but only a few heavy showers. I'd taken (planned) some roads, early on, that I'd enjoyed before (It's really windy out there!) but  because I knew I had such a long way to go, and perhaps because the weather was a bit crap, they didn't seem quite the same.

I just put my Keis jacket back on (not powered!) and got in to my sleeping bag; it's about 8degC, not particularly cold, but it's wet and windy and I've just ridden 340 miles.

Tent was put up in a hurry.

Peak District

I'd ridden past Chatsworth House again, that's a nice little road. Then I took my life in my hands and rode my bike, fully loaded down Houndkirk Road (byway) off the A6187 near Foxhouse.
It got interesting over that hill.
It started out sandy/stony, nothing I haven't done before, then I got to some inclines with large wet cobblestone-like rocks across the width of the trail. I had committed and it wouldn't have been easy to stop or turn around anyway so I just kept going, trying to keep smooth, use my momentum and stay off the front brake. By looking ahead and choosing my line I managed to skirt around anything resembling a rock step. There were what appeared to be drainage pipes spanning the "road" covered with earth forming tall and narrow "speed bumps". They were fun. Any amount of speed would get you airborne. On a loaded big bike the road was scary and exhilarating, probably not so much if you were on a dirt bike.
Houndkirk Road coming to an end.
The sun came out!

Winnats Pass was next, then through the Edale - Hope loop which I think was better in the first half (going clockwise).
Approach to Winnats Pass.
I stopped in the garage at the junction for the Ladybower road for fuel and a sandwich. I was intending to continue to Snake Pass but I was aware that it was getting late. At one point the satnav said the ETA was 20:30! I wasn't making good time. I'd overestimated how much is realistically possible. I didn't want to feel rushed the whole time or have to pitch the tent in the dark so I made the decision to abandon my planned route. I changed to an auto-calculated "curvy roads" route that seemed to do a good job; fast enough to flow but still interesting (the geography helps, I think). I really enjoyed the A54, turning off before the Cat 'n' Fiddle. The roundabout bug in the Zumo didn't show itself either.

Bad planning

I ache now and getting tired. I hadn't sorted any supplies on the way in and my usual backup plan of going back out after pitching didn't happen either. Without my top-box I didn't have anywhere convenient to put anything. Luckily for me the site had a stall selling freshly made pizzas. Sold! They made me a cuppa too, gratis. I got some milk for tea in the morning from the site warden. More bad planning; I don't have anything for breakfast and the nearest supermarkets are 12-15 miles away according to the young couple running the pizza stall. I can't be bothered. Peanut M&Ms it is then.

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