Sunday 19 April 2015

Rough Stuff Fellowship Ride Over The Calf

So was this a "rough stuff" ride in the true ethos of the club or a mountain bike ride? It's a fine difference! Anyway it was my turn to lead a ride, having planned to ride over The Calf in the Howgill Fells several months ago we were fortunate that the weather was pretty good. We met in the cafe in Sedbergh and rode off up Howgill Lane...

Once off Howgill Lane the climbing started in earnest, a rest before the drag up to Winder!

The going is mainly short cropped turf, it did seem "draggy" today into a brisk North Easterly wind!

The summit of Winder and the view to the West.

The bridleway surface has been improved over the years...nothing has changed about the steepness though! This is the steep pull onto Calders!

Once on top of Calders the summit of The Calf is clearly seen...roughly behind Ian on the photo.

Here we're on the top of The Calf...objective 1 achieved...probably the easy bit in hindsight.

Then it was down Bowderdale, quite tricky singletrack for an old man like me!

Bowderdale is roughly 4 miles long, it seemed more like 40miles today into the wind!

Here we're almost at the foot of Bowderdale, Yarlside is seen at the head of the valley lit by the sun.

A short section of tarmac and a grim bridleway near "Gars" and eventually we picked up this great little lane near Newbiggin. This would take us over to Ravenstonedale.

Its a stiff tarmac climb from Ravenstonedale up to the isolated farm of Adamathwaite...2 arrows on the map.

Its not a bad bridleway from Adamathwaite round to Narthwaite. Although difficult to follow on the ground just after this point.

The bridleway contours above the deserted farm of  Mountain View in its almost forgotten valley.

We then picked up the bridleway that would take us almost all the way back to Sedbergh. Here the footbridge across Cautley Beck near the Cross Keys.

The bridleway contours high above the Rawthey Valley providing more technical singletrack...the views were very distracting!
A good route, but make no mistake pretty hard going.


  1. Did you feet wet crossing ford over Backside Beck near Narthwaite? I agreed with you that ride looks looks like more of mountain biking ride than a tradtional RSF ride but qiute alot of folk who like tradtional RSF rides who use come out on South Lakes Group rides have not been seen in ride photos over last six months, I think you do need have few more rides with members on touring bikes.

    Anyway I did about 62 mile on my new weekend rides bike a specialized Awol Elite touring bike.

    1. Hi Simeon, No wet feet! The ford looked very slippy so we used the stepping stones.It was a good ride made more difficult by the wind really. i would agree it would have been difficult on a dropbar bike...although not impossible!
      I take your comments on board about touring bikes.
      Thats a good distance you did, whats the AWOL like offroad?
      They look like an excellent bike for "Traditional Rough Stuff"
      Take care

    2. I did two tracks on it but was quite impress with the speed on the road it took me about hour to Farleton View Tearoom from work..

      I think members of the South Lakes Group need to remember that the group start life about 21 years ago as off shoot of Lancaster CTC section and future rides should include cycle touring rides with one or two tracks to cater members who enjoy this sort of cycling and more interest traditional rough-stuff rides where you ride out to meeting point for ride and do ride and ride home again.

      With regards Bowderdale, I have done both ways in last 10 years with folk on touring bikes, its just takes a bit longer than on mountain bike but you make up the time on the road.

      The last time, I was on the Calf, the tallest point on the Howgill Fells was last year, I rode from home to start of ride in Kirkby Lonsdale and did the ride and rode home again.

      The point is mountain bikes are fine if you starting ride from back of car but you need encouraging more members to ride start of ride and if want go further a field have a YHA weekend or car share. On Sundays the car should left at home on the driveway.

  2. Looks a really beautiful ride. If you do this route again in the future I hope to come along.

    1. Bowderdale is one of those routes you do every five years which gives plenty of time to forget how hard it was!

  3. You'll be more than welcome, it is a grand ride. The climb to the summit is the easy bit IMHO! Bowderdale is a bit of a trial!
    Glad to see your getting out on the bike a bit...the little fella will be wanting his own before long!

    1. Stephen's making me go out so I dont get too grumpy being off the bike for too long.
      I hope to be back up to a decent level of fitness in the next few weeks- at the moment the hills are making my thighs burn where I dont usually feel anything like that and my knee problem is back - think I just need to build up thr strength in the tendons again and I'll be fine. But I still have managed to ride up all the hills so far without stopping :-) But I think I need a bit longer before I'd be ok enough for your area rides. Hope to see you over the summer.

    2. No special fitness needed Georgie. The scenery is so great lots of stops to look at the views.
      Hope the summer is good for us all :-)