Sunday, 12 October 2014

Kielder with friends old and new...

What a cracking Crew
 Right to Left -Steven Hackworth ,John Chambers,Al Roberts,Luke Troy,Mark Boon Purvis, Steve (Scotty) Scott,Kevin Turner, Carl,Mark Eagan, Glenn Johnstone,Lee Sheridan,Ian Carr, Davey (twice around) Purvis.

 The trip up to Kielder had been planned for a good few months. I have to admit I wasn't sure whether I was going to make it as Thursday evening I wasn't feeling to good,what with a dicky tummy and just generally feeling flat and washed out. I awoke Friday morning, getting ready for work and still wasn't on form.

All week I have been working over time, roughly equivalent to full time hours. I have managed well, although it has been tough as I'm not used to it. A few extra aches and pains in my stump and mentally, the few brain cells I do have, well they have been working overtime too to cope. I find it's hard being switched on all day. Saying that I am very proud of myself, to think approx two years ago I had been out of work for around 18 years and now here I am in a job I love, really helping people who are a lot worse off than myself. My job is very rewarding and it helps me put things into perspective at times.

I finished at around 16:15pm and  decided "you know what I can't let my mates down". Al and a friend of his Kev who I had met a week earlier along with another of Al's friends Luke were looking forward to me going up, along with John and Lee another couple of Al and mines friends. Like I say the event had been planned months in advance and to bottle out now, well I knew I would regret it. So I just had to put everything else aside  pick up the lads,John and Lee and just go and do this. We eventually got away, though it was sometime after 7pm.

Lee had his Garmin so I just followed his instructions to get up to the cabin in Kielder. The journey seemed to take ages, which was partly to my driving (Yes I drive like Miss Daisy), but also due to the twisty back roads and also the thick fog that we encountered about halfway up. 

Once in Kielder  Lee said "the turning should be around here somewhere" then we spotted a single bright light on our right. It was Kev out on his bike looking for us. "We weren't sure you were coming or if you had got lost" he said. We couldn't ring ahead as there is no signal up that way. I felt a bit guilty that we hadn't gotten up until late, but hey at least we had arrived.

Kev escorted us through the gate and up the narrow back lane and we arrived at one of the two cabins in the area, All gear unpacked, we had a little look around. The cabin we were in was canny, it was big and everything you could need for a weekends jollies. Toilets, showers a proper kitchen. There was a funny smell from each of the bedrooms, but once you got used to it it was ok. It was like a damp smell, so Kev popped the small electric heaters on full toot and the rooms became toasty warm.

John and Lee soon got stuck in to a few beers and something to eat. me well I don't partake in alcohol. I don't particularly like the taste. I always drink too much and always make myself ill. Plus I still wasn't feeling exactly good, tummy wise. Al offered to make me something to eat and a cuppa, but I kindly refused, like I say just wasn't feeling too perky.

All in all there were 13 of us there including me as I recall (I can't for the life of me remember everyone's names, so have asked Al to send me a list as I would like to say a huge thank you to all the lads. Each and everyone was spot on, very friendly and really made the whole experience great)

We sat in the lounge area of the cabin all sharing different stories and having a bit craic well into the early hours, then headed off to bed,  arranging to get up and set off for a ride around 10/10:30 am.

Lee, John and Luke were in our small bedroom. When I say small I mean claustrophobic. The bedroom consisting of 2 bunk beds. Lee and I were first to bed, the heater was still on. I got inside my sleeping bag fully clothed and popped my mp3 player on and stuck in my earphones. I had come prepared as last time I camped out with Al it was like sleeping next to a grizzly bear with a bad dose of cold, dear me that bloke can snore. As I recall I had drifted off to sleep then woke up in a panic as I couldn't breathe. No wonder the window and doors were shut and the heater was still on full toot, honest the room was at melting point. I had to get out of my bag strip off some of my clothing and crawl in the dark to try and find my head torch which was in my bag, so that I could see the heater to then turn it off. Just as I got back into my bunk John and Luke came in, trying to be quite, but a they were both pished, they were giggling away like school girls, especially when they both started farting, now there was a different smell in the room. I never sleep well away from home and tonight was no different, weird bed, weird smells and weird where did I put my mp3 player

At around 8:00am I got up and went along to the lounge. Al and John were already up. Al made me a nice cup of coffee (Al was the resident chef for the weekend) and I made myself some Nutella and fruit loaf sandwiches. Before long the rest of the boys were up and everyone was getting some breakfast, before popping on their biking gear and checking over their bikes.

We all gathered outside the cabin and people chose which routes they would be taking for the day, before having a group photo taken and everyone heading off. We all more or less headed down the Lakeside Way, which is a very scenic route and leads to other trails around Kielder. I'm not clued up on Kielder and have to admit I wasn't very observant. I know of a few trails, have ridden some in parts but that's abut it. There is the Osprey, Bloody Bush and Lonesome Pine. I will mention  the Lonesome Pine a little later.

As we rode along I would try and grab a few shots here and there. It was beautiful though very foggy in the morning so a lot of the natural beauty was disguised in this low flying cloud. 

Yes I played with pic
Kev, John and Al in the Background
   There was quite a few of us in our group, people riding at different speeds then waiting for others to catch up. I had decided to bring my old steed along on the ride, my Ibis Mojo SL. A bike I have now had for over 7 years. The last time I had my Ibis at Kielder it was only 6 months old and I had broken the frame. I'm pleased to say the old girl stood up to the terrain well, even after I had a few spills.

John taking a few snaps
Lee explaining what it's like to have a hernia
A few of the lads coming out from a bird hide they had checked out

 A good way along the Lakeside Way Trail, Kev pulled over as his front wheel was wobbling. On closer inspection it appeared as if his front axle had come loose in the cones. So Kev set off toward Kielder Castle as there is a bike shop there. Anyhoo we didn't see Kev again, but later found out the guy at the shop couldn't repair his bike so Kev's ride was cut short.

When we arrived at the bike shop near to the Castle Al bought some new pads, as he thought he had oil on his old ones. He took them out and the lad in the shop gave him a little hand replace the new ones. Then we were off again, heading for the Lonesome Pine Trail. This trail was were Lee was going to leave us as he hadn't rode for over a month as his hernia op was still healing up. There was Al and Luke a couple of their friends who I must apologise I can't remember their names and John and I who headed up the trail. Al, Luke and their two m8's going first, then me and John bringing up the rear. A good way up the slippery incline I lost my balance on a particular rocky section and fell off as my tyre wiped out. I fell on my Bartlett Tendon side so couldn't pop a foot down to stop myself. When I finally managed to get to my feet  I discovered I had yet another scuff on my BTK and that my leg was twisted at the foot. Out with my tool kit and a quick bit of loosening and then straightening up, then re-tightening and both John and I were off again. The Lonesome Pine trail was pretty tough, nothing I couldn't handle in the dry, but in the slippery conditions wow I was all over. I was also very disappointed in myself, can't really blame my BTK. I should have brought my shock pump and also replaced my tendons for some tighter ones as the ones I had on must be very worn. It just felt as if I had no control when I was out of my saddle and trying to lean over the back end of my bike. My poor little stump was getting proper fatigued, trying to find the balance between being locked out at 90 degrees (Not Good) and being bent far enough so as to offer a good riding position and a bit of suspension. Inevitability as my tendons were worn I just couldn't maintain my bent knee position and this was very frustrating for me  as the trail was hard work and I couldn't ride with a flow on the rocky down hill sections. All I could do was try my best with what I had and I think I did ok. AL and the other lads were well ahead of John and I and as we approached this bridge, all we heard was someone shouting, but by then it was too late to decipher the shouts as "Don't come across the bridge" as I was almost all of the way across the bridge. This is when my bike just washed out from under me on the slippery wooden planks. It was so slippy I couldn't even stand back up on the bridge and had to gently throw my bike over to the edge of the bridge then crawl off off it. Walking back over the bridge as we all decided it was just too tricky and dangerous to go on was a nightmare. I can't believe I even got to near the end, honest the bridge was so greasy and really dangerous. In my opinion it should have been covered with chicken wire to give it more purchase.

We rode back along the Lonseome Pine the way we had just come and headed for the Lakeside Way Trail, stopping for a little snack. At this point Luke and the two other lads decided they were going to go for a longer ride around the trails and Al, John and I decided we would take a route that would take us back to the cabin,again following the Lakeside Way. I was sore having forgotten my cycling under shorts and it's not good riding 30 odd miles in the wet in a pair of boxers.

The ride back was really pleasurable, as the sun had got out and I felt we had a little more time for some photo opportunities and a bit of a mess around. We discover this small arty hut which overlooked the lake.

Sure it was called Aryen's hut or something, yes I'm not very observant

Over Looking the Lake
 There were lots of these plates in various rocks, apparently they are for brass rubbings.

Cool artsy plates were set in rocks which were scattered about
 Continuing to ride following the longer route around the lake, we stopped here and there just to take in the scenery and I got a few pics of Al and John riding.

Al n John

Heading along by the Lake
  As we stopped at the lake side to grab some pictures Al and I had a stone skipping contest. I did very well managing 11 skips with one stone and was crowned the stone skipping champ, well in my own head lol.

Stone skipping
 The sunshine started to appear in the afternoon and it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon. I even caught some nice sun flares. It's weird I have this new Blue Lumix to replace my lost Orange one. Both the same camera just different colours, maybe it's in my head but I preferred my Orange one I think it took better pics. Maybe I need to try harder lol.

John on the trail
A Nice Flare on the trail
Water looked magical
The sun shining down on the Lake
The water was a beautiful colour as the shore broke

Back on the bikes and continuing to ride all the way back to the Cabin. Most of the lads were back. Another of Al's friends was there with his dog Zeus, who I got along with very well. Again makes me think of Mr Hink's. I think we may well get ourselves another bully in the near future.
I had spoken to Lee and John about what they wanted to do, stay another night, or head back home.  
Lee fancied heading home, whilst John decided he would stay, Al would give him a lift home. I knew Lee hadn't been away from home in a while as his wife Michelle has been receiving treatment for cancer. I didn't mind coming home with Lee, after all I hadn't slept well and we wouldn't be riding the next day and I was real sore. 

So we packed up our gear, got the bikes on board and said goodbye to all our new friends, shaking each one by the hand. Not before I had had a couple of burgers prepared by Al's fair hand I was feeling a little better in the tummy department at least. 

All in all an excellent and very enjoyable adventure. Just need to now clean my 
bike, clean my BTK and get it all set up so that I get more input from it.

This shot was as I rode under a tree canopy, camera in hand as I rode

  Here's a few more shots that I grabbed throughout the day, mainly towards the end as John, Al and I rode back to the cabin.

Some lucky heather as Al describes it
Finishing off along by the lake where all the boats are moored
Some cracking views
 A huge thank you to all the lads, especially Kev for  organising the event and inviting us along and Al for trying to keep me motivated and doing all the cooking. Pleased I came along....

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