Sunday, 29 March 2015

Keilder with a few of the lads

My friend Al got in touch a few weeks back to see if I was up for an overnighter up at Kielder with a few of the lads. At the time I wasn't sure,explaining I had had a bit of a long lay off, not doing much of anything at all, due to not being very well and that I wasn't sure I would be able to make it around the marathon length route of the reservoir. Never mind as it turned out I had been feeling much better up to the planned date and had even managed to get a few short but pleasant rides in towards the lead up to Kielder. So whilst not being exactly on top form and having to wear sockets that aren't quite fitting I made the decision "what the hell I may as well head out and try my best and have a bit fun with the boys".

Kielder with the Lads

My close friend John was also coming along so I was looking forward to having a really enjoyable day in great company. I spoke to John on the Friday about what time I would pick him up the following day, as we went out for a ride with another of my old friends Carl who I hadn't see in like ages. Carl John and I just had a relaxed ride up to McDonalds at Consett and shared some canny banter on both the way there and back. It's surprising the miles you clock up just by heading up to Consett I think my total for the afternoon showed as being just over 19 miles.

Saturday morning soon arrived. I had set my alarm for 6am, however had had a really fitful nights sleep, after keep coughing and  having a really sore throat. So I found myself getting up about 5:40am before my alarm had even gone off feeling really tired. I had packed most of my essentials the night before so all there was to do was pop the bike rack on, and then my bike. Ern heard me get up and then appeared downstairs and typical of my dad was straight out to pop the bike rack on and my bike. I'm dead lucky when it comes to having a good papa bear, he had also cleaned and lubricated my Bartlett Tendon as well as my bike earlier in the week, oh and I noticed he had also done all my various  cycling shoes and boots. Then to top this off he had popped my BTK, liner and bits and bobs in my prosthetic leg bag so that I wouldn't forget them, something I do on a regular basis.

Mentally I went through a little check list...yep this time I have everything I needed including wet weather riding gear as the forecast was bleak. So at around 6:45am  I was away up to pick John and all his gear up. We got his bike strapped on and his stuff loaded in the car in no time. I then popped Kev our other friends postcode into the sat nav and we were off. I hadn't been to Kev's house before so wasn't sure how far away it was. Turns out it's only about 10 miles so we arrived really early, having arranged to meet Kev at his for between 8:30 to 8:45. When we arrived it was only something like just after 7:00am. So John and I waited outside in the car having a giggle at various Youtube clips and chatting about adventures old and new. It wasn't long before Kev was with us and we set off up towards Kielder.

The ride up was canny, however the weather was horrible, all misty and wet. I was driving along following Kev as he lead the way and whilst doing this chatting to John, as usual my mind doing overtime with a variety of crap that can only go on in my head. It was then I blurted out to John "Awww crap I don't believe it", "What's the matter?" John said. "Av'e only gone and forgot my undershorts". John laughed then reminded me "funny that as last time we came up here you did exactly the same thing". "Yeah I seem to recall" I thought as it was really uncomfortable riding all those miles in a pair of boxers under my mountain bike shorts.

Anyhoo on the way to Kielder Kev just happened to stop for coffee and he also wanted to have a look in this ickle local village bike shop. I got my eye on a pair of Endura Baggy shorts, with liner, so purchased a pair, well they will always come in handy. Whilst Kev went off for his coffee I went over to the local bakers and got both John and I a delicious beef and vegetable pastie ,which the young lass behind the counter generously heated up for us. Soon back on the road and it wasn't too long before we were at Kileder. This time we were staying in a chalet at the Calvert Trust. The other cabin we stayed in last time being sold on to Northumbrian Water and no longer available.

We couldn't pick the chalet keys up until around 4pm, so we drove back down to the car park where we came across Al and the rest of the lads. I'm useless with names, however did recognise the lads from last years ride.

As we didn't have the chalet keys it meant John and I had to have a quick change into our bike gear in my car. It was a little chilly and quite awkward but didn't take that long. Ok all set a quick photo for posterity and we were off. It wasn't long before I was lagging behind. I have a pace at it's my pace but far below most other peoples. I mean it doesn't matter I'm not a competitive rider I do it for fun, however I often feel guilty when I'm out with anyone and they have to either go at a slow pace or they are keep stop, starting waiting for me.

For a few miles we stuck together all magnificent seven, however soon after coming around the dam at Kielder John and I were soon lagging behind.

Windy along by the Dam
This was mainly to our love of the outdoors and our constant photo taking. There is so much to see and stopping to whip out a camera every few hundred feet slows you down. Anyhoo the other lads set off and where miles in front. John and I typically took the wrong route. We discovered like the old song we had taken the high road whilst the lads had taken the low. This became obvious as we came to a long steep climb and I got my eye on what looked more like a bike trail than the one we were on and said to John "Err you see that skinny trail down there, well I think that's the one we should be on". So to get on that trail it meant dismounting and manoeuvring down this steep, slippery bank side strewn with all sorts of sink holes, tree stumps, dips and divets until we could get on to the proper trail.  Not long after we spotted some of the lads in their lumi green reflective jackets and caught up with them.  As we approached they said "where's Al?", Oops he had gone back to try and find both John and I and we must have missed him. I suggested the lads carry on and John and I would go Al hunting. So they set off to complete the loop and just as John and I were about to retrace our steps Al came along, looking thoroughly knackered. Turns out he had rode back about 3 miles looking for us.

Stopping for a Shot
John checking is shot
A short rest for Al and then we were off on the Lakeside Way Loop. The loop is around about 24 miles, well directed and full of up and down sections. There are some simply amazing natural views and quite a few pieces of art/sculptures dotted around. As we rode we investigated various areas. One of the first we came upon was in a copse of trees quite near the lakes edge. Boy it was blowing a hooley here. The lake looked more like an ocean as there were some rather white capped waves breaking as they headed across the lake and towards shore. The sound in the trees was deafening and as I was taking various photo's my hands were bitter cold. I'd taken my gloves off to operate my camera. We had a little bit of a snack break, taking refuge in between the sculpture. A nice hot cup of coffee or a hot chocolate would have went down a treat about here lol.

Al offering John a nibble
Dead windy along by here
White caps on the lake
We then carried on discovering more stuff. It was a funny old day weather wise, going from soaking wet and misty to blowing a gale, then as we rode further away from the lake it got out really sunny, with blue clouds in the sky, only to turn very gusty as we dropped back down towards the lake and then more drizzle.

PYGA Posing near the Lake
Near one of the pieces of art
My friend Ade gave me a filter which I put to good use, fav shot of the day

Beautiful Scenery

Al,John And Me
At one sculpture, which looked like 3 chairs we took some pictures then as Al and John rode on up the hill a rather cheeky crow came and landed quite close by to me. I immediately started chatting to this bird asking him/her if she would like a bit of my sandwich. I then went in my back pack and retrieved my last sandwich and shared it with the crow. I couldn't get quite close enough to take a photo which was a shame. I then joined my friends at the top of the hill and we cracked on.

Just Chillin in wor geet big seat
 John especially wanted to get some shots of this one particular sculpture on the way back. It's a huge human head, made of wood and you can step into his head via his open mouth. Fun and games playing around and in the head and photo opportunities taken.

Big Heed
From here the ride back to Leaplish was hard work, well for me at least. Al had a good idea of which direction the Calvert Trust buildings were and we had to ride up this rather long steady hill. By the  time we came out onto the main road I was buggered. Al then said "I'm not sure if it's left or right", either side there was a big decent as we where on the crown of the hill. So if we went the wrong way it was an epic long ride back up. I eventually got a gut feeling and said "I think it's that way" "Hurrrrraaaaa" I'm so pleased I was right. A lovely long downward ride right to the entrance of the Calvert Trust. Usually my sense of direction is pants so I felt quite proud of myself.
Once back at the chalets it was the most wonderful feeling to have a red hot shower after all that cold, very refreshing. Al then got the tea on. A few of the other lads couldn't stay so we were down to the five of us. There was Al, Kev Steve, John and myself for tea. Al had made a Pork curry, a madras or vindaloo I don't know as I don't really do currys.  I have to say it was very nice, even if it was a bit too hot for me and left my lips on fire. I can't understand why people eat things that hurt and make you sweat. A good bit banter around the dinner table then we headed off to the lounge area within the main building up at the Trust. The Calvert Trust is an exceptional place, it offers rest bite for disabled people and it also offers loads of different activities, some of which are really challenging and quite scary. Zip wires, king swings,climbing walls and a whole host of other things. The staff were very friendly as were all the other people staying as guests. We spoke to quite a few people as they came over past where we were sitting, making conversation and introducing themselves. I have to say the accommodation was excellent too. Everything you could want for a really enjoyable weekend away. Comfortable bunks, a kitchen and lounge, spot on.

Sunday morning up bright and early, more coughing during the night so today I felt wrecked. A quick cuppa and a chat with Al in the kitchen, then John and I got our gear packed away and we said our goodbyes and it was off for home. For some reason the sat nav bringing me back on the A68, rather than down through Newcastle. Ah well I was too tired to navigate so just followed the very polite sat nav dude. I dropped John off helping him to get his bike and unload his gear. I then drove home. All of my stuff unloaded and I was gutted to discover I had lost my Royal waterproof jacket (Not a happy bunny) rang and messaged a few of the lads, no sign of it. Then Ern comes in just as I am on the war path and says he has found it hiding under the boot tidy sheet. How the hell it got there I don't know, but hey relieved it's there as a new jacket is quite expensive. Actually  just treated myself to a Madison Addict after reading an MBR magazine review so waiting on it coming. Got a good deal on it even though it's already classed as a budget jacket.

"It's been a long winter" as Al put it and I have missed hanging with my close circle of friends. Lee is on holiday with his amazing wife Michelle and what with me not feeling to well at the start of the year it didn't get off to the best start. So whilst I wasn't fully fit on this adventure and wow was I sore, (in fairness I think we all were as we were soaked through) I really enjoyed hanging with my friends. The weather didn't dampen our spirits and we laughed and joked all the way around.

Well that's about it I'm now going to edit some photo's which I will pop on here (obviously wrote the blog first as you will have seem pics) and then I'm off for a nap as I'm absolutely goosed.

1 comment:

  1. The day Glenn goes on a trip without either forgetting or losing something will be a first,no matter how much he prepares before hand he always seems to forget something .