RR+ Tourist info: Walna Scar Road. Long Story

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Taywood, Jun 19, 2003.

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  1. Taywood

    Taywood Guest

    Theres an excellent bike ride in the English Lake District called the Walna Scar Loop, graded
    Difficult, running offroad from Coniston west over the Walna Scar Road to Seathwaite in Dunnerdale,
    then southeast to Stephenson Ground, east to Torver then a road slog back to Coniston. The Walna
    Scar Road was a packhorse route before the intrusion of roads into these valleys. I first hiked this
    same route in 1947 so you can tell my age. Up on the tops its real Pete Jones country!

    MBR magazine recently gave a shortened version and I was there earlier this week. Seathwaite,
    Stephenson Ground, up a valley and over the top to the WS Road and back down to the Seathwaite pub.
    A distance of 10 miles and their grade was Medium.

    I left the carpark mid morning in unaccustomed heat 25degC on a very dry bridleway having seen
    nobody around. Rough ground but ridable, a long slog onwards and upwards across the hillside to
    the pass, then contoured round and down to a one farm hamlet called Stephenson Ground. I refilled
    a water bottle, checked the camelback and turned north facing the steep valley of the tumbling
    River Lickle.

    The grassy bridleway disappeared and all I could see was a boulder strewn hillside with an obvious
    route marked by footprints and wheel prints in those places where the side streams had left shallow
    muddy pools before dropping down to the river. I knew I'd have to carry at sometime but this was not
    what I'd planned. Medium Grade huh! The bike was across my shoulders resting on the top of the pack,
    right hand holding the bar and left hand on the next rock or grassy bit to haul me upwards. After
    yet another tumble I took a break got food and drink and looked around. It was exposed, it was hot,
    I was hot, then I noticed for the first time the forest on the other side of the ghyll (gully) and
    the nicely surfaced forest road heading onwards and upwards in the shade. Sure enough when I got to
    the top and it finally levelled out I saw that the road ended and a track came thru a gate, over a
    bridge and joined my track. I sat under the bridge in the shade for more food and drink.

    The track over the top was indistinct thru grass and dried boggy ground but excellent to ride with
    panoramic views all round. Then it turned rocky as I contoured the hill and rode past the former
    stone quarries. Fortunately a track had been cleared stone debris and I reached the Walna Scar Road
    without a puncture.

    I turned left (west) and ran the track. Unfortunately the National Park Authorities had used quarry
    debris to give a new surface to the track to help the hikers bikers and horseriders so the gulleys
    rills and water chutes were all full of very loose unconsolidated small stones. What should have
    been a fitting downhill climax turned into a helter skelter as I struggled to keep upright with both
    brakes almost locked. Just before the village I pulled off the track, pushed the bike over the
    hillside to a stream with a series of waterfalls, then as I cooled off in a pool while my clothes
    dried off in the sun I tried to drink every drop of water coming over the waterfall. 10 miles in 4
    hours and I'd seen not one other person. Great day.

    If you're a Brit doing the MBR route my suggestion is, at Stephenson Ground go thru the gate then
    400yards on the road to Water Yeat Bridge over the River Lickle and take the left fork in the forest
    if you need to save your legs for the riding. Mike
     
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  2. "Taywood" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Theres an excellent bike ride in the English Lake District called the Walna Scar Loop, graded
    > Difficult, running offroad from Coniston west over the Walna Scar Road to Seathwaite in
    > Dunnerdale, then southeast to Stephenson Ground, east to Torver then a road slog back to Coniston.
    > The Walna Scar Road was a packhorse route before the intrusion of roads into these valleys. I
    > first hiked this same route in 1947 so you can tell my age. Up on the tops its real Pete Jones
    > country!
    >
    > MBR magazine recently gave a shortened version and I was there earlier this week. Seathwaite,
    > Stephenson Ground, up a valley and over the top to the WS Road and back down to the Seathwaite
    > pub. A distance of 10 miles and their grade was Medium.
    >
    > I left the carpark mid morning in unaccustomed heat 25degC on a very dry bridleway having seen
    > nobody around. Rough ground but ridable, a long slog onwards and upwards across the hillside to
    > the pass, then contoured round and down to a one farm hamlet called Stephenson Ground. I refilled
    > a water bottle, checked the camelback and turned north facing the steep valley of the tumbling
    > River Lickle.
    >
    > The grassy bridleway disappeared and all I could see was a boulder strewn hillside with an obvious
    > route marked by footprints and wheel prints in those places where the side streams had left
    > shallow muddy pools before dropping down to the river. I knew I'd have to carry at sometime but
    > this was not what I'd planned. Medium Grade huh! The bike was across my shoulders resting on the
    > top of the pack, right hand holding the bar and left hand on the next rock or grassy bit to haul
    > me upwards. After yet another tumble I took a break got food and drink and looked around. It was
    > exposed, it was hot, I was hot, then I noticed for the first time the forest on the other side of
    > the ghyll (gully) and the nicely surfaced forest road heading onwards and upwards in the shade.
    > Sure enough when I got to the top and it finally levelled out I saw that the road ended and a
    > track came thru a gate, over a bridge and joined my track. I sat under the bridge in the shade for
    > more food and drink.
    >
    > The track over the top was indistinct thru grass and dried boggy ground but excellent to ride with
    > panoramic views all round. Then it turned rocky as I contoured the hill and rode past the former
    > stone quarries. Fortunately a track had been cleared stone debris and I reached the Walna Scar
    > Road without a puncture.
    >
    > I turned left (west) and ran the track. Unfortunately the National Park Authorities had used
    > quarry debris to give a new surface to the track to help the hikers bikers and horseriders so the
    > gulleys rills and water chutes were all full of very loose unconsolidated small stones. What
    > should have been a fitting downhill climax turned into a helter skelter as I struggled to keep
    > upright with both brakes almost locked. Just before the village I pulled off the track, pushed the
    > bike over the hillside to a stream with a series of waterfalls, then as I cooled off in a pool
    > while my clothes dried off in the sun I tried to drink every drop of water coming over the
    > waterfall. 10 miles in 4 hours and I'd seen not one other person. Great day.
    >
    > If you're a Brit doing the MBR route my suggestion is, at Stephenson Ground go thru the gate then
    > 400yards on the road to Water Yeat Bridge over the River Lickle and take the left fork in the
    > forest if you need to save your legs for the riding. Mike
    >
    >

    Excellent! thanks Mike, may have to try that route out when the foot recovers.

    Steve E.
     
  3. "Taywood" <[email protected]> wrote
    > Theres an excellent bike ride in the English Lake District called the Walna Scar Loop, graded
    > Difficult,
    [...snip...]

    Way cool. Thanks for posting. I'm going to be in the Lakes in August, it looks like, although I will
    probably have precious little time to ride. Maybe I'll be able to get one in. Any UK a.m-b'ers want
    to meet for a beer in Ambleside?

    CC
     
  4. Shaun Rimmer

    Shaun Rimmer Guest

    Corvus Corvax <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Taywood" <[email protected]> wrote
    > > Theres an excellent bike ride in the English Lake District called the Walna Scar Loop, graded
    > > Difficult,
    > [...snip...]
    >
    > Way cool. Thanks for posting. I'm going to be in the Lakes in August, it looks like, although I
    > will probably have precious little time to ride. Maybe I'll be able to get one in. Any UK
    > a.m-b'ers want to meet for a beer in Ambleside?
    >
    > CC

    Hell fire - I'd love too CC, but I'll likely be on my honeymoon at the time.......suppose I could
    always cancel it?

    ',;~}~

    Shaun aRe - heheheh - let me know what the dates actually turn out to be - I love The Lakes, and I'm
    up their more than occasionally.
     
  5. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    In news:[email protected], spademan o---[) * <[email protected]> typed:
    >>
    >> The grassy bridleway disappeared and all I could see was a boulder strewn hillside with an
    >> obvious route marked by footprints and wheel prints in those places where the side streams had
    >> left shallow muddy pools before dropping down to the river. I knew I'd have to carry at sometime
    >> but this was not what I'd planned. Medium Grade huh! The bike was across my shoulders resting on
    >> the top of the pack, right hand holding the bar and left hand on the next rock or grassy bit to
    >> haul me upwards.

    Yup, that's the Lakes for you ;-)

    >> I tried to drink every drop of water coming over the waterfall.

    Definitely not advisable - never know when there's a dead sheep upstream.

    Tony

    --
    http://www.raven-family.com

    "All truth goes through three steps: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
    Finally, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer
     
  6. Twohat

    Twohat Guest

    "Stephen Baker" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Tony Raven says:
    >
    > >Definitely not advisable - never know when there's a dead sheep upstream.
    >
    > That reminds me of a weekend spent in the hut at Cwm Llwch. Nobody
    thought to
    > check until we were leaving - -and Yes, there was one.....
    >
    > Steve thought the water tasted funny.

    They usually make the water taste sweet. Liver fluke is the biggest problem, I believe.

    Twohat (because two heads are better than one)
     
  7. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    "Stephen Baker" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Twohat says:
    >
    > >They usually make the water taste sweet. Liver fluke is the biggest problem, I believe.
    >
    > No problems yet (and it's been 30 years....) ;-)
    >

    Probably just a fluke

    IGMC

    Tony

    --
    http://www.raven-family.com

    "All truth goes through three steps: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
    Finally, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer
     
  8. Taywood

    Taywood Guest

    "Corvus Corvax" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Taywood" <[email protected]> wrote
    > > Theres an excellent bike ride in the English Lake District called the Walna Scar Loop, graded
    > > Difficult,
    > [...snip...]
    >
    > Way cool. Thanks for posting. I'm going to be in the Lakes in August, it looks like, although I
    > will probably have precious little time to ride. Maybe I'll be able to get one in. Any UK
    > a.m-b'ers want to meet for a beer in Ambleside?

    The phrase 'honeypot' was coined after the problems in this town. The traffic situation in August
    will be horrendous and the car parks full of people who wont/cant walk more than 200 yards.

    To meet mountainbikers who drink beer drop in to Bike Treks at the back of the Zefferelli
    cinema/shops/cafe place. Its by the zebra crossing. Thats white lines across the road to say cross
    here, plus pedestrian controlled traffic lights. Thats encouraged a tame village idiot with finger
    poised over the button ready for when he sees someone who may need to cross. The cops think he
    enjoys seeing the pretty lights change from green to red, but he's canny, when he sees a cop car he
    hides in the shops!

    Just remember that most riders will pop into the town for food, drink and bike parts and then go
    ride somewhere. So at the close of the day very few stop the night and we need to drive home
    sober. Mike
     
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