It was a tough bunch of adventurous ladies who joined us last week for our Helvellyn First Timers women's guided ride!
Despite incredible weather just a few days before, the day of the trip saw a return to Wintery conditions on the fells, and so the plan for the day had to be adjusted accordingly. Armed with many extra layers, full waterproofs, plenty of food and water, we set out on the ride, learning about the best way to carry bikes for the hike-a-bike sections on the way, chatting about this that and everything in the way that a bunch of like-minded girls do when they get together for an adventure!
A mixture of riding, pushing and carrying took us up to Sticks Pass, at this point, still relatively sheltered from the bitterly cold wind. But from here on up things got tough! Heavy hail showers and a bitterly cold breeze pushed everyone to their limits, and glimpses of the views were only momentary as the clouds lifted every so often. Spirits remained high though, with everyone supporting each other and making sure no-one felt left behind.
Unfortunately, as we reached the ridge leading up Lower Man, about 100m vertically, and less than a KM short of the summit, the wind picked up dramatically, gusting to about 70mph, and knocking several of the group off their feet! The rest of us were left bracing ourselves, bikes flying horizontally out from us in the air!
It was just too dangerous to continue at this point, with the consequences of the strong gusts blowing someone off the ridge not worth thinking about, and the extreme windchill causing already wet, cold and tired people to quickly become hypothermic. It wasn't to be on that day, but the girls showed themselves how tough they are, and I have no doubt they will all be back and up on the summit in the future now they have proved to themselves they are tough enough to tackle the climb! Hopefully with better views as a reward too!
The descent was a "Get down and to the cafe asap" kind of ride, and well-earnt after the effort of the climb up. Fast, loose and rough trails saw everyone hurtling down to the shelter and warmth of the valley below, and once we were down, it was hard to believe just how grim conditions had been up at the top!
It's funny how a big cup of tea, some warm food, and clean dry clothes can quickly make you forget the conditions you've just battled through, and there was a definite buzz in the air in the cafe as talk turned to plans for everyone's future adventures!
A great adventurous day out despite the weather, with a fabulous bunch of hardcore ladies.
One of the girls who came along, Zara, writes a blog as Bikes, Boards and Blethers, and has written some words about her experience. Read it here!
If you missed getting a spot on this trip and would like to join us on the next one, we'll be running another on Wednesday 25th July...Book soon by clicking on the link below as places are already filling up! We can't guarantee the weather, but we can guarantee an adventure!