‘Ride Bikes’ and ‘Flare’ ladies ride up Walna Scar
Since taking over Ulverston-based bike shop Ride Bikes (formerly DC Cycles), new owners Jenny Nuttall and Dan Stringer have introduced some exciting new brands and a programme of courses and guided rides. With their first all-ladies ride proving to be a massive success, Jenny was keen to organise more throughout the Lake District, starting with a classic route from Coniston, taking in Walna Scar.
Having passed my Level 2 Mountain Bike Leadership award at the same time as Jenny, I was delighted to be asked to help her lead the rides along with fellow leader, Liz Peacock. The ride was also supported by popular mountain bike apparel label Flare, and the majority of riders turned up sporting their favourite Flare jerseys and shorts.
After meeting just outside Coniston, a colourful procession of fourteen ladies set off along the shores of Coniston Water towards Torver, before hitting the steep road climb up to Broughton Moor. With fresh legs, everyone shot up with relative ease, although by the time we neared the top, we were all looking forward to the promise of a descent. The fun singletrack through the forest didn’t disappoint, with the wet, rooty trails keeping everyone on their toes.
After a great blast through the trees, we were spat back out on to the road for another sharp climb up to Stephenson Ground, where we stopped to refuel and deal with a couple of mechanical issues.
From here the gradient eased off but the terrain became more technically challenging, with tough rocky climbs and countless boggy sections to negotiate. Despite some mutterings of “type two fun”, everyone conquered the ascent admirably, and by the time we arrived at the disused quarries, there were still smiles all round, particularly when Jenny produced some millionaire’s shortbread. Not only were the sweet treats delicious, but they provided a well needed sugar boost to get us up the long slog to the top of Walna Scar.
It certainly seemed to do the trick, as it was no time at all before we were all at the top, taking in the views and gearing up for the awesome long descent back down to Torver. After pedaling over the saddle, we plunged into the series of tight rocky bends for a wild ride down the loose trail. The top section is steep and pretty technical in places, but everyone made it down at their own pace, arriving at the bottom with wide smiles on their faces. Once everyone was down, we set off again for the next stage of the descent, down some narrow singletrack through the foliage, stopping along the way to admire the stunning waterfalls. Resisting the urge to join the other swimmers, we continued on down to Torver before rejoining the lakeside track back to our meeting place.
We’d barely had time to remove our soggy shoes before Jenny and Liz had laid out a spread of tea and delicious home baking, which was, quite literally, the icing on the cake for what had been a fantastic ride. If everyone wasn’t already buzzing from an exhilarating descent and cake-induced sugar rush, Jenny also had a series of prizes for those who’d excelled, challenged themselves and conquered fears, as well as a prize draw and discount codes for Ride Bikes and Flare Clothing.
From the excited chatter and laughter filling the air, it was abundantly clear that everyone had had a great time, with the consensus being that the fun had been of a purely “type one” variety, with the exception, perhaps, on a couple of the climbs!