Sunday, 8 July 2007

Midsummer Madness

What do you have to do when it is midsummer's day? Ride through the night of course. We had planned to do the C2C but transport problems meant that Whitehaven and Sunderland were out of the question so ... why not ride from Lancaster to Carlisle? So we did with Dick on a road bike and Tom and Matty on the tandem.

Tom parks the tandem at Windermere Ferry

Lancaster (5.30pm set off) - canal path to Carnforth - Warton (puncture repair) - Yealands - Storth - Heversham - Lyth Valley - Bowness (fish and chips) - ferry - West side Windermere to Ambleside - Rothay Park - Grasmere - Dunmail raise - Thirlspot (last orders outside with the midges!) - Bivvy at Castle Rock car park (12pm)

Our bivvy at Castle Rock car park

7am - after a very muggy night (do you sleep with the vent open in the bivvy bag and get eaten by midges or shut it and suffer from stifling heat and lack of oxygen?) set off via St Johns in the Vale to Threlkeld - C2C cycle path to Keswick (breakfast) - Bassenthwaite - Caldbeck (tea and bacon sandwiches) - long ascent followed by fast descent to Dalston - Cycle path to Carlisle. Arrived 11.30am. 98.2 miles 8 hours 2 mins riding.

Tom and Matty arrive at the top of the pull out from Caldbeck

See the video of the trip at

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Titan Shaft. Berger training.

Castleford. The Hidden Peak

Dick, Tom and Ben before the descent of Titan Shaft

The entrance to the biggest underground pitch in the UK

Hidden under unremarkable fields near Castleton is the biggest cave discovery in recent years in the UK. We were invited along on a trip with South Wales Caving Club as part of our training for the Berger next month. Ben, a veteran of many trips down Titan showed Tom and I the way and after an abseil down an impressive "dug" entrance shaft of 45 metres we were on the edge of the Titan shaft. 131 metres in two abseils passing "The Event Horizon" at half height.

Tom setting off down the 130 m rope. I don't know why he is scared ... you can't see the bottom!

After this memorable descent we had 4 hours to explore other impressive sections of cave including "The Ride of the Valkyries" and Salmon Cavern.

Caked with Peak mud we then made our way back up the 170 metres of rope (hauling bags as we went) exiting the cave after a long and tiring trip.

The view down the shaft

A view looking up