Thinking up an idea and going for a final ride
On short notice and with the holiday period between Christmas and new year, we decided on a short trip. Having had a great time in Gisburn forest earlier in the year, we thought it would be fun to make the most of the time we had off before new year. The idea we came up with was to travel up to Gisburn, then head over to the Yorkshire Dales before 2017 comes to an end.
Did we bite off more than we could chew?
This time, it involved the old saying of ‘Three’s a crowd’! The van had been designed for comfortable living of 2 people and bikes, but this time we had a true test of if it would accommodate 3 people and 3 bikes, not to mention all the baggage. Some how we made it work, however it did mean that poor old Jake was sleeping across the front seats. We were at full capacity but we made it work for the 4 days we were away. I think having a roof box helped considerably as we were able to put a lot of non essential items up and away.
In good warm weather, you would be able to place the bikes outside and give yourselves some extra room to move things about, but given that we were mid winter at the end of December, there was no way this was going to be an option. Instead, we had to work around the bikes, keeping them inside and dry, whilst trying to live with 3 people in a very confined space without getting kit and bags wet. Did it work, of course it did, but we need to go back to the drawing boards and figure out a more sensible option. That or just travel in the summer, but we ideally want to be able to travel whenever and wherever.
So Gisburn was our first place we set out to ride. Full details about this purpose built trail centre can be found on one of our previous posts here. From here, we drove up to a place called Ribblehead located in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Ribblehead is situated in amongst the 3 peaks of Yorkshire. Walkers often challenge themselves to complete all 3 in a day with is around a 26 mile round trip up the 3 peaks which are Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside, and Ingleborough. Unsure on what and where we wanted to ride, we settled on trying to scale Whernside, the closest of the three peaks. Although you cant ride a lot of the way up, we had to resort to ‘Hike A Bike’ in places as the assent was very steep and rocky in places. Also, as snow had fallen days previously, we had to contend with some ice and snow.
Is this something you should ride? Not unless you are extremely confident! We ascended from the north side which is no doubt an easier route down. What we were met with on the southern side shocked us. The route down can only be described as a serious rocky black trail, and in places not even rideable. The first 1/3 was extreme and very cool to descend, however the middle section was very severe. We found ourselves carrying the bikes down part of the way as we could have injured ourselves if we had carried on. It was a challenge, but built a lot of confidence in ourselves. Check out the route below if you want to see where we went.
Did we Survive?
We survived but not all the bikes came away unscathed. Unfortunately, some damage occurred on the section I mentioned we had to walk down. Jake slipped and his bike fell. Sadly his rear brake disc took the impact and bent. We we lucky enough to get it to a point where it was at least rideable. We managed to get back to the van with only that one minor piece of damage. To be honest, we were all surprised that was the only damage. All three bikes took a beating!