A ride up Catbells, Derwentwater

I’ve tried to run up this Hill a few times without success and I’ve been on its summit a number of times.

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It’s by far on of my favorites, though in saying that you’d think I’m an expert. I’m not, I know the Keswick area well and the hills that enclose Derwent Water but further afield I can only reel off names that I’ve heard being discussed or written by others. few months ago while on the summit I come across a group of middle age guys on their bikes, some looked older than me.

I love the fact that they looked like they were really enjoying themselves and for me there is no feeling that compares to challenging ourselves in something physical that seems impossible.

There and then I decided that I was gonna do the same , mad I know but why not?

Whats the worse that could happen to a ‘middle aged’ strong boned (fat) guy trying to ride a mountain bike up and down Catbells? Many things I suppose but never mind, it could be bad but also amazing.

Catbells is a lovely fell, seen from Keswick town it has a ridge that mimics a sleeping dragon with steep sides coming out from the lake with two bumps that reach toward the sky. It’s easy to navigate up, but the rocky outcrops nearer the top make it harder with a bike in ones shoulder.

These views are superb and what better way to see them than a quick fell run on a bike?

Well, some people prefer a nice fell walk but I prefer the quicker way!

Starting from Portinscale and heading on the road towards Grange in Borrowdale, after 10 minutes of cycling I get to the path heading up towards the summit of Catbells

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The path was easy to follow from here. It was a direct line almost to Catbells which I could see rising above the tree line when there was space.

Arriving at the bottom of the fell I passed a couple of walkers. The familiar look donned their faces, one of shock and horror that someone would consider walking up a hill with a bike on his shoulder.

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I like this look, makes me feel like I’m doing something out of the ordinary where in reality lots of people do it and are much better at it than me.

Nevertheless these guys thought I was either a pro in training or someone mad in the head or going trough a middle life crisis. And I couldn’t stop and have a break just yet, not until they’re out of view anyway!

Catbells rises sharply on a switchback path and before you know it you can turn around and see a great view.

My back had started to ache. First it’s like it’s going numb but then a dull ache ensues.

But ‘hey, get on with it’ I said to myself.

Not wanting to make do with the current view I continued up through the pain in my back and sweating like mad.

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There are a few rocky bits that need scrambled up using arms and sure foot holds, well one harm .

I arrive at the first bump and peak this where I’m confronted with a strong wind that makes me lean into it in fear I was going to get blown off the top. The fell had thus far sheltered me which was good.

The path kind of levels off following the ridge until it rises more sharply than before with a lot of scrambling involved.

I’m walking really slow this bit and the bike feels heavier but it reminds me of carrying my boys on my back and gives me a burst of energies, I pass a group of lads who also gave me that look. The wind now behind the fell so I’m afforded a nice easy climb. I’m tired so I’m making sure my feet are secure when climbing.

I reach the top an the wind is even more crazy. I struggle to stand up on top. I move to the edge of the peak that faces the wind so if i do get knocked down I’m not going to fall off the cliff.

It’s at this point I wonder if Pepi had listened to me when I told her I was going up here!

Just in case I didn’t come back.

I get my camera out and take some pictures and a video as this is the only medium that could show what it was really like on top.

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The views are just as amazing as I remember. I sit and watch for a while and then head back following a easier route. It’s slow going down the rocky bits and the wind seems to be on my back pushing me down.

Amazing, absolutely amazing.

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I eventually catch up with the group of lads who I’d passed going up. I don’t slow down and plough past them giving the one at the back a bit of a scare. Not sure what he thought.

Back on the ground I pass a fell runner looking fit and running easy and I wonder if he is amazing as he looks or if he’s like me, a ‘crazy guy’ with a lot of enthusiasm for hills and life.

Well done fat man.

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