Mostly, this is random stories from my various trips as I collect them, but I've a wee backlog to get through too and those will pop up occasionally.

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Sunday 5 February 2012

Playing away

As previously reported, 2011 turned into a year of chasing goals and targets. From compleating my first round of Munros, through doing my first LeJog, to getting that 10,000km of riding and walking, it seemed I was always chasing something. I'd already decided that I was going to be less number-driven in 2012 and my main objective for this year is to walk and ride in areas I've never visited before. With that in mind, when my friend Jonny was organising a birthday MTB ride, I was keen to take him up on an offer of a guided tour of his back yard. 

Setting off south for a weekend is a bit of a novelty and crossing the border even more so. With some time to spare, Al and I decided we'd take in a ride on the way down to Huddersfield to break up the journey and make the most of our time. Asking around on Singletrackworld, we got a few recommendations for a route near Ingleton. This was useful for me as I've still to really comprehend the rather arcane English Right of Way rules and all those dotted and dashed pink lines on the OS map just look too confusing. 

The route turned out to be a cracker: some decent climbs, lots of lovely rural bridleways and a track over the higher moors. The weather could have been better. Cold and damp, there was snow, ice and slush higher up and we eventually opted to shorten the route slightly as we'd not get a view of the limestone pavements under the snow anyway. Returning to the van brought another problem - it was getting darker and with glasses now liberally smeared with mud, it was a bit of "point and pray" on the last, fast descents. 

By way of contrast, the weather for Saturdays birthday ride could not have been more perfect. Brilliant blue sky, hardly a breath of wind and crisp, cold trails made for a fantastic day out, all made even better by Jonnys narrative. It was certainly beautiful and the contrast with the nearby towns and villages made it even more so. All this great riding, in amongst all that urban development. Jonny is obviously, and very rightly, proud of his neighbourhood and I'm so glad he was able to share that enthusiasm with us.

I'm now really looking forward to similar adventures as the year progresses.

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