We’d booked a cottage for a week in the peaceful hamlet of Kentmere and had luckily caught the end of the incredible weather to walk the Kentmere Horseshoe (link to post here), but then the heavy rain arrived.
The first day it came was ok, we were happy reading (or in my case writing) and just kicking back in the cottage.
However, by the second day, staying indoors again was sending us stir crazy so out came the wet weather kit for a ride out on the bikes.
With the fields in the valley already looking water logged, we checked out some hard surface tracks in the area and decided to cycle over to a cafe in Ings, some 4-5 miles away. The route took us down the “three rivers descent” which I was optimistically told involved crossing some small fairly insignificant streams.
Kitted up, we set off and before long resembled drowned rats. By the top of the hill out of Kentmere, the wind and heavy rain were really making their mark. Then we came across a deep pool of water running down the hill and across the track. My husband merely ploughed his way through, but I exercised a little more caution. Never one to ride through a river when I can take the dry route, I used some handy stones to pick my way across.
I then spied my husband in the distance with his bike on his shoulders. Not a good sign, I mused. We’d come to another river crossing and with the amount of rain we’d had over 2 days, the water level was a good ankle depth above the stepping stones. With one half of our party already on the other side and my bike chivalrously with him, I was committed to wading.
My semi-waterproof shoes and supposedly waterproof socks had no chance. It was only a short crossing of maybe 4 stepping stones, but by the time I reached the other side I could already feel the cold water seeping in.
Grumbling away to myself, as the water warmed up I rationalised that maybe it wasn’t so bad and that my waterproof socks had stopped the worst of it. I figured that I could deal with the discomfort at that level.
Then we reached another river in exactly the same condition. Fully committed at this point (whichever direction I went in would mean another ankle deep wade over a river), I crossed.
By now, my shoes were completely water logged – and at that point, I realised that whilst mud, rain, snow and soaking clothing is uncomfortable, it’s something which I generally take in my stride and laugh about as I’m riding along. However, get my feet properly wet and that’s the tipping point which turns me into a grumpy so and so.
The only thing I had going for me was that the bubbles coming out of the air holes in my shoes (turns out the washing machine doesn’t rinse my waterproof socks that well) made me smile….a little.
The remainder of the track downhill involved riding in muddy running water (hah, the three rivers descent – more like the river bed descent) and by the time we arrived at Ings, we were a pretty sorry sight in our waterlogged muddy shorts, saturated waterproof jackets, squelching shoes and dripping plaits (me – sadly Mr Outdoor-Girl is now without hair).
Thankfully, Cafe Ambio gave us a cheery welcome, despite the puddles forming around us on the floor.
With a leisurely lunch and gooey warm chocolate cake in our belies, we reluctantly donned our wet kit for the ride home, via an alternative route.