The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

The Sorcerer, Ghost Valley

Friday, 10 June 2011

Galloway Forest Park

We had a great time last week camping in Glentrool in the Galloway Forest Park.
The forest's massive & at about 300sq miles, it's the biggest in Britain.

In amongst the densely populated forest of Sitka Spruce, Scots Pine,  Birch & other broad leaved trees off road biking trails weave around the undulating forest floor. The 7 Staines was one of the first of it's kind offering marked trails of varying grades to the off road enthusiast.

Once out of the forest & into the open moorland it feels wild & rugged with beautiful Lochs filling in much of the open spaces.

Paul changing spinners, to try & temp a 2nd trout of the day

We went canoeing & fished for Brown Trout & we went biking exploring the many trails.

It's a beautiful area with also much climbed & unclimbed rock waiting to be explored which will be my next trip up there.

On the way home Sal turfed me out at Shap just North of the Howgills & I cycled home.

The Howgills are a range of rugged hills that I look out to, from my home in Sedbergh. Looking North you look up to the trig point on top of Winder & beyond. I’ve yet still so explore the whole area but the walking, biking & fell running in a remote quiet setting is amazing. The rolling nature of the hills lends itself to these disciplines & it’s amazing how remote it can feel once on the tops away from everything & everyone.
Little by little I’m slowly exploring more of the Howgills & enjoying the challenges that these present.
I cycled down through Orton looking straight into the heart to the Howgills & was hooked into an obvious spur which ran gently up onto the tops. I could just make out a worn track which I thought must be a way on. So without a map of any sorts & the sun still high enough in the sky I headed up into the hills.

I had a great adventure which felt serious & committing with the sun much lower, dipping below the hoizon when I eventually got home.

A one point I was shouldering the bike & climbing down a very steep grassy broad spur for about 600m where a slip would have been very serious & that was without fording the stream at the bottom to then climb back up the other side!
It’s pretty wild when you get right into the heart of the hills & committed to continuing on.
All good training I kept telling myself!
After a few days of DIY I’m back out in Leysin & looking forward to the greater challenges the Alps has to offer.
Below is the view from the Grand Chalet at the top of Leysin Village. When staying up at the hotel the views are amazing looking out over the Valais & Mt Blanc Massif.

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