Do you remember when you used to get new toys for Christmas and then couldn’t play with them because the weather was too bad or you had to visit your great aunt for tea? I get this feeling every January as I wait (impatiently) for the new skateboarding season to begin.
This year I am thrilled to be able to do something about it! Harry Bentley and I had been chatting about the North/South divide between the various skateboarding groups and Harry suggested we get together early 2019 for those brave enough to ignore the winter. Although I am desperate to find time to do Beachy Head, the consensus was that for a start, the South Down Shredders would head North.
The destination is Bolsterstone in the Peak District and the weekend is 23/24 February. (Little do we know when we set the date that we will have the hottest February on record!).
I find the accommodation (well actually my wife does, but she makes me do the phonecalls and so I am happy to take the credit!) A large bunkhouse on the edge of the peaks, 20 minutes from the hills and a short distance from a pub, meets the brief of somewhere warm and cheap.
Those from further afield arrive on Friday night and we are joined on the Saturday by skaters who live more locally. We end up with 25 skaters altogether – quite a crowd.
There is no racing planned so we can be flexible on what we do. Over Saturday morning breakfast, we agree a loose schedule.
Our first stop is two roads which can be linked together and run up to 48 miles per hour on luge. It is a great warm up spot, allowing us to have a few cruising runs whilst marvelling at the mild weather. I can’t help but remember that this time last year, Dreek and I were struggling to take the campervan up to Glenshee to sample the excessive snow!
In the afternoon, we move on to the site of the Bolsterstone Outlaw run (formerly a regional race in the BDSL calendar). We start from the first corner rather than from the race start. It is quite a technical run which you cannot really take your eyes off and many are trying it for the first time. Fortunately, there are no injuries or dramatic incidents to report. Just follow cams, pack runs and basically lots and lots of skating! It is amazing to see everyone - the Sheffield Long Sox, the Leeds Longboarders, the South Down Shredders, the Southern Fairies Outlaw League and the London Longboarders are all represented. A few of these are riding SP8BOARDS too - something I always like to see.
Despite the sun, it is still February and so the light doesn’t last long. At 5 pm, we decide to quit and return to the bunkhouse to change. Time to find the pub for something to eat and a few bevies.
Next morning, those of us staying at the bunkhouse are up bright and early and back at the
Bolsterstone run. The track is damp in patches, making it very slippy for high speed runs. A few decide to slide part of the track after the first corner until the track dries out. Quite frankly, it is better to do this by choice and hope for a more stylish descent than leaving it to fate and risking a wipeout!
The Sheffield guys (and Ell!) turn up eventually, some of them a bit worse for wear due to Saturday night over-indulgence.
The mood is good but when Johnny Braund hits 57 km a hour doing stand-up, friendly rivalry develops over who can do the hill faster – lugers or downhill skateboarders? I guess you can take the guys out of the competition, but you cannot take the competition out of the guys). The question became who could go faster – a downhill skateboarder or a luger? Of course, at the Bolsterstone Outlaw last autumn, Oscar Taylor and Ell Macey both achieved better times doing stand up than the fastest luge. Dreek wants to go for it though. He crashes out on the first run but on the second, manages 62 km a hour. I am actually going down the hill at the same time and I am definitely pulling away from Dreek. I start to wonder…..could I?.....should I?.......... My interest in joining in the informal “time trial” is peaked but, unfortunately, it is time to wrap things up and for our Southern mates to start the journey home. Guess I will just have to wait until next time…
It is a great weekend and I can’t wait to reciprocate with a visit to the South. For now, though, there is the combined event of Ell’s new Labryrinth Spring Outlaw (for beginners) and the BDSL’s first race of the Season at Sheepy on the 23/24 March to look forward to.
Let the 2019 racing begin!!!!
Credits go to Max Brown, Samian Trollope, Timmy Peters and Harry Bentley for the photos. (Apologies to anyone I have missed out - it is unintentional I assure you. All photos are greatly appreciated!)
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