WINTER CHAOS Words by Ben Stainer

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Supreme UKDH: Skate to Escape host Winter Chaos.


great deal is made of the north of England. A region of the country with Geordie accents, Hadrian’s Wall and weather less forgiving than an army drill sergeant. A very well-known feature of the north of England is the vast scenery, the peaks and troughs that are the Lake and Peak Districts. Such places, despite being the best way to contract hypothermia, often host the best surprises.

On the note of surprises, heading up to Cheltenham the night before the event bought many. After realising the underrated luxury of being able to stretch your legs after 3 hours on a coach, it was an awesome (If not bonkers) driving bonanza by Ry Swanton to leave our gear at his house and to leap into a pub in the heart of Cheltenham. Tom Campbell, Ry and Myself met up with Dale, who looked completely normal, even after 5 pints of beer. Conclusively, Dale has a liver stronger then Thors hammer.

After the Rums, Coke and the terrible pool skills had been established, we slept until the early hours of the morning. We were being picked up by Bodhi in the AOB van, with John in tow. We had estimated that the AOB van would be fairly late, with Ry heading off to pick up Dale around 7:15. To everyone’s amazement, Bodhi turned up early! After Ry and Dale had slung their gear into the van we were on the road! Meeting hardly any traffic and after failing to woo a cashier with a Lionel Richie song at a supermarket, we made it to the hill at 11:30. The Skate to Escape crew were in high spirits, although all of us in the AOB van were trying to get the last part of warmth before we were subjected to the freezing rain and wind strong enough to rip boards from fingers.

Onto the hill it was! The mega Tailwind made the first and third corners interesting and perilous. The road was morphing into a river and the bumpy surface made it the most interesting skating I’d ever experienced. Pack runs were initiated, with many braving the spray and the freezing wind. From Paignton to Scotland, the variety of riders made it an amazing day.

Finbar came from the top of the hill, having been up there since five in the morning. With freezing rain creating a lake in our shoes, Myself, Bodhi and John leapt back into the AOB van to warm up and watch skate videos. At about 2:30 the entire crew leapt back in and headed straight to the manor where Lewis had booked us to stay for the night.

Overnight accommodation at skate events often involves sleeping in a van or hoping that your sleeping bag is warmer then wrapping paper, but where Lewis and Hermione had booked was nothing short of awesome. A Games room, lounge, fireplace and a drying room filled with the noises of delight and joy as everyone removed their soaking garments and where Dale Goodwin had a wrestling match with his leathers. The phrase “THERES SO MUCH ROOM FOR ACTIVITIES” echoed around like a roundabout attached to rockets.

Memorable moments there ranged from the food being one of the best meals of my life and the revelation that Oli Parkinson was incredible at table football. Ping pong balls flew everywhere, with those playing pool having to take cover every few seconds from someone running to return a wild shot. Balance boards were also present and Uldis (CTD) handed out Slide Gloves, much to everyone’s surprise and joy.

Having remained up until 2:15am with Bodhi and John, it was a wake up to the sound of severe weather warnings and breakfast. A full English at 8:30am never tasted so amazing, especially looking outside at the sideways rain. At 10:30 the mentions of blue sky sent me shooting to the window like a princess in a Disney movie. Only that I wasn’t singing to the animals to help me with the washing, I was singing with the blue sky above.

Stepping into the trench foot shoes and feeling dry gloves, it was a hop, skip and a sprint into the AOB van, with everyone keen to get their gear in and for the 15 minute journey from the manor to the hill. After seeing overturned boats and the lake looking choppier then the pacific in typhoon season, we arrived. The dudes from Manchester arrived, with Ell Macy remarkably back after his 40mph slam a few months ago. Without further ado, the racing commenced

The heats were seething with individuals of all abilities, a rainbow one could say. One memorable heat was Dale and Finbarr’s, whereby some good old tussling back and forth emerged between the first and second corners before Finn overcooked it ever so slightly, allowing Dale to take the win. Lewis gave his masterclass in how to overtake on the inside, doing so with Dale and Tom, with the latter looking amazed and confused having been in the lead from the 1st corner

The finals commenced with myself and Lewis going for it from the start. Being so desperate to get the perfect line, We both crashed on the first corner, leading to a tangle of legs and boards. It was much like your earphones getting tangled in your pocket, only with zero frustration. Lewis suffered bad luck as his board rolled eerily down the slope, while I was fortunate enough to get to the finish line, albeit with a great sense of guilt.

Despite the tangle, Lewis was the awesome sportsman and allowed the result to stand. One modest awards ceremony later and it was on the hill again. Finbarr Doing his follow run magic while everyone looked on in awe. Like watching Cinderella, but with a van playing the lead role.

All in all, it was an amazing event, regardless of the terrible weather. Thanks a million to Skate to Escape for the event. To Patterdale hall for having us and being awesome hosts and thanks to everyone for turning up and making the event as entertaining as it was! UKDH and Stoke wherever you go.

Andy Rose Photography – Facebook

Skate to Escape – Facebook

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