Day 1, St Bees to Rosthwaite, 1750m ascent, 47km, 6 1/2hr
Trouble free exit from the town using GPS, and soon off road. Leisurely warm up along Enerdale Water until Scarth Gap which is more or less unrideable, down too for the most part of the descent, but then evens out to a challenging descent to Buttermere. The route to Honister Slate Mine is mainly a push but with big rewards on the fast and slippery quarry tracks down to the Mine buildings which provide a welcome cup of tea. Beware sheep!
From the Mine one of the best descents in the Lakes awaits, supurb riding and views down to Grange. We stayed round the corner at the Royal Oak, Rosthwaite.
Day 2, Rosthwaite to Patterdale. 2000m ascent, 31km, 8 1/2hr
A supurb start to the day but soon steepens to a drag up Eagle Crag and then not rideable until quite a long way down the valley. This probably added an hour to my estimated time. Once it levelled out the ride to Grasmere was great with some fantastic power cake in the sandwich shop next to the Red Lion!
The ride continues up Great Tongue on the left hand side (bridleway), which is a challenging ascent to start but ends in a push up a grassy bank then partly rideable to Grisdale Tarn. Riding around the Tarn crossing the stream brings you to the foot of Dollywagon Pike for the big carry towards Helvellyn. From the top of Dollywagon the tops are 99% rideable. We came down sticks pass to Glenridding which is a slow technical descent which added almost another hour to the estimate (including fixing Neil's shoe). Looking back, the descent before that from White Side to Glenridding would have been much faster and perhaps more rewarding depending what lights your fire! (There was quite a bit of pushing down on Sticks Pass!)
Day 3, Patterdale to Kirkby Stephen. 1500m ascent, 60km, 7hr
This was a good alternative to the Ulswater route in my opinion. The climb out of Hartsop is all rideable to the Hayeswater reservoir (for Rob anyway!) A reasonably short push up towards High Raise meets with rideable tracks all the way along High Street. The path varies from the map at this point and so the way off Down Hart hill is not obvious but is marked by a big cairn at the junction. Good tea stop at Bampton Post Office. Great trails around the quarry and Yorkshire moorland take you into a different world after 3 days in the Lakes! Great riding, some of which is on lanes, back to Kirkby Stephen.
Day 4, KS to Reeth, 1400m ascent, 46km, 6hr
Good riding across moor land, Once you leave the road descend past farm buildings then it’s best to follow ‘Simon’s Wall’ to the left of the marked path at Woofergill NY852094 to the road then it’s on the road until you reach Tan House. A mad pub if ever there was one! Fantastic descent over moorland to Gunnerside where we deviate up another valley past an old lead smelter and mine workings on the top of the adjacent moorland. Very fast descent past the quarry off Gunnerside Moor over some slightly boggy sections and a great descent into Reeth.
Day 5, Reeth to Osmotherly, 900m ascent, 63km, 6 1/2hr
Nice ride. The section from Applegarth to Whiteclif Wood shown as bridle way on the map was a mixture of Footpath and Bridle Way. We had a confrontation with a farm lady because we were looking for the bridle way option in her field! Really the only thing of note was Richmond. Lovely town. We arrived at Osmotherly after a mix of road and farmland bridleways. Osmotherly has a great pub, the Golden Lion!
Day 6, Osmotherly to Glaisdale, 1650m ascent, 55km, 6 1/2hr
In many ways one of the best days ride. We had some difficulty finding the correct path on Beak Hills on Cold more but found our way to the top eventually. This day was almost 100% rideable through superb moorland and countryside. We detoured around the dis-used railway at Bloworth Crossing around Middle Head and Dale Head as it was marked footpath, but the detour was worth it! Challenging ascents and descents were all in there with a rapid descent to the B&B at Glaisdale. Perfect!
Day 7, Glaisdale to Robin Hoods Bay, 800m ascent, 30km, 4hr
Passing through the village past the Pub, take a right through the ford then after a few yards sharp left through the slippery woods! Very technical start to the day!
The route takes you through Grosmont (a railway attraction) with a big road climb to the top of the moors. A short stretch on the main A169 takes us onto another challenging moorland section which would be a nightmare in the wet but conditions at this time of year were great. Very entertaining grooves! Another short section on the A171 takes us off road again with a sting in the tail road climb with 2 miles to go!
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