Derwentwater & Borrowdale
Start Point: Keswick has ample parking, but for a quiet family start I'd recommend Swinside in the valley. Head out to Portinscale, and drive through until you see parking on the roadside by the left.
Distance: 10.2 miles ( 990 feet of ascent)
Facilities & Refreshments: Keswick has ample refreshment points. In the valley we like the Grange tea rooms and High Lodore Farm on the far side of the lake itself - an excellent halfway halt for carrot cake.
Character: Starting at Keswick, the route climbs as it enters the valley. However, our description will start at Swinside, leaving out some of the inital climbing until the end. The road sweeps along, twisting through the valley bellow the fells, with superb views of Borrowdale and the lake. The main road back towards Keswick is flat and will allow pace to be made, before leaving Keswick and utilising National Cycle Network route 71, climbing back to Swinside. A short day's ride in excellent countryside for the family.
1. Parking at Swinside take the quiet lane that climbs towards Grange. It twists and turns uphill before evening out alongside Brandlehow Park to the left, as the views open up and you ride beneath the fells with views over Derwentwater. Continue on below Black Crag, then descending to Grange. Ice Cream stop for the kids.
2. Over the bridge and take the Borrowdale Road left and head towards Keswick. After approximately 1 mile you'll see the farmhouse tea rooms of High Lodore Farm to the right. Heavy slate tables and benches will provide comfort as you take in the view of Cat Bells over a cream tea or carrot cake.
3. Back onto the road, its now a easy ride along the valley into Keswick. At the roundabouts head out towards Portinscale, signed initially towards Whinlatter and Cockermouth. As you leave Keswick on the A5271 keep your eyes out for a minor junction to the left, signed as a dead end, but this is only to traffic. Turn left here. Right on the junction on the right hand side of the main road you'll see a National Cycle Network route 71 sign pointing you to turn left. The road is only closed ahead to cars, making it cycle specific.
4. Follow this to Portinscale and then enjoy the final twisting climbs on quiet roads back to the car at Swinside. The kids can make as much noise as they like, and you can properly relax out in the open spaces of the valley.