Stake Pass and Greenup

Stake Pass & Greenup

Route Information

Stats:18 miles and 3600 feet of ascent

OS Map Link:

Refreshments

Dungeon Ghyll Inns (New and Old) Sticklebarn Tavern (All in Langdale). Gingerbread shop in Grasmere.

Character

One for push ‘n’ carry nostalgic and masochists. Ignore the modest distance – there’s plenty of brutal terrain to snag your pedals on here. One adjective you would never deploy for this route is “flowing”.

Put it this way, if you tell cycling unbelievers that you “rode 18 miles today” this will give them no idea whatsoever of what you have put yourself through. Warning enough?


Route

1. Start at the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel. Take the track out the back and pick up the good bridleway heading up Mickleden.

2. At the top of the valley, where the valley sides rear up, is a rudimentary bridge over Stake Gill. On the right, there’s a slate sign showing left to Esk Hause and right to Stake Pass.

3. Go up onto Stake Pass on steep zigzags and follow an undulating, technical switchback across the plateau above. This turns into a highly technical descent into Langstrath that includes some scarily tight zig-zags on whoops-there-goes-the-back-wheel chippings and severe penalties for leaving the trail.

4. More technical riding takes you down the aptly-named Langstrath (stay on the true right bank) to the footbridge over Greenup Gill.

5. Turn right here and go up Greenup Gill, staying on the true right bank and flanking to your left up Lining Crag, heading for the dip in the horizon that is Greenup Edge.

6. If you’re in mist, take an ESE bearing across the northerly flank of High Raise, heading for the next dip in the ridge.

7. Plunge down Far Easedale, noting that the name has nothing to do with being simple to ride.

8. In Grasmere, refuel for the 1 in 4 haul up Red Bank, forking right at the top (past the Youth Hostel) and right again (signposted to Dungeon Ghyll).

9. In Langdale, skip some roadwork by taking the Byway across the floodplain, then go up through the New Dungeon Ghyll to pick up the last, technical section contouring the south-facing fellside to the Old Dungeon Ghyll.




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Loughrigg Loop

Loughrigg Loop

Route Information

Stats: 14 miles and 2150 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Chesters at Skelwith Bridge are peerless for carbs – their granola slices will keep your thighs fuelled for hours. If thirsty, the Britannia Inn at Elterwater will give you a friendly welcome.

Character

If you don’t have a superb time on this route, whatever the weather, it may be time to have a long, hard, look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’re just a bit of a misery-guts.

This route is a gem, with stunning views, lip-smacking climbs and arse-smacking descents, and although Loughrigg Terrace will be mobbed with walkers taking the obligatory picture of Grasmere (and who can blame them? – I’ve done the same below) much of the route is surprisingly quiet considering its position at Lakeland’s heart. I’ve just ridden it on a midsummer day of sunshine and showers and seen no-one else in the saddle.


Route

1. If you’re up early enough, there’s roadside parking on the Under Loughrigg lane, near Clappersgate Bridge. Please park considerately and tuck in tight. [Failing that, there’s a car park at the north end of the lane.] From the bridge, ride north for 200m, taking the bridleway climbing up to the left.

2. Follow this line along the southern flank of Loughrigg Fell, coming down to Tarn Foot. Go down the lane, turning right (helpfully signposted to Skelwith Bridge) Turn immediately left (unhelpfully, not signposted at all) down the 1:4 past Neaum Crag campsite to Skelwith Bridge. Chesters is here.

3. Cross the bridge, bearing left into the lane marked “unsuitable for…” Then turn right on the Public Way.

4. Turn left at the road, go another 200m up the hill and take the well-marked bridleway on the left. A sporting climb ensues onto the high pasture of Iron Keld. Turn right (fingerpost to Tarn Hows) and right again, dropping back to the A593.

5. Cross the road, and take the lane up through juniper forest and creamy-scented bracken, then rattling down the slate to Hodge Close Quarry. Turn right here (signposted to Stang End)

6. At the end of the lane, bear left at the farm and skirt woods down to the foot- (and tyre-) bridge. There is a testing drop-off from this, and another at the end of the wall. Ride up the lane to the Wrynose road and turn left.

7. Turn right soon after, following signs promising “challenging option”. This promise is soon fulfilled with a rattly descent into Elterwater.

8. Bear slightly left at the village green and cross the main Langdale road. Climb up Red Bank to the Youth Hostel.

9. Go straight through the gate with the ornate handle into Deerbolt Woods, and traverse sensationally above the outflow from Grasmere. There are many paths here but the way should be reasonably obvious. When you meet the trees it zigs down to the left but climbs straight back onto the traverse line.

10. Go past sepulchral caves and a short descent that ranks with the Beast of Hope Cross for head-sized boulderiness.

11. Turn right at Under Loughrigg and trundle back to the start.





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Grasmere and Loughrigg

Grasmere and Loughrigg

Route Information

This route is a great introduction to Lakes mountain biking. We put it together after the flooding in December 2015, to show what a great place for riding Grasmere and the surrounding fells area.

Stats: 20 miles with 3150 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

There are ample little cafes, restaurants and pubs to choose from in Grasmere, along with great places to stay over, including a Youth Hostel. If you do extend the route, then Hawkshead provides a welcome break along the way.

Character

This route rolls and climbs around the fells close to Grasmere and Ambleside, using the lanes to weave together a great route. There’s nothing too testing about the route in terms of technicality, which can easily be extended to Knipe Fold and Hawkshead, to take in the Hawkshead Hilltops route or a trip into Grizedale.


Route

1. From the far end of Grasmere village climb steeply on Red Bank Lane, turning left at the top onto Loughrigg Terrace. Enjoy a cracking little descent to the Ambleside road.

2. Turn right as the track pops out on the lane (bridge seen to the left) climbing the steep hill over the cattle grid and continuing up until the BW is reached on the right near Brow Head Farm, crossing Loughrigg Fell and descending to the road at Skelwith Bridge.

3. Turn right onto the B5343 and cycle along until a BW is signed in trees, joining the River Brathay track all the way into Elterwater village. Turn left at Elterwater on the lane, passing the hostel before taking the track on the right, just after the Elterwater Inn, leading to Little Langdale.

4. This track climbs initally before dropping to the lane at Little Langdale. At the junction turn right and follow the narrow winding lane, passing Little Langdale Tarn. Cross the cattle grid and turn left signed towards Eskdale, taking this lane for a short distance before a track leads off left and rolls along with easy climbs along the way, eventually joining the A593.

5. Exit onto the A593 and turn right. Continue along until a Byway on the left, on the opposite side of the road to ‘High Oxen Fell’ (signed) is taken, passing holiday cottages (small sign). This track climbs steadily before joining a BW on the left which descends, speeding you back down towards Skelwith Brdige, across the edge of Black Fell (OS Map).

6. At Skelwith Bridge turn left and retake the lane from earlier, climbing steeply before taking the BW around Loughrigg Tarn. This BW eventually rejoins Red Bank, dropping you back in Grasmere.





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