Floutern Pass & Scarth Gap
Stats: 21.3 miles and 3,475 feet of ascent
Nothing out on the trail but check out the Kirkstile Inn and Newhouse Café near the start.
Start: If you’re arriving by car, please park considerately. There’s a National Trust car park at Scale Bridge or, if you’re as tight as me, there’s room to stash a vehicle at the 101m spot-height at NY147214.
You’ll need the usual rough-with-the-smooth attitude that goes with Lakeland riding, especially in the west. Expect a few stretches of pushing and expect marshy ground – the name “Mosedale” is a clue to mossiness and ooze. If that’s not your bag, go swing round some Whinlatter berms instead
1. Bimble down to lane past Muncaster House to the holiday cottages of Lowpark
2. Turn right onto the bridleway round the back of the cottages and climb into the woods above
3. Gain a pleasant platform above the woods. Look out for pied flycatchers in here.
4. Join a bigger track coming up from the right (our descent, later) and head south up the lonely valley if Mosedale. Ignore the footpath sloping up to the left (towards the famous Mosedale Holly) and instead dink right towards the beck. Gain a moraine and head up right to a gate. A short push above Floutern Tarn brings you to the watershed.
5. A fine descent, dropping into a drove-road, takes you down to Ennerdale. At NY100168, bear left at an unmarked junction into an overgrown track down to the road.
6. Drop down to the left on tarmac, all the way to Bowness Knott car park. Then follow fire-road all the way up the valley, with Pillar Rock towering above on your right.
7. About 300m short of the Black Sail hut, push up a steep rocky path skirting the forest, doubling back on yourself. It’s not a long push to the Scarth Gap but..
8. …unless you’re part of the Red Bull team, you won’t be able to leap back into the saddle straight away. A mixture of tentative riding and downhill pushing (that uniquely excruciating mode of travel) takes you down to a point that will depend on ability and courage. Don’t forget to zag right towards Peggy’s Bridge.
9. After the excitement of the descent, the ride along the lakeshore is a welcome break. At the Lake foot, keep to the left of the river and ride under more woods to the shore of Crummock Water.