Stake Pass & Greenup
Stats:18 miles and 3600 feet of ascent
OS Map Link:
Dungeon Ghyll Inns (New and Old) Sticklebarn Tavern (All in Langdale). Gingerbread shop in Grasmere.
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?
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.