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Hope Valley MTB

Hope Valley MTB

Route Information

Stats: 30 miles and 5200 feet of ascent (an epic day out)

OS Map:

Refreshments

Lots at Hathersage. We’ve suggested parking at the Train Station, this way giving an option to head in on the train with your bike from Sheffield or Manchester. There’s also a pub along the way at Ladybower (The Robin Hood) and the visitor centre at Ladybower where you can get some food and a drink.

Character

This route is a combination of my old local knowledge from back in the day, and our friends at Monkeyspoon.com who ride the area regularly. It’s a full day epic, with steep climbs, fast and technical descents and some great views along the way. Weaving around the Hope Valley, it’s a route to test anyone.

Take care on the Cave Dale descent.


Route

1. From the train station car park head out to the main road and turn left, cycling underneath the railway bridge towards Bakewell on the B6001. Cross the small bridge over the river, then turning right on the lane to Abney and Gt Hucklow.

2. Stone walls and hedgerows climb steadily on this narrow lane before expansive views open up over the Hope Valley. Just before Highlow Hall on the left, a fork off the right leads onto a well-made track descending through trees. Take this as it twists and turns down.

3. At Offerton Hall a gated BW off to the left takes you across moorland towards Shatton Lane. Take this. Exit onto Shatton Lane and turn left onto the gravel track over the moor (BOAT Byway Open All Traffic).

4. This climbs up to the communications mast before descending at speed into the valley. A reassuring BW junction is met along the way but continue straight ahead, keeping the drystone wall on your left. This track eventually exits at Brough onto the B6049. Turn left at the junction.

5. Turn right towards Smalldale at the Samuel Fox Inn. Keep on until you see the a crossroads, and go straight over into Michlow Lane (BW).

6. Exit and turn left on Pindale Lane, away from Hope at this stage, continuing up Dirtlow Rake (OS Map), an excellent gravel track that leads above Castleton. A short distance along, a BW junction is met, signing you downhill through ‘Secret Valley’ to Castleton. Take this track which becomes steep and technical as you descend to Castleton.

7. Once safely down in Castleton, take the back road (Siggate) by turning right and head to Hope village. At the main road turn right, cycling along for a short distance before a hidden lane on the left is signed for ‘Aston only’ – take this. This narrow lane climbs steadily and goes under the railway bridge on its way to Aston.

8. When you see wooden railed fencing to the right and a lane off left opposite, take the lane climbing left to Twitchell Farm. Follow this all the way to Hope Cross across the moorland.

9. At Hope Cross descend through trees to Ladybower on the excellent but sometimes loose and rocky track. Go around the reservoir and along the BW the other side to the Robin Hood Inn. No detailed instructions are necessary here.

10. From the Robin Hood Inn turn right onto the A57 Snake Road, then turning left onto the A6013 towards Bamford and signed to Hathersage. A short distance along this road a junction to the left (New Road, opposite a telephone box) should be taken, climbing through dense tree cover. Trees give way to open moorland views, before a small copse is seen where a BW leads down to Bamford.

11. At Bamford a small crossroads is reached. Turn left into ‘Joan Lane’. This eventually leads to the BW past Nether Hurst and then down again to Hathersage.




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Cut Gate

Cut Gate

Route Information

Stats: 39 miles (if full loops done. Can be cut short near Ladybower) and 5840 feet of ascent (full loop)

OS Map:

Refreshments

The opportunity exists for a halt at the ‘Ladybower Inn’ on route. Also, a detour to the visitor centre at Ladybower. However, apart from that, take what you need with you.

You can cut this ride short around Ladybower, and it is designed in that way. However, the hardy will want to ride the full route. Back at Langsett it has to be the Bank View Cafe; a well-known cyclist and hiker haunt: https://www.facebook.com/bankviewcafe

Character

I have memories of both hikes and bike rides around these moors throughout my youth. Time to share it with you. Albeit that the hardened mtb riders of the Peaks and beyond, will already know of the classic that is ‘Cut Gate’. Rolling, tight, technical, steep, fast and fun, Cut Gate has it all. It can be a mountainbikeneering trip in poor weather, but when the sun shines, you’d be hard pushed to have a better day out.


Route

1. Parking at Langsett Barn, then head around the reservoir via Midhope Cliff Lane and the dam, before turning right onto the farm road (Joseph Lane), keeping the trees on your right.

2. At Upper Midhope, where a junction of tracks is seen, keep to the right (Thickwoods Lane) where the climb begins as you head for ‘North America!’ Yes, I did say North America – check the Ordnance Survey map! As a wall is reached with a gate, where the main track goes on through, take the rutted bridleway left which climbs along sweet singletrack all the way to Howden Edge and Cut Gate End, some 5 miles into the ride.

3. Drop down the twisting and technical Cranberry Clough towards to infant River Derwent in the valley, before following the rolling track that flows majestically around the Howden Reservoir.

4. The track and subsequent road flows round all the way to the A57 Snake Road, where a short detour will take you to the Ladybower Inn for refreshments. Ignoring the refreshment break, ride over the bridge right, and then turn off the Snake Road (A57) onto the Ladybower Reservoir road.

Follow this for a mile or so until a bridleway on the left (gated in trees) is taken, climbing steeply up to Hagg Side. Stay on the track as it skirts the top of the trees, eventually meeting up with a zig-zag track on the left, which will take you down to the Snake Road again (A57). Cross this road and take the track opposite.

5. Cross the road with care. The gate in the trees opposite is easily seen but can lead you to rush across – don’t. This is a fast road for traffic. This track initially drops you to Hagglee Ford, before climbing gently on the permissive bridleway that skirts around this arm of the reservoir. For a bit of adventure, climb the right hand track up into the trees, then descending back down to the edge of the water, before following the track all the way around to Thornhill.

6. At the old red telephone box at Thornhill, turn right (Thornhill Lane) and climb steadily back to Aston. At Aston, in the midst of this tree lined narrow lane, is a turning on the right to ‘The Dimmings’ self-catering cottages – take this, as it is the bridleway to the Roman Road, which eventually drops you down onto the Ladybower Reservoir Road once more. Turn right.

7. The road delivers you Fairholmes visitor centre, which after 30 miles done, may just be time for a real bite to eat before crossing back over to the return track.

8. Follow the bridleway back around the Howden Reservoir, climbing the technical track at Cranberry Clough, and enjoying the Cut gate track once more. As the track begins its descent towards the track junction at Micleden, from whence we came, a track should be taken straight ahead this time, continuing the descent and crossing Hingcliff Common (OS map, before skirting around Langsett Reservoir and heading back to the car and a well-deserved rest.


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Rudland Rigg

Rudland Rigg

Route Information

Stats: 18 miles 2035 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

This is a ride into the wild, so take some stuff with you. However, once back at
Kirkbymoorside, there are ample pubs and cafes to choose from, with good clean toilets in the car park as well. We chose the Penny Bank Cafe, which is superb – a great pot of tea and the best bacon butties anywhere.

Character

This route has a lot of everything, including a section of moorland singletrack that is amongst the best in the UK – yep. I know that’s a big statement, but ride it and see. The route itself starts off with some easy riding and some woodland downhilling, followed by a long climb along Rudland Rigg, before turning off on singletrack to Low Row. A meander back along tracks and lanes brings you back into the heart of Kirkbymoorside with wide grins.


Route

1. From the car park in Kirkby Moorside head up the hill to Castlegate before then turning off onto Park Street. This climbs steadily, joining a tarmaced bridleway, which eventually turns off to the left onto a track alongside woodland.

2. After a short distance a track to the right descends at speed through the trees, then levelling out before a further speedy descent takes you down to the river level. A steep and somewhat slippy climb then leads you back uphill, before the woodland is exited, then crossing meadows to the lane which leads to Gillamoor.

3. Ride through Gillamoor on the road towards Hutton le Hole. This initially climbs before heading downhill. As the road bends around, a bridleway is signed to the left which takes you past Faddell Rigg. Follow this, climbing steadily, passing the BW junction and keeping the woodland to your left, heading towards the road between Gillamoor and Rudland Rigg.

4. On exiting the bridleway turn right and pedal uphill towards Rudland Rigg, eventually leaving the tarmac for a good stony moorland track that continues to climb, with expansive views in all directions.

5. Climb steadily on the doubletrack for just under 3 miles, passing a trig point to the left. At a point 1/3 of a mile before a clear track junction there is a indistict track (BW) to the right. This descends on sweet singletrack via West Gill to towards Low Mill. It’s one of the best sections of singletrack you’ll ever find: technical, twisting and downward.

6. At Low Mill take the tarmac road which initially climbs in the direction of Gillamoor. After 1 mile a track (BW) leads off on the left to Cross Farm. Be careful here NOT to take the obvious descending track, but stick to the right hand side of the small farmhouse and follow the flowing track across rough meadowland, which eventually becomes a rocky double track, spitting you out at speed onto the Gillamoor Road once more. Head into Gillamoor.

7. At Gillamoor take the road through the village towards Kirkby Moorside. As this bends sharply right (end of the village) a road leads off straight ahead (Woodhead Field Lane) – take this. This eventually becomes a bridleway that rolls you through trees right into Kirkby Moorside and the finish.




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Rosedale Ramble

Rosedale Abbey MTB

Route Information

Stats: 21.4 miles with 1943 ft of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Rosedale Abbey has a good pub (The Coach House Inn) and a great coffee shop and tea room, the ‘Graze On The Green.’ Ample pubs abound in the surrounding area, and the famous ‘Lion Inn’ at Blakey Crossing is on route. When I did the route, a RAF Search & Rescue helicopter had stopped off for lunch!

Character

A superb introduction to Rosedale’s famous singletrack. I saw this route on the Muddy Bums website and had to ride it, so thanks guys. I’ve altered it only slightly, to bring in some more technical singletrack. It starts with a tarmac climb, before a gentle ride along the ironstone railway that soon turns into a technical singletrack, with rock gardens, twists and drops. Crossing the moor again, the technical nature continues, requiring skill in balance, line and pedal power. A fast, swooping ride across Danby Moor Estate leads to more tarmac, before a final singletrack descent back to Rosedale.

The technical nature of parts of this route makes it a hard ride, so don’t underestimate it.

Start Point: Car Park at Rosedale Abbey village


Route

1. From the car park in Rosedale Abbey village, turn right and right again at the next junction, signed ‘Castleton’. This road turns to the right on leaving the village, and climbs steadily, passing ‘Bell End’ – yes, I did say that – before taking the road to the left (signed as a Cul-de-Sac) at Low Bell End. Now there’s a medical condition if ever I heard one! The road now descends to Hill Cottages, before climbing again.

2. Passing the lines of terraced cottages, and immediately after the red telephone box to your right, take the bridleway to the right, which climbs to a series of farm buildings. Now go around the rear of the buildings and leave the bridleway, instead taking the Ironstone Railway. This smooth grassy track passes underneath historic mine workings before the smooth doubletrack gives way to twisting and rocky singletrack, that will test your handling skills.

3. As the railway meets a BW crossing it, stay on the railway, avoiding these BWs, twisting around the scar on superb singletrack all the way to the Lion Inn at Blakey. Take a break here if you like. When I rode this route, a Search & Rescue helicopter had popped in for lunch! At the road, turn right and head along for a quarter of a mile before joining the singletrack bridleway to the right cutting across the moor at Rosedale Head.

4. At the next road turn right and head along to the road junction signed ‘Fryup’, taking this narrow road to the left for a short distance, before a bridleway to the right at Trough House (Cut Road) speeds you down and across Glaisdale Moor.

5. As the path meets the road, turn right and cycle along, passing a minor road to your left and turning right at the next junction signed ‘Rosedale 3m’. Take the next bridleway to the right (by a green metal gate), crossing the moor and rolling down, before joining a shooting track which speeds you down to the road at Heygate Bank.

6. At the road, go straight across onto a short single track leading to Hancow Road. Turn right on the road for 700mts to corner of forest. Turn left here at gate sign posted bridleway. The double track gradually becomes a fast single tack to the gate at the bottom of Hartoft Rigg. Turn right on the lane for 800mts to Rock House. Turn right just before the building onto track into woods. A tough climb of 60 metres leads back up to the Hancow Road.

7. Cross the road diagonally to the right picking up a track leading into the woods marked with a black arrow. After 600 metres the track comes out into the open. Turn left after 70mts on marked bridleway down field and then right at the fence. Follow this to the top of Gates Plantation for a fast descent through the woods to gate at bottom. Go straight ahead at gate across field to road. Turn right on road to Rosedale Abbey.




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Drovers Way

Drovers Way

Route Information

Stats: 13.5 miles 1271 ft of elevation

OS Map:

Refreshments

Pop into the National Park Centre for a coffee. On route, detour into Osmotherley, of if you choose the right time of the year and day, have a cream tea in Kepwick village. Nearby Helmsley or Thirsk are both great. You can also start this route at Sutton Bank, then joining the trail at Sneck Yate.

Character

This route follows the edge of the Hambleton Hills, along the ancient highway that links Sutton Bank with the picturesque village of Osmotherley. It rolls along with excellent views, before sweeping down steeply to ‘Square Corner’, followed by a fantastic descent through woodland – then a climb back to the ridge and home.
Park at Sneck Yate car park at the top of Boltby Bank, about 6 miles from Thirsk.


Route

1. We’ve started this route at Sneck Yate Bank car park rather than at Sutton Bank visitor centre. This way it makes the route a better all around ride for members of the family, and also leaves out some mundane elements.
From the car park, take the Cleveland Way as it follows a hard packed double track along the edge of fine moorland towards Osmotherley. This is shown as the ‘Hambleton Street’, passing along the dge of the Hambleton Hills.

2. Pass the track junction to High Paradise on your left, continuing straight on, with a gently rising and falling ride along good tracks. A gate is reached which leads into a wooded area, which provides some protection against winds (when they blow across the Moors), before again leaving the trees and cycling with moorland views.

3. The track along here is excellent at all times of the year, gently falling now as you pass by the track on the left (gated – Rag Robin Turn), before a more rocky and technical descent drops at speed towards the Forest of Silton and Square Corner.

4. As the track levels out at the junction of ‘Red Way’ to the left (signed through Forest), take the track to the left and enjoy a superb fast descent through Silton Woods.

5. Keep straight ahead as the track passes junctions left and right, and Red Way becomes Moor Lane. The woods are exited, and you can spot a car park in the trees to the right (useful for future trips), but stay on the now tarmaced road all the way to the T-junction at Kirk Ings Lane – turn left towards Kepwick.

6. After 1/3 of a mile another T-junction is reached – turn left again onto Lead lane, continuing on and passing the cul-de-sac junction of Thwaites lane to your left, as you enjoy some superb country lanes towards Kepwick. Stay on this road (Bridge Beck Lane, descending at speed as it twists and turns all the way to Kepwick.

7. After stopping and refreshing yourself – the village often has a cream tea or two advertised in the summer – head left and through the village westwards and back up to the Hambleton Hills along Rag Robin Turn. This is a steep and testing climb, but the track is excellent, being well drained sand and rock.

8. At the gate turn right and back onto Hambleton Street (the Cleveland Way), and follow your tracks all the way back to Sneck Yate, again enjoying the fine moorland track and short forested section.
The finale swoops down to the car park allowing you time to take in what is a fantastic introduction to what the area has to offer.




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Eastern Passes

The Eastern Passes

Route Information

Stats: 11 miles, 3,000 feet of ascent

OS Map: 

Refreshments

The contents of your ‘sac. This is important – if you aren’t equipped for this ride, you’ll starve.

These are lonely daleheads populated by frontier folk. There’s the slim chance of an ice-cream van at the Mardale road head but that’s your lot.

Character

A good tour of the south-eastern lakes, taking in three of the main passes.
Start in Kentmere. Parking is extremely compromised. There might be room to stash a car by the church (try to avoid disrupting services) or, to save yourself some pedalling, at the end of the public road at the bottom of Stile End.


Route

1. Take the right signposted to Longsleddale and climb steadily on a good gravel track. This climbs Lakeland’s most rideable pass – Stile End. The descent into Longsleddale is excellent, with a couple of awkward rocky steps early on followed by a glorious rattle down to the farm at Sadgill.

2. Over the packhorse bridge, turn left and follow the track up cobbled zigzags onto Gatesgarth Pass.

3. A rough descent into the drowned valley of Mardale follows.

4. Turn left at the bottom and pick up the narrow bridleway signed to Kentmere via Nan Bield Pass. Unless you are a trials expert, much of this will be in traditional Lakeland push’n’carry style but that’s OK as it’ll give you a chance to scope out the mountain scenery.

5. Cross the outflow of Small Water and ascend past the stone shelters to the notch in the skyline (where you’ll find another rudimentary shelter)

6. Drop steeply at first, and then follow the winding trail south over moorland, dropping into the gentle pastures of the Kentmere valley.



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Floutern Pass

Floutern Pass & Scarth Gap

Route Information

Stats: 21.3 miles and 3,475 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

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.

Character

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


Route

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.

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Helvellyn West

Helvellyn West

Route Information

Stats: 10 miles and 3370 feet of ascent

OS Map:

Refreshments

Carry your butties (and make sure the notoriously larcenous sheep of Helvellyn don’t half-inch ‘em)

Character

A brawl with gravity on the Western flank of rideable Lakeland’s biggest bruiser. One of the many great thing about Helvellyn is the number (nine) of legitimate routes to the summit from valley level. That makes eighty-one combinations of up and down to go at.

Start point: Get yourself to Wythburn car park at NY324136. Bring £4.50 unless you reckon on whizzing round under two hours.


Route

1. Shoulder the bike and set off up the bridleway through the woods. Take a note of the point where you cross the contouring forest road.

2. Once out of the trees, flank up left, parallel to the stream.

3. Flank up the western slopes of Nethermost Pike to Swallow Scarth

4. Haul up to Helvellyn Summit.

5. Drop down to Lower man and plummet down the stony north ridge6. Head north over White Side and Raise

7. Turn left at Sticks Pass and cascade down to the valley at Legburthwaite

8. Head south on the road as far as High Park (316170)

9. Avoid further tarmac by taking the forest road running parallel.

10. Drop down to the start from the point you memorised at step (2).





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Helvellyn Entire

Helvellyn Entire

Route Information

Stats: 25 miles and 4400 feet of ascent

OS Map Link:

Refreshments

How big is your rucksack? This is a big, breezy mountain experience so don’t expect a café round every corner. On a good day, you might be able to get an ice cream at the car park by Thirlmere, but that’s your lot.

Character

This is it, the Big One, the biggest legal high in the land. Not only is Helvellyn generous with its altitude, not only does it bear a name like an epic poem but it offers an unusually generous choice of routes to its summit with no fewer than ten bridleways setting off from the surrounding valleys. That offers the enthusiastic and the mathematical a hundred different routes on the hill. This route tackles the ridge in its entirety, south to north, to get the prevailing wind on your back and to avoid the skull-splitting descent to Grizedale Tarn.


Route

1. Start from Grasmere and take the good bridleway up the side of a whitewashed house with a public postbox. After a mile, dink right across the stream and set off up the steep, grassy pull up through the bracken-clad slopes of Little Tongue.

2. If you have an altimeter, keep an eye on your height, because the climb gets sketchy around 450 m. Head off to the right on a curving contour that converges with the more substantial footpath coming up from Tongue Gill.

3. Go up through Hause Gap and take a technical track sloping down to the outflow of the Tarn. Cross the outflow and double back on yourself slightly to shoulder the bike and pick up the strong zigzags up Dollywaggon Pike.

4. At 800m, a world of rideability emerges from nowhere and you can pedal merrily across the western flanks of Dollywaggon and Nethermost Pikes before the final steady pull to Helvellyn summit. Expect to get a cheer from the walkers huddled in the cruciform shelter as you admire the views to north and south.

5. If you’re in mist, you’ll need to pay close attention here because there are three candidate ridges dropping away and you don’t want to be messing with either Swirral or Striding Edge on a bike. From the summit, head WNW on a good track. Where it re-joins the steep drop, off, climb a little to Helvellyn Lower Man and pick up the north ridge. You’ll need to decide whether this is rideable based on your abilities, the density of walkers and your commitment to reducing erosion.

6. After that, the way should be fairly obvious, over the switchback of Whiteside (don’t be tempted east, or you’ll end up in Glenridding, miles from your base), the rocky summit of Raise, then the more rounded Dodds – Stybarrow, Watson’s (this bit really is elementary) and Great.

7. From the top of Great Dodd, head north a little way and pick up a strong rake sloping down to the north-east. Head towards the little rocky tor of Randerside and keep following the track through tumble-forgiving peat and heather to the Old Coach Road.

8. Turn left on the Coach Road and drop down to St John’s in the Vale.

9. Turn left on the B5322 and follow this until it joins the A591.

10. Follow the A591 south until the car park at Swirls (NY316168). From the car park, pick up a permitted bridleway rising across the flank of Thirlmere. Keep following this south through the forest, looking out for those elusive red squirrels as you go.

11. When the trees end, zag back downhill and rejoin the main road where the lakeside road comes in from Wythburn at NY325129. If you’re a tarmac-averse purist, you could pick up the short bridleway from Steel End farm to the top of Dunmail Raise but most mortals will be quite keen to get back by now and gratefully join the road for the fast drop to Grasmere and a well-earned fistful of gingerbread (a prize Clint Eastwood never quite attained).




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Helvellyn East

Helvellyn East

Route Information

Stats: 10 miles and 2,930 feet of ascent

OS Map Link:

Refreshments

Lots in Glenridding. After that, the Youth Hostel is the only commercial enterprise on the hill, so pack your butties.

Character

A magnificent blast up England’s greatest legal high. Well worth doing as an out-and-back because the descent is magnificently rideable and the pleasure is all the greater if you’ve struggled on the same terrain on the way up.


Route

1. From the Inn by the Lake, follow the Greenside Road up past the Traveller’s Rest, following signs to Helvellyn Youth Hostel.

2. Keep going, ignoring the right fork to Sticks Pass and the left fork to Brown Cove at 500m.
3. Zigzag steeply up the shoulder of Raise and onto the summit of Whiteside.

4. An easy descent leads to a spot of push’n’carry up to Lower Man and the easy trundle up to the main summit.

5. In reverse, the descent of Lower Man is pretty technical and you may need to dismount if you’re: (a) wary of causing erosion (b) wary of disturbing walkers or (c) really scared. Once you’ve done that, the rest is a blast.





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