Stats: 13.5 miles and 2430 feet of ascent
OS Map Link:
None – this is a full-on mountain route.
This route is only included for completeness. Don’t actually bother with it – it’s dull, dull, dull from start to finish. Go and do a different route instead.
There, that’s got rid of those readers with no grasp of human psychology, leaving this route clear for just you and me, right? Because this route is almost embarrassingly good – just when you think it’s spoiled you enough, it serves up another juicy bit of singletrack or trialsy woodland.
1. Head south from Torver along the A593 and fork right up the amusingly-named but unsignposted Hummer Lane. Climb steeply past a quarry entrance labelled Burlington. Where the lane levels out, a bridleway come in from the left. Then there’s a forest on the right. Turn into the forest road and trundle along this for a while, at speed.
2. At a small post, turn left down a joyous section of woodland singletrack. Turn left at the bottom on fire-road and look out for another small post marking a right fork back onto singletrack. Drop down to the road and swing north over the tiny packhorse of Water Yeat Bridge to Stephenson Ground.
3. This is some sort of MTB Valhalla, with two bridleways leaving from the same gate on the right. You’ll be back here soon but, for now, head north-west up a drove road onto a grassy moor. At the brow, admire the view (see above) down into the Duddon Valley and curve round to the left to pick up the good track (Park Head Road) rattling down to the south.
4. At the bottom of the steep descent, turn left to pick up a beautiful trail curving round the flank of Fox Haw. At Jackson Ground, swing north to cross the marshy ground alongside Long Mire Beck to rejoin the bridleway just north of the drove road section.
5. Head back to Stephenson Ground then take the other bridleway along the wall heading east-north-east into the Lickle valley. There looks to be a good forest track on the far bank but the bridleway sticks to the true right bank and it’s a superb climb, with innumerable tricky sections to maintain interest.
6. At the top, the Scafells peek over the brow. Counter-intuitively, we veer left to the Duddon side of the watershed. Pass old quarry workings, overlooked by the rocky fortress of White Maiden. (Under no circumstances veer right or the peaty mire of Caw Moss will gratefully accept you up to your axles).
7. Turn right at the Walna Scar road and climb to the watershed, swooping down the other side on rocky zigzags. Where the main track crosses the outflow from Goat’s Water, turn right (initially vague and marshy but developing into a grassy track through bracken then passing through old quarry workings) and follow the stream down into Torver, grinning insanely.