Lakeland Classics

Friday – “The Borrowdale Bash”

Doing this route on a weekday, I hoped to avoid clashing with the walkers on parts of this route.

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The café at Watendlath was closed when I arrived, but a friendly local fetched me a hot chocolate to drink outside and soak in the view. The climb away from the café was, for me, a push. One reaching the top, it turned out that the first (extremely rocky) part of the descent was also a push.

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Not for the faint-hearted

However, from half-way down it became rideable (for someone of my meager ability) and was great fun.

From Rosthwaite, some easy road riding leads to the start of the stiff road climb up the Honister Pass at Seatoller. Here I join a (very) steep footpath to climb up to the Allerdale Ramble, a bridleway.

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Steep climb

On reaching the bridleway, there is pleasant cycling on the (relative) level, until reaching the steep and rocky descent by Castle Crag.

At the end of the descent, it is time for a welcome refreshment stop at the café in Grange, before heading off up the road for the final bridleway section below Cat Bells.

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Saturday – “The Caldbeck Round”

As we were now into the weekend, it was time to venture off the standard four OS maps of the Lake District into the hills of the north. I parked the car at the end of the road east of Applethwaite (the pot holes were big enough to be potentially car destroying for the unwary). Already there were plenty of people out getting ready to climb Skiddaw. My route was shared with them only for a few hundred metres, then I was on my own.

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Looking south onto Lakeland

Turning the corner into Glenderterra a beautiful valley opens up, heading into the (almost) wilderness.

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High above Glenderterra

After some kilometres, Skiddaw House (YHA) is reached, and then it’s time to head out east towards Mosedale via moorland singletrack.

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You wouldn’t believe it was the Lake District

From Mosedale, roads lead north until the mining tracks of the Caldbeck Fells are reached.

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Mosedale Common

These make their way westwards (and upwards) before the inevitable fast descent to Fell Side where the road is rejoined briefly. A bit more moorland track (and climbing) lead to Longlands and more road.

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Mining scenery
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Quiet roads

The final leg of the route heads south east alongside Dash Beck, with a big climb up beside Dash Falls (which are not too spectacular given the recent prolonged dry spell).

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The road up to Dash Falls
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Dash Beck from above the waterfalls

Once over the watershed, there is a very fast (and welcome this late in the day) descent to under Skiddaw House, a short climb up to the Youth Hostel, and then a few kilometers back along Glenderterra. This last section is done in steadily increasing rain, which doesn’t quite get strong enough to wash out the dust of a day in the saddle. While there were walkers out-and-about, this was certainly a better option for avoiding the crowds than a weekend day in Borrowdale!

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Post Script

Thanks to Liz for dragging me to the Lake District – the main purpose of our visit was her exhibition at Woolfest in Cockermouth.  The bike rides were just incidental to me helping with the unpacking and repacking either side of the exhibition!

Also thanks to Richard and Karen at Clarence House B&B in Keswick for making us feel welcome and at home when not out riding or woolfesting!

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