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Bikepacking Edinburgh to Manchester — The Pennine Rally

Dan Monaghan

Bikepacking Edinburgh to Manchester — The Pennine Rally

Bike Touring Collection by Kitty Dennis

5

Tours

41:55 h

331 mi

27,100 ft

Rapha announced the 2021 Pennine Rally, a self-supported bikepacking ride, predominantly off-road with 520 kilometres (323 miles) of riding and around 9,000 metres (29,500 ft) of climbing. The challenge was always meant to be about exploration and understanding everything that the north had to offer, it was most definitely not a race.

This was the perfect challenge for me to take on a fully self-sufficient trip that pushed my limits but also allowed me to explore some of my favourite parts of the world more carefully. I roped in my fellow Steezy friends Alice and Taylor and also had Dalila coming along with us for the first two days. We were ready to take on the challenge at what we later called 'Steezy pace'! Taking in the views, eating all the food and camping whenever we could. Dalila bumped into us on the first day and we managed to rope her in with good vibes, hot food and a warm bed on the second night but her hotel stop in Burnley meant we lost her to the horizon on day three.

The route was beautiful, meandering well off the beaten track from Edinburgh to Manchester. There were places for wild swims, wild camps and wild descents all whilst taking in the most beautiful scenery that the UK has to offer.

We loved every minute of it, but it was a lot more challenging that first expected. Make no mistake, this is not cat-litter gravel. With lots of chunky boulders, harsh cobbles and steep climbs it takes a lot from you. But every difficult moment is always rewarded with something. If I were to repeat the route, I would either pack lighter (for those steep sections) or take my time and fully explore all the places that we sped past and wished we could stop at.

The route was mainly based on the Second City Divide, devised by Luke and Christian from Outdoor Provisions. Check out that route, which links Manchester to Glasgow here: komoot.com/collection/898918/rough-stuff-of-the-north-second-city-divide

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The Pennine Rally

333 mi

25,500 ft

25,450 ft

Last updated: December 8, 2021

Tours & Highlights

  • Day 1: Edinburgh to Fall Law — Pennine Rally

    08:42
    68.8 mi
    7.9 mph
    5,775 ft
    5,350 ft

    What a day! We started in Edinburgh going from Gamma Transport Division and were treated to a nice gentle 40km out of the city.

    

    After being lulled into a false sense of security at 50km we stopped for a cooking break just before Peebles, stove noodles truly are gourmet. In self-sufficient mode we rushed

    by Kitty Dennis

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  • 08:01
    76.4 mi
    9.5 mph
    5,925 ft
    6,075 ft

    After a brutal first day, we woke up ready for a more calm elevation profile for day two. The one thing we couldn’t plan for is the non-stop drizzle!

    

    Pulling out from our campsite, we rolled through the first roads easily and prepared for the fire roads ahead in Eskdalemuir Forest. The first couple of

    by Kitty Dennis

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  • 07:11
    68.8 mi
    9.6 mph
    4,800 ft
    3,750 ft

    After having a shower and some dry clothes, we marched on for the most mellow day of the trip. There were lots of flowing road sections and fast downhills, which came as a welcome relief after the previous two days of grinding gravel climbs.

    

    Leaving Once Brewed, we swooped down into Haltwhistle and followed

    by Kitty Dennis

  • 07:16
    55.8 mi
    7.7 mph
    5,150 ft
    5,725 ft

    Leaving Tan Hill, we managed to get the first part of the day done quite quickly. Some short gravel climbs and some descents woke us up and gave us some lovely scenes for some quick pictures.

    

    After this we expected a lovely calm day. Then we got hit with the Oxnop Scar climb along Cross Top Road. At up

    by Kitty Dennis

  • 10:45
    60.9 mi
    5.7 mph
    5,450 ft
    6,350 ft

    After a long four days, we thought nothing could be more gruelling than that trip up Cam High Road and so we set off from Salter Fell with high spirits, ready to roll into Manchester and grab a coffee.

    

    Leaving Salter Fell we travelled through some of my favourite places in the Forest of Bowland; Slaidburn

    by Kitty Dennis

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    5
  • Distance
    331 mi
  • Duration
    41:55 h
  • Elevation
    27,100 ft

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