The Lake District - England's true mountains

Barney Marsh

The Lake District - England's true mountains

Mountain Biking Collection by komoot



24:47 h

147 mi

23,450 ft

If you’re after the very best riding in England, there are perhaps a few places which could potentially pop their heads above the parapet, but all of them will have a tough time knocking the Lake District off its pedestal. Every point over 3000 feet (900 meters) in England is here, steep sided valleys, deep lakes, and of course, staggering views. From a mountain biking perspective there are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore via every type of trail, from twisty forest singletrack, easy lakeside runs, massively rocky doubletrack hurtles, hike-a-bike climbs and everything in between. There really is something for everyone here. No wonder it’s one of the most popular places to mountain bike in the UK.

The Tours in this Collection range all over the Lakes and include ‘must ride’ Lakeland classics, little known secrets, highly technical rides - both up and down - and gentle leg-loosening spins. There’s really no excuse not to pack your bags and head over!

The Borrowdale Bash is perhaps the most famous of the Lake District’s many classics. It’s been a classic for decades, and with good reason. Starting from Keswick, the Tour heads clockwise around Derwent Water, taking in fords, singletrack, potential cake stops, hilariously nadgery descents and passing possibly the weirdest-named fell in Cumbria (Cat Bells).

The Kentmere Park and Pike starts off innocuously enough, with a green and pleasant ride to Kentmere Park - before changing nature completely, and culminating in a brutal carry up Nan Bield. However, the rewards are fantastic; epic descents, and as much amazing scenery as you can cram into your eyes.

The next Tour of this Collection takes us along the very spine of the Lake District - High Street. It’s an old Roman Road, and it’s (relatively gently) undulating - but actually getting to it will leave you gasping - both at the views and the climbing you’ll have to do!

Next up is a true epic, the Helvellyn Monster. Debate rages as to which of the many ways to ride Helvellyn is better as a climb, and which as a descent; this Tour takes the clockwise approach with Grisedale Tarn as a climb, and spices it up with a drop down to Thirlmere before returning over Sticks Pass; this one is a real leg-burner.

Slightly less energetic, but still blessed with over 3200 feet (1000 meters) of climbing and an overabundance of views and fun riding is the Windermere Halo, taking in as it does the Garburn Pass and Grizedale forest. There’s even a ferry ride to finish!

The Walna Scar Road Tour is yet another classic which does a sterling job of disabusing mountain bikers from the notion that all the best riding is on singletrack. There are two long, rocky, technical and utterly fantastic doubletrack descents on this Tour, and purely coincidentally, a couple of excellent pubs.

And last but not least, Witherslack. Little known, perhaps - it’s not long, and it’s not high - but it’s a great shorter loop for when the weather is terrible, or you need something which doesn’t have ‘epic’ writ large all the way through it. It’s a quiet, varied, pretty Tour

Nay-sayers may decry the distances involved in getting to the Lake District. They may shy away from the tourist-trap reputation. But once you spin away from the honey pot tourist centres, things get a lot more quiet very quickly. And sure, if you live anywhere but the north of the country, it’s a drag to get to - you’re faced with long hours on the motorway, after all - but rest assured, it’s well, well worth it.

On The Map


Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    26.3 mi
    6.4 mph
    3,450 ft
    3,450 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    High Street is, on first glance, a strange name to call a range of fells. But the name comes from the ancient Roman Road that used to run along them, from Windermere to Penrith. Apparently the bottom of the valleys was once marshy and densely forested, and so ripe for ambushes - something the Romans were keen to avoid. So …

  • Difficult
    26.6 mi
    5.5 mph
    5,000 ft
    5,000 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Yet another fantastic Lake District route, this is a well-known ride taking in a couple of stiff passes (one of them will be a carry) and some equally fantastic descents.

    The ride starts gently enough, with a gentle climb and descent to Kentmere, a small lakeland village at the foot of the Garburn Pass.

    From there there's a gentle track …

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  • Intermediate
    18.6 mi
    7.0 mph
    2,350 ft
    2,350 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    A Lakeland Classic, and one which has been testing mountain bikers for decades. Granted, the advent of modern bikes with suspension and disc brakes has rendered it perhaps less of a challenge than it would have been twenty years ago, but this ride is still not to be underestimated, containing as it does some belting descents and some extremely stiff …

  • Difficult
    20.3 mi
    4.4 mph
    5,550 ft
    5,575 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    Ah, Helvellyn! Spoken of in hushed tones wherever mountain bikers congregate. Yet another classic UK mountain bike ride, Helvellyn is the centrepiece of a selection of classic trails which are all as much fun to ride down as they are unpleasant to climb.

    The Tour starts by climbing leisurely alongside Grizedale Beck, until it reaches Grizedale Tarn. It's a good …

  • Difficult
    34.1 mi
    6.9 mph
    4,000 ft
    4,025 ft
    Expert mountain bike ride. Very good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    There's nothing quite like a huge day out in the Lake District, and this route delivers in spades. It doesn't claim to have the longest climbs, the steepest descents or the most jaw-dropping views, but it's certainly enough to test the most seasoned rider, with well over 1000m of climbing, some wonderful descents and even a trip on a ferry …

  • Intermediate
    12.2 mi
    5.5 mph
    2,550 ft
    2,550 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Good fitness required. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    This Tour is slightly unusual in the Lakes as it has - as well as the expected huge climbs, phenomenal descents and jaw-dropping views - a section of hugely entertaining woodsy singletrack.

    Starting in Torver, the route quickly gains substantial height on a steep (but thankfully pretty brief) road climb up towards the woods at Appletree Worth Beck. Here, the …

  • Intermediate
    9.03 mi
    7.0 mph
    550 ft
    525 ft
    Intermediate mountain bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Advanced riding skills necessary.

    If the weather's dreadful, so any and all of the high passes are out of bounds, but you simply *must* get out on a bike, then this little route will fit the bill nicely. No, it's not long, and there's not much climbing in it, and it remains pretty low level for its entire duration, but that's all to the …

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    147 mi
  • Duration
    24:47 h
  • Elevation
    23,450 ft

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The Lake District - England's true mountains