The Racing Collective

Great Britain Off Road Part 3: North England — GB Divide

For The Hell Of

Great Britain Off Road Part 3: North England — GB Divide

Mountain Biking Collection by The Racing Collective



3-6 h

/ day

253 mi

16,875 ft

16,600 ft

Welcome to the North of England on GB Divide; from the industrial west to the ancient bridleways of Lancashire and Yorkshire, leading up to the Scottish Borders.

This is Land’s End to John O’Groats with a difference; forget going direct, and forget sticking to just tarmac; the GB Divide traces a route through England, Wales and Scotland to deliver the very best off road riding that Great Britain has to offer, from techy singletrack, wide gravel roads, mucky byways, quiet rural lanes and everything in between.

While the total route covers around 1,242 miles (2,000 km), here we’ve split the task into four Collections, with this North of England stage being the third. In this Collection, there are four stages of around 62 miles (100km), which take you from the border of Wales to the Scottish Borders, via the canals of Manchester, Lancashire, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, Cumbria, and Kielder Forest Park.

The route is raced annually as ‘GBDURO’, an enduro style endurance race comprised of four stages spanning the entire length. For more about GBDURO, visit Both the route and the race were founded and are now run by The Racing Collective.

The ideal bike choice for riding the GB Divide is a tough one. While there are many paved lane sections that would favour a faster drop bar gravel bike, there are also some tricky, more technical parts that would favour a rigid or even hardtail mountain bike. In some parts you will have no other option but to walk, especially when you take bikepacking luggage into consideration.

The start of these four stages are easily accessible by train, with a station in Cefn-Y-Bedd. There are a few train stations along the route if you’d like to split this into smaller rides. When you reach the end of this segment in Burnfoot, unfortunately there’s not the same facility. Either you plan to carry on to a town or city with a train station, or ride to one from this point. The closest railway station is Lockerbie, a 25 mile (41km) road ride away.

So if you think you’re ready to take on the length of Great Britain along this spectacular meandering route, the GB Divide is for you. Good luck!

Head to parts 1, 2 and 4 here:

Read more about the GB Divide route here:

On The Map

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    68.2 mi
    9.8 mph
    2,050 ft
    2,050 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Here you start the third leg of the GB Divide, from a small town on the Welsh/English border, to span the spectacular north of England, finishing at the Scottish Borderlands. …

  • Difficult
    60.8 mi
    7.2 mph
    5,800 ft
    5,350 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may require you to push your bike.

    After yesterday’s flat introduction, things start to get a bit more hilly today, a lot more! You’ll cover a total of 61 miles (98km) from Bury through Lancashire and into …

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  • Difficult
    61.2 mi
    7.8 mph
    4,750 ft
    4,575 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    There may be a good proportion of road on today’s 62 mile (99km) stage, but don’t be fooled, there’s some serious climbing, including the famous Great Dun Fell road just one of the climbs on the menu for the day.Start by following the River Ribble upstream heading north gently climbing along lanes and doubletrack. Rejoin Blea Moor Road and continue onto another gravel road at Top O’Dent to climb to the summit of Wold Fell, where you spend some time on the tops contouring around Great Knoutberry Hill. Start your descent on the Coal Road - fast and simply spectacular tarmac.The next section is largely flat or tending downhill, so make the most of your speed to save plenty of time for the Great Dun Fell climb later. Why not stop at the Post Box Pantry in Dufton or in Kirkby Stephen before the climb, to make sure you have plenty of supplies?

  • Difficult
    63.2 mi
    7.5 mph
    4,275 ft
    4,625 ft
    Expert gravel ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The fourth and final stage of the north of England leg takes you to and past the border of Scotland via the stunning and remote Kielder Forest Park, home to the Dirty Reiver gravel race. There’s 63 miles (102km) to ride today through some prime northumberland forestry land.You start by following National Cycle Route 68 to Slaggyford and past Lambley Viaduct, where there’s some steps to navigate before crossing the south Tyne. The Pennine Cycleway then takes you into Haltwhistle, the centre of Britain!
    Continue to follow lanes on the Pennine Cycleway north, past Hadrian’s Wall and to the edge of Kielder Forest Park. Continue along the 68 on the wide and undulating gravel roads of the forest, leading north to the shores of Kielder Water where you join the National Byway. Take a short diversion to the Boat Inn and shop here if you need to resupply or fancy some refreshments.

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
  • Distance
    253 mi
  • Duration
    31:40 h
  • Elevation
    16,875 ft16,600 ft

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The Racing Collective

Great Britain Off Road Part 3: North England — GB Divide