Mountain Biking Highlight
Mountain Biking Highlight (Segment)
Includes very steep uphill segments
You may need to push your bike.
Includes a segment in which cycling is forbidden
You will have to dismount and push your bike.
Katherine Moore planned a mountain bike ride.
April 5, 2020
Leave the charming little village of Boot behind today as you embark on stage two, a 23.8 mile (38.4 km) ride to the bustling Lake District town of Ambleside. The two major climbs come early in this stage, after a short warm-up along the flat, up Halter Fell and Walna Scar Road.Start by following the River Esk up through Eskdale along the road. You can see the road ramp up before you into one of the most feared and loved climbs in the area; Hardknott Pass. Rather than climb this, you turn to the right, doubling back on yourself initially on the singletrack that climbs the lower slopes of Halter Fell.From the grassy and more mellow beginning, the climb gets progressively more challenging, technical and rocky. You might need to walk with your bike for a while here, especially if heavily laden with camping gear. It mellows out again at the top, past Kepple Crag and then descending down to the River Duddon. There’s little time for rest here, as the lane that takes you over the river leads you straight into the second, and arguably more tough climb. Walna Scar Road is a lane that turns to singletrack, scaling the side of Walna Scar up to the slate quarries, where you have some brief respite (i.e. single digit gradients) before ramping up again to the top of Walna Scar at 1,930 feet (588 metres).Take in the views here of the surrounding Coniston Hills before blasting down the singletrack on the other side. Steep, rocky and with some really tight switchbacks, it’s a marvellous trail to descend which becomes more straightforward nearer the end of the slopes. You’ll descend for what seems like forever, all the way down to the town of Coniston.The two big efforts of the stage complete, the remainder is much more straightforward. Start with a short and unfortunately unavoidable stint along the main road toward Holme Fell, before peeling off on more quiet lanes at Shepherd’s Bridge. The lane crumbles before you into a bridleway as you head north to Little Langdale.From here, cross the road to continue on a mix of small lanes and bridleways as you head north-east, passing through the village of Elterwater. The last leg of the day contours around the northern slopes of Loughrigg Fell on Loughrigg Terrace, which offers incredible views over Grasmere and then Rydal Water. You can take it easy here as you’re within a stone’s throw of Ambleside, home to many shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants to satiate your appetite, plus a great selection of guesthouses, hotels, campsites and hostels that are well-used to catering for exhausted outdoorsy-types!
April 7, 2020