Derwentwater Lake District loop — British wild swim spots
Road Cycling Highlight
Mountain Biking Highlight (Segment)
Bike Touring Highlight
Includes a very steep uphill segment
You may need to push your bike.
Includes segments in which cycling is forbidden
You will have to dismount and push your bike.
Katherine Moore planned a mountain bike ride.
April 28, 2020
Where better to find expansive bodies of water, nestled between imposing mountain ridges than the Lake District? If you’re a wild swimmer that loves going the distance, this trip to the well-known Derwentwater could be just for you! This loop from Keswick town is by no means an easy one, and you’ll definitely need a mountain bike to take it on, thanks to the high mountain singletrack tricky climbs and rocky descents where you’ll be grateful for both easy gearing and wide rubber. Climb out of Keswick to start, heading east to take the quieter ‘balcony road’ along the western edge of Thirlmere Reservoir. After these relatively gentle gradients to warm up, you’ll now start the first tough climb, up Bank Crag toward Low Saddle, where you’ll peak at Blea Tarn. Now get ready for the sweet, sweet descent that you’ve earned; Birkett’s Leap is one of the best in the Lake District. After taking the road to Seatoller, the bridleway to Grange is your next challenge, although you’ll have done the steepest climbing to reach it on the road. After descending the rocky trail down the side of the mountain and into Grange past the cafe, you’ll make your way along the less popular western shore of Derwentwater on the road. To reach our suggested wild swimming spot at Withesike Bay, you’ll need to dismount and use the footpath to reach this secluded spot. Withesike Bay is the widest part of Derwentwater where the lake measures 1.1 mile (1.7 km). If you're really keen, try the length of the lake from north to south which measures 2.9 miles (4.7 km). Due to the amount of boat traffic, for safety it is recommended that you use a chill swim float to be easily seen by boat crews and from the launches.After your glorious dip, it’s just a short ride along the road heading north to get back into Keswick where you started, and you’ll also find lots of great pubs, cafes and other eateries there for a much needed meal!
April 29, 2020