Awesome Lakeland riding that works all year round – what are you waiting for?
1. The Langdales, Hodge Close and Loughrigg
Not so much a trail or even a specific loop, just a mix and match of perfect, all-weather techie rock that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Favourites? the clinky slate funnel of Hodge Close, the rock and root cocktail of Sawrey’s Wood and of course, the stunning views from Loughrigg. This is even better combined with a visit to the cave.
2. The Dunnerdale Fells
Little-known, seldom-visited, yet just superb. OK, perhaps not at their very best in winter, when some stretches will get soft. But even then, Wallabarrow Crag, the Walna Scar Road and the Park Head Road are rocky enough, and gnarly enough to keep most folk happy. And the singletrack around Stephenson Ground is pretty tasty too.
3. Grizedale Forest
No, not the man-made stuff. Grizedale Forest is also home to some of the best natural stuff in the Lakes. And again, it works all year! Climb from High Nibthwiate to Low Parkamoor, and head east to drop through the forest on 3 awesome trails to Satterthwaite, before continuing east on more of the same, including the infamous Breasty Haw. the really keen can extend all the way to Far Sawrey and the shores of Windermere.
4. Back o’ Skiddaw
The loop around Lonscale Fell that links Thekeld with Keswick, must be one of the best sub-20km routes in the country. The scenery is breath-taking, the surfaces superb and the riding, encapsulating. The slick rock singletrack section at half distance will test even the best, with a huge drop beneath your left pedal. If you’re looking for more mileage, old mining tracks around the Caldbeck Fells to the north offer plenty of options.
5. High Street
OK, we had to have one high mountain in here (although in fairness, you could ride the Lakes for a month and have a great time without hitting a single summit), so we chose High Street. Not so much for its lofty top, but more for the seemingly never-ending descent over Loadpot Hill and down to the shores of Ullswater. Oh! and did we mention the techie singletrack along the side of the lake? Amazing stuff, but best tackled on a quiet day.
Tom Hutton is a mountain bike guide, photographer and journalist. He has been the route researcher for mbr magazine for 17 years, provides classic route guides for Singletrack magazine and has written a number of guidebooks.
For more info on our all-inclusive Lake District weekends and guided riding in the Lake District, see our website
For more Lake District route ideas check out Tom’s guidebook