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Best climbs in the Lake District?

BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
edited May 2009 in Tour & expedition
Name them please! :)

Just realised it's only 83 miles away so i'm thinking of cycling out there in a month or so and staying a few nights so I can go out cycling/running/walking there.

Anyone know the best places to stay round there? Or where to avoid? :lol: I'm sure someone on here must have done a similar expedition and has some experience of the area...

Remember going on a school trip there 10 years ago and the coach took about 4 hours! :? Should have just cycled it! :P :lol:

Posts

  • SolisSolis Posts: 166
    For starters: In order of difficulty (worst first)

    1. Hardknott
    1. Wrynose
    3. Honister
    4. Kirkstone (from Ambleside via the struggle) if doing South to North
    5. Whinlatter

    Plenty more climbs of varying difficulties between 3 and 5 above.

    And no the two number one's are not a typo :)

    Where to stay depends on budget and if you want to be in the sticks or have everything on your door step? Ambleside or Keswick would be the obvios choices.
  • LittleB0bLittleB0b Posts: 416
    edited March 2009
    Well, Troutdale Pinacle is a classic at severe - ooopps wrong sport.

    err really

    I used to live at the top of Red Bank and it's quite short - but got some steep bits on espicially the top out - enough to make coming down it on a horse pretty scary anyway.

    also drove past this the other day and it just looked <shudder> - but better than that it's near caldbeck which has an ace cafe - and is way cute.
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Last year I did a great loop from Centre Parcs which went over Kirkstone Pass from the Ullswater side, what a terrific climb!

    The other bonus was the descent on the other side in to Windermere, it was just sublime, smooth tarmac, wide quiet roads and stunning scenery.

    I really wouldn't have fancied descending the side we climbed up as it was narrower, steeper and had a rough surface too. Definitely picked the right way about it.

    I have to say it was the best bike ride I've ever been on!

    Following the edge of Ullswater was gorgeous and when I actually saw Kirkstone rise up I was rather scared! I had only been riding 10 months and had come from being an 18 stone fat slob but I managed it on a 39-27.

    Here is the gubbins of the route (I had my garmin on...)

    http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/invitation/email/accept.mb?senderPk.pkValue=192054&unitSystemPkValue=2&episodePk.pkValue=5650168
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,609
    Eskdale via Hardnott pass, Wrynose pass and the Langdale Valley? The Broughton Mills route to Wrynose will be quieter but not quite as scenic.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    there are no "best climbs" in the Lake District; they are all satanic! :evil:

    (sorry, that is just sour grapes after I blew up on Wrynose last year and had to turn back - only the second time that has ever happened to me and it still hurts!)

    My advice would be don't start with Hardnott, Wrynose or the Struggle. Try some of the others first.


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Although the Lakes is spectacular and there are some great climbs, I find that the level of traffic even on the minor roads makes it far from my number one cycling destination in the UK. I'd choose the Peaks, Dales and Northumberland over the Lakes any day. My advice would be to avoid the Lakes at all costs during bank holiday weekends....

    Incidentally, IMO Wrynose from the east is the toughest of all, with Hardknott from the west a close second.
    More problems but still living....
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,609
    I agree with the above but I'd put the top two the other way around.

    Some parts of the Lakes are real honey pots and best avoided at peak times. The Duddon Valley leading to the passes is usually a bit better as I said above.

    Another area worthy of consideration is the Trough of Bowland and the Whitewell area in Lancs - near the Yorkshire border. There are some great rides around Clitheroe & Slaidburn and generally very quiet.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • mercsportmercsport Posts: 664
    Well , the Lakes is at least an annual trip for me and the partner .

    Outside of school hol's and during the working week , it's quite bearable most of the time , and a lot of the time you appear to have the whole place to yourself . It's fine .

    Other than the Kirkstone - which I've only done in descent - the other passes I've managed to pedal up , panniered and carrying for two , and are there to be done . Having said that I seriously doubt I could do any of them now with my fat gut and lack of inclination . There's plenty else though in the Lakes to stay amused on a tour .

    As for a place to stay I can recommend the 'Baysbrown Farm' campsite in Great Langdale at Chapel Stile ,acres of space . In many respects better than the NT site near the Old Dungeon Ghyll which is normally crowded and overpriced to boot .

    Oh , I nearly forgot , I think Baysbrown Farm was the place where our homegrown 'London Bombers' were filmed by the MI5 spooks doing their training and 'bonding' before they did their rotten deeds . Although I don't mean to taint the place with that association at all . It's a great place .
    "Lick My Decals Off, Baby"
  • SolisSolis Posts: 166
    passout wrote:
    I

    Another area worthy of consideration is the Trough of Bowland and the Whitewell area in Lancs - near the Yorkshire border. There are some great rides around Clitheroe & Slaidburn and generally very quiet.


    Agreed, bit if Bima is hunting down climbs there is nothing in the area to match the Lakes.
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    Wrynose is a killer in my opinion, maybe as hard as Hardknott. You need to plan your routes in the Lakes carefully if you're only visiting from a flatter area. I go twice a year and take the bike sometimes (primarily there for walking and drinking beer) and the last time in August last year I designed a route before going that was simply too much for me on the day, simply wasn't used to the feet climbed / miles ridden ratio! I reckon a good day out for me at home will include perhaps 5000 feet on a 70 mile route (including parts of N.Wales in the ride), that becomes more llike 5000 feet per 50 miles in the Lakes.
    If I lived there I'd be able to handle it a lot better!
  • mike ivesmike ives Posts: 319
    Definitely Red Bank form Grassmere side, Kirkstone form Ambleside (the Struggle) and possibly Honister from Seatoller. I used to live the lakes and we all thought they were a real pain. Great rea though.
  • Rich K47Rich K47 Posts: 62
    My favourite hilly training ride at the moment is Kendal [or you could start in Staveley, Windermere etc] Kirkstone, Ambleside, Grasmere, Red Bank, Langdale, Blea Tarn, Wrynose, Duddon, Birker Fell, Eskdale, Hardknott, Wrynose, Ambleside, The Struggle.... home. This isn't brilliantly circular but it combines a lot of the best climbing in the south Lakes into one ride. You can add in a loop over Ulpha as well for more distance, all good fun. As others have said Honister, Newlands, Winlatter etc are all brilliant in the North Lakes.
  • BhimaBhima Posts: 2,145
    Thanks for the replies! :D

    Just been drawing up a map with all the climbs on and looking to form some kind of 2-day route out of them all. :)

    Some of the photos i've found look amazing though! :shock:

    ...Might have to make it into a 4+ day expedition! Would be good to get out walking too, as well as riding!
  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Just remember, when your legs are like molten lead, your lungs full of hot sand, your head spinning and the bike dragging under you like a ship's anchor, your will-power wrestling on the edge of a precipice with your desire to lie down and go to sleep, as you inch no nearer to the next false summit,


    we'll be thinking of you!

    :D


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • galaxyboygalaxyboy Posts: 168
    Bhima wrote:
    Thanks for the replies! :D

    Just been drawing up a map with all the climbs on and looking to form some kind of 2-day route out of them all. :)

    Some of the photos i've found look amazing though! :shock:

    ...Might have to make it into a 4+ day expedition! Would be good to get out walking too, as well as riding!

    If you're gonna do them all have a look at the fred whitton route. It takes in just about all of them in one go.
  • WooliferkinsWooliferkins Posts: 2,060
    Neil
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • SolisSolis Posts: 166
    mike ives wrote:
    Definitely Red Bank form Grassmere side, Kirkstone form Ambleside (the Struggle) and possibly Honister from Seatoller. I used to live the lakes and we all thought they were a real pain. Great rea though.


    Tackled Red Bank for the first time yesterday and definitley needs to be added to the list! Only short but certainly steep. Also took in Gunners How later in the day and whilst perhaps not as severe as many of the above had forgot just what a nice climb this is. So my updated list is now

    1. Hardknott
    1. Wrynose
    3. Honister
    4. Kirkstone (from Ambleside via the struggle) if doing South to North
    5. Red Bank
    6. Gunners How
    7. Winlatter

    Still to try Newlands, anyone know the "worst" direction to tackle this in?
  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,448
    Whisper it quietly but the trough of bowland is the best cycling in the country and hardly any traffic.I was there yesterday,lovely.
    Smarter than the average bear.
  • SolisSolis Posts: 166
    antfly wrote:
    Whisper it quietly but the trough of bowland is the best cycling in the country and hardly any traffic.I was there yesterday,lovely.

    Guess most of my riding is split 50/50 between Bowland, Ribble Valley / Lake District, agree the former have better quieter roads and lovely scenery. That said maybe its just me but even with the much publicised traffic and condition of many of the roads there is just something special about riding in the Lakes (well apart from Bank Holiday weekends).
  • passoutpassout Posts: 4,609
    Agree with the above. I do most of my cycling in the Ribble valley/Bowland now & it's amazing but the Lakes is a unique environment - very dramatic/romantic.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,448
    Agreed,the Lakes is great cycling too,especially away from the traffic.
    A little known climb is Brigsteer,near Kendal, short but very steep.
    Smarter than the average bear.
  • There are great roads to the north and east ot the Lakes, around the Solway firth, Caldbeck, mungrisedale and over into the Eden Valley. I grew up in the lake district and the problem is you have a lot of flat valley roads then horrendously steep passes. There aren't actually that many roads in the lakes either, due to the terrain I suppose and they get very busy. Aim for the quieter areas around the edge
  • rhnbrhnb Posts: 324
    I'm lucky enough to live on the edge of the Lakes and there are loads of choices for hills ;-)

    Probably one of my favourite areas is the Duddon Valley which has already been mentioned. From there you can make loops including Birker Fell, Stickle Pike, Hardknott, Wrynose, Corney Fell etc etc.

    The climb up from the back of Ulpha to Corney Fell is a good one, as is the climb from Kirkby in Furness up over Kirkby Moor. Doesn't get mentioned much but it's a brute. (or is it that I'm always nearly home when I hit it)!

    There are some 'rides what we like' listed here with a few pics if you're interested.

    http://www.bikeit.eclipse.co.uk/localrides/index.htm

    Cheeers... Allan.
    ~~~
    http://www.bikeit.eclipse.co.uk
    Cycle tour reports and the home of \'Cycling Before Lycra\'
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Yes, defo have a look at my mates 'RHNB' brilliant website for tons of stuff on the lakes...years ago when I stumbled on that site I had no idea whatsoever how much pain and torment would follow :wink: thats where I found out most of it all?

    As Allan above says...theres tons of unkwown brutes...but defo a shout for Corney Fell...thats a big one...Stickle Pike also...

    You can read about a few other climbs in the write ups below...

    http://www.sportivecentral.com/index.ph ... 339&page=1

    http://www.sportivecentral.com/index.ph ... 323&page=1


    between all the reading on RHNBs site and these then you should have a better idea of what to expect...good luck!...
  • Fat HeadFat Head Posts: 765
    like richy, rhnb gave me a great introduction to cycling in the lakes and for me there is nowhere else in the uk with such a concentration of great roads to cycle. while hardnott is a total slogfest corney fell and birker fell are long and expansive and allow the you to enjoy the view while also taking you over some amazing fell scenery

    as for difficulty, and treating climbs as a one off set-piece starting afresh etc, i think the struggle is harder than all but hardnott west

    i was in the lakes for a family camping expo this weekend and did a 50 miler that felt like 150 as there is no flat road and the sawtooth profile grinds you down quickly compared to 'average' uk roads. btw, i got smashed by hail at the top of stickle pike and found shelter between a parked car and minibus at the top, just as well all the parked cars were locked as i would have helped myself to a back seat for 10 minutes it was that bad! early forecasts suggest a mixed bag weather wise for the fred on sunday.
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