Sunday 8th September 2013

This route takes in two classic Lake District passes. At just under 11 miles, it isn't the longest of rides, but this should in no way be mistaken for being a gentle stroll out.

There was a noticeable nip in the air as we took the bikes out of the van at Mardale Head, right at the top of Haweswater. The first signs that Autumn is closing in.

We set off up the first pass of Nan Bield, which involves quite a bit of hike-a-bike up and some breathtaking views down to Haweswater. It doesn't take long to reach the remote tarn of Small Water, after which it becomes a much steeper ascent to the shelter at the top. The descent down the other side into Kentmere is one of the best singletrack bridleways in the Lakes, starting steep with technical switch backs, eventually straightening out to gently contour down into the valley. Thoroughly enjoyable and well worth the hike up.

A short unsurfaced lane took us quickly out of Kentmere and down to Sadgill in neighbouring Longsleddale where we joined the Garburn Pass track. This is totally different to Nan Bield, being a wide, very rough and rocky lane, particularly steep in places, but all rideable - just!

The descent back down to Haweswater is full of loose corners, very rough and equally enjoyable as the Nan Bield descent. Yet again I managed to get a pinch puncture, something which seems to be haunting me a bit on recent rides.

Stats 'n that

Location info

How far and how long:

10.31 miles, 3 hours 30 minutes

Who was with me:

Richard Grave, Tony Farnell, Andrew Nichol, Paul Gallimore, Nick Barnes
The view from the top of Nan Bield Pass.

The view from the top of Nan Bield Pass.

Looking downtowards Haweswater from Nan Bield Pass.

Looking downtowards Haweswater from Nan Bield Pass.

Upper Kentmere.

Upper Kentmere.

The climb up Gatesgarth Pass.

The climb up Gatesgarth Pass.