Guidebook

Unique Ambience and Epic Trails : Bike the Eastern Lakes

Far from the busy streets of the tourists honeypots, the Eastern Lake District is wild and untamed - as is the biking!

Charlie Boscoe

Description

Lacking a major town such as Keswick (https://fatmap.com/guidebooks/7089/stunning-scenery-with-plenty-of-gnar:-mtb-keswick/@54.5795281,-3.3446697,50249.9219737,-90,0,124.2183277,normal) or Ambleside (https://fatmap.com/guidebooks/34226/a-week's-worth-of-bike-adventures-around-ambleside), the Eastern Lake District remains something of a hidden gem. It's home to some charming villages like Glenridding and Pooley Bridge, but nowhere big enough to keep shoppers and cafe-dwellers going for a day, and as such it tends only to attract those who want to go into the hills and not just look at them. Those hills are spectacular, and possess an ambience that isn't quite like anywhere else; imagine barren summits, deep blue lakes and a constant breeze, and you won't be far off.

The area is famous for its hiking but the biking in the area is equally deserving of attention, and these 4 rides will demonstrate why. The trip over Askamm Fell is about as far east as you can go and still be in the mountains, so it offers contrasting views of both high ground and flatlands. The ride over Helvellyn and Dollywagon Pike is an equally stunning journey but is very much a mountain adventure, and as well as taking you over a famous summit it features some of the best - and trickiest - singletrack in the Lake District. Speaking of singletrack, the Ullswater Singletrack Loop is brilliant and relatively short, with "only" 600 vertical metres of height gain required. The final route described here - High Street - is another beast and features some fabulous singletrack, earned via a rough and tough climb!

The glaring problem with the Eastern Lake District is that - like much of northern England - the weather is not always perfect, to put it mildly. As such, set aside a week to complete these 4 routes, and use the almost inevitable bad weather days to enjoy the excellent Glenridding cafes!

Helvellyn and Dollywagon Pike
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Helvellyn and Dollywagon Pike

18.8 km
1,006 m
1,009 m
A big route up England's highest legally ride-able hill, with a long steep and technical descent on challenging trails suitable for experienced riders.
Extreme
Private
High Street
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

High Street

22.2 km
1,103 m
1,104 m
A Lakeland classic that provides a fine day out in the big hills for riders with strong legs and lungs!
Severe
Private
Ullswater Singletrack Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Ullswater Singletrack Loop

17.3 km
607 m
608 m
A fantastic technical ride which packs a lot into its relatively short distance, this is one for experienced riders.
Severe
Private