2 - 3
FATMAP difficulty grade
From Staveley, a steady road and then track climb takes you up onto the open fells and some wonderful singletrack riding towards Cocklaw Fell.
A fast rutted and grassy descent, followed by a stony track takes you to Sadgill, where the long climb up to Gatesgarth pass begins.
Rough track becomes increasingly rougher and steeper as you climb upwards, but the wild and lonely feeling of this valley will help take your mind off the climb.
The last steep zigzags up require a push but from there it's down down down on a fast, rocky, loose descent all the way to Mardale Head.
The next climb up towards Nan Bield is partly rideable, partly pushable, and some neither...requiring a bit of hike-a bike.
Luckily the incredible views and unbelievably good descent from the pass more than make it worth it.
Technical rocky switchbacks, and steep drops morph into increasingly flowy but still engaging singletrack, taking you all the way back towards Kentmere; this is an absolute delight of a trail.
From here there are options to climb over Garburn Pass for an even more epic day out, to ride the Kentmere Hall climb and descent, or to spin along the quiet road back to Staveley and a well-deserved cafe or pub trip.