Secret highs

Even on our tiny, often overcrowded island, there are still places you can grab a bit of solitude as well as a view. These are our favourite bolt holes.

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Roseberry Topping: keep it to yourself. Pic: Tristan Tinn.

1. Roseberry Topping, North York Moors

15km/9.5 Miles
Ride time: 2-3 hours
Why ride it? Most airy spot on the moors and a great viewpoint
Where to eat? Royal Oak at Great Ayton

OK, stretching it a bit to find solitude on Roseberry Topping. But it’s the nearest thing in these parts to a mountain, and the route actually skirts around the summit anyway, leaving you with an optional clamber to the top (the very last section isn’t a right of way for a bike, but you’ll be walking by then anyway). Follow BWs SE From Hutton Gate Visitors’ Centre (Landranger 93/NZ584154), and loop around Hutton Village before heading NE to gain a BW that leads SE to Sleddale. Continue SW to the road then NW to the forest edge and head W onto Roseberry Common. Climb the mountain (or as high as you fancy) and then take the BW NW to wind back through the wood to finish – watch for a singletrack on your L.

2. Black Combe, Lake District

14km/9 Miles
Ride time: 2-3 hours
Why ride it? Something different with a great climb and great views
Where to eat? The Miner’s Arms in Silecroft

A coastal outlier that offers one of the toughest and best climbs anywhere in the Lakes, and offers views over the sea in one directions and the high mountains in the other. Seldom ridden but an absolute gem. Head S to Whicham from the lay-by on the A595 (Landranger 96/SD120837) and after you turn inland, take the lane then BW N all the way to the summit – a 600m climb. Stay on the BW to descend at speed and as it levels, make sure you get on the BW that heads S and follow this all the way to Whitbeck.

3. Mynydd Llangorse, Black Mountains

34.6km/21 Miles
Ride time: 5 hours
Why ride it? 2 summits and plenty of solitude
Where to eat? Castle Inn in Llangors Village.

This is the biggest of this bunch. But you do get 2 summits instead of 1 for your troubles. Start at the lake (Landranger 161/ SO 128273) and follow lanes through the village and NE to Penllanafal, where you can enjoy a drop NWto Heol-y-cefn. Take lanes to Trewalkin, and SE to pick up a BW E to Pengenfford, then SE then S to a lane at the top of Cwm Sorgwm. Take the narrow BW SW, eventually looping E onto Mynydd Llangorse (backtrack 1km if you want the trig point), then drop to Bwlch and take the A40 NW. As it bends L, keep SA and follow a BW over Allt yr Esgair and down to Pennorth, where you need to loop around the lake on the road to finish.

4. Burma Road, Aviemore, Scotland

15km/9.5 Miles
Ride time: 2 hours
Why ride it? The quick way to get away from it all and a great trail.
Where to eat? The Winking Owl, Aviemore

This is a peachey little loop that beams you from the bustle of Aviemore to the remoteness of the mountains in just a handful of kilometres. And if that’s not enough, it brings you back down again on some fine singletrack. Wherever you start, head out of town to the roundabout at the S end (Landranger 36/NH892116) and continue S to where the road joins the A9. Cross this and head up the lane opposite. Now follow the track all the way to the top. As it levels, take the sharp L and plummet back down, breaking R at the bottom to go beneath the A9.

5. Crook Peak, Mendip Hills

12.5km (8 Miles)
Ride time: 2 hours
Why ride it? It’s Mendips, Jim, but not as we know it – and a great summit.
Where to eat? The Crown at Churchill. It’s a short drive but so worth it.

This is an easy ride that takes you to one hell of a view point, and the drop off of it is fun in places too. The trail actually skips around the summit but a detour is definitely worth it, even if it’s just to watch the traffic on the M5. The best start is Kings Wood (Landranger 182/ST421560) and from there take the main track west onto Wavering Down and then down then up to flank Crook Peak to the R. This is the time to push up to the top. The BW then descends with a sweet little switchback section to the road. Turn L, cross the motorway and head N through Loxton and off road up Loxton Hill. At Upper Canada, head E to cross the M5 again, now use lanes to cross the levals and climb back up to Kings Wood.