Fancy trying the Gunnerside Gill route from MBR’s Britain’s Best Singletrack series? Here’s your chance…
An OS map of Gunnerside Gill and its surrounds shows gentle climbs interspersed with unrivalled severity.
Over the flat tops of the moors, it’s almost impossible to find contour lines that come together. Industrial and glacial activity have left their mark on the perimeters, however. A climb up to, or a drop off, the moors will involve a journey across the thickest of contours.
Having reached the verge car park at Surrender Bridge, you will already have an idea of the climb that will finish this ride, but don’t let that put you off. The gravel access road that takes you steadily up onto Melbeck Moor once serviced the area’s numerous lead mines, but now it leads to grouse butts and the habitat that supports these game birds. But the reminders of this area’s industrial past are indelible.
If you’re lucky enough to enjoy the absence of a headwind, the climb is of little hindrance. Loose gravel is the surface of choice here, but the climb is gentle enough for traction not to become an issue.
Once up onto Melbeck Moor, the choice is fairly straightforward.
Aim up Gunnerside Gill and sample 100 per cent of the singletrack bridleway on offer, knowing you might have to hop off for a landslip or two.
Or head straight out of Old Gang Mines along the most direct route, down Bunton Hush into Bunton Lead Level.
Both offer very different challenges. One route offers a fast, smooth and thoroughly enjoyable ride; the other is more technical and will require every ounce of bravery.
Either way, you’re in for a fantastic time.