It’s hard work. But it’s well worth it.
This ride is all about reaching the infamous Nan Bield Pass and experiencing the Kentmere Common descent that follows it.
Sunken alpine hairpins, fast stony singletrack, sketchy, mucky gambles, sudden techy chutes, chilling streams, nightmare ruts and some all-out randomness… all set amid an awesome Lakeland valley landscape.
But before you get to the fun wild stuff you’ve got a fair amount of leg and shoulder work to do. The Lake District ain’t no trail centre. You have to put in the grunts before you get to the stunts.
The relatively gentle warm-up along pastoral farm tracks heading away from Stile End acts as an ideal way of easing yourself into the day’s adventure. The speedy but straightforward descent down into Longsleddale is a nice awakening of the synapses but it’s in no way indicative of the descents that you’ll have to deal with later.
An almighty climb up the valley head takes you to the Gatescarth Pass, whereupon the descending switches up a gear with a speedway hurtle down into the amazing Haweswater valley. But the best is yet to come. And the worst.
The worst is dealt with first: getting up to Nan Bield Pass. The first third is rideable, the middle is a lovely contour around the stunning Small Water tarn, the final is a killer hike-a-bike up a trail resembling an insane rockery.
It’s hard work. But it’s well worth it. From Nan Bield Pass back down to Stile End will live long in the memory.