Despite a long and meandering climb up Longsleddale, and an equally lengthy retreat back down the Kentmere Valley; this route is really all about the crossing of the rugged fells that divide the two deeply-cloven vales. In particular, the sinuous stretch of singletrack that leads from Green Quarter Fell onto Staveley Head.
It may be brief — little more than 2km at the most; and it’s not particularly technical — the descent that follows will provide a far greater challenge; but it really is about as good as moorland singletrack can get: with flowing ups and downs and more than its fair share of sneaky twists and turns. Try riding it without a smile on your face.
There are other moments too: the steep and stony climb from Sadgill will thwart all but the very strongest of climbers; and the steep and loose bottom section of the descent to the road will certainly get a drop of adrenaline flowing. But these won’t linger long in the memory. The singletrack will.
A word of warning: the outward leg, through the meadows and pastures of Longsleddale, is unexciting to say the least. It definitely helps if there are a few of you — at least you get to ride through some of the gates — but if you’re on your own, or the going’s heavy, or if you’d just rather get straight into the good stuff; don’t hesitate to use the road instead.