Buy the OS Route Map and instructions for this route

With many features that are regularly discovered in a challenging Lake District jaunt, the crux of this elongated figure of eight is a series of high peaks and deep troughs.
The route’s climbing starts innocently enough with the opening gambit from Staveley on firm bridleway. Then an involving rocky descent gets the technical juices flowing a little on the way to the first major trough at Kentmere.
The inevitable ascent ensues after the downward fun. As it heads to reach Cocklaw Fell, this climb is actually a relatively steady height gain compared to what’s coming up later in the route. A tough easterly schlep from here leads to a vantage point high above Sleedale Valley. If the earlier drop to Kentmere didn’t necessarily push all the right buttons, the next exposed plummet on similarly burly boulders should pretty much do the trick, as it cuts into high-banked tree cover flanked by tempting grass boosts. The drag north from Long Sleedale below soon becomes a freestyle cobbled test of pure climbing mettle before you reach the beckoning crossing of Gatesgarth Pass.
A series of tight, rocky switch-backs on the other side marks the start of the descent towards Haweswater reservoir. Saviour these moments riding the precipitous sculpted bends, as you’ll find you will be largely hiking from the bottom to reach the crest of Nan Bield Pass.
Once the definition of the route is picked out and over 700 metres of shunting and struggling conquered, the culmination is nearly four kilometres of uninterrupted descending back towards Kentmere, before the final cruise back to Wilf’s Staveley haven. This homeward climb and long descent being a perfectly apt conclusion to a true test of Cumbrian grit.