Few things in life hit the spot quite as much as a short evening sortie on good trails among stunning scenery. While there are plenty of places in the UK to do just this, very few of them quite match the magic of the Lakes, which — with a pink sun sinking low behind the jagged outline of the magnificent western fells, and the promise of a hard-earned pint in a cosy local waiting for you at the end — must rank as one of the best places in the whole world to spend a few hours in the saddle.
This is a suitably short route, ideal for the purpose. What it lacks in distance, it more than makes up for in quality riding and scenery; it crosses rolling fells on superb rocky trails, with stunning views west over Lake Windermere and north towards Kentmere.
There’s a couple of stiff climbs; the first is the toughest, on a steep and rocky bridleway that hurdles the fells between Ambleside and Troutbeck, the second follows tarmac for the worst section, so should slide beneath the wheels easily.
These are rewarded by some great downhill action. The first drop, into Troutbeck village, is fast but bumpy enough to keep you on your toes. The second one, down the western side of the Garburn Pass, throws up a little of everything with the highlight being some steep rocky steps at half height. From Troutbeck there’s another great drop to shores of the lake. This one calls for plenty of decorum, especially late in the evening when the setting sun seems perfectly positioned to blind you around every turn.