We love the Lakes but boy can it get busy!

Even up high, it can sometimes be impossible to get into the flow without stopping to say hello every few minutes. Better to get off the beaten track.

>>> The 10 best trails in the UK as chosen by MBR’s Benji

1. Duddon Valley, Lake District

34km/24 miles
Ride time: 5 hours
Why ride it? Some great riding away from the crowds
Where to eat? Newfield Arms, Seathwaite

The Duddon Valley is like a hidden valley in the South West of the Lakes. It lacks big mountains, but makes up for this with some great riding. Follow road N from Duddon Bridge (Landranger 96/SD199883) deflecting off-road NE then NW then N on a lane to Whistling Ground. Continue E on BW to SD217932 where more BWs lead N to Seathwaite. Follow tarmac N to the picnic spot at Hinning Ho. Climb S on forest roads to Grassguards where a top-notch BW continues S to Wallabarrow. More lanes lead S to Millbrow, and track takes over to cross Ulpha Park. Follow lanes SE then SW where another BW hurdles the fell to the E to finish.

2. Bowderdale, Howgill Fells

40km/25 miles
Ride time: 6 hours
Why ride it? Some of the north’s best singletrack
Where to eat? Black Swan, Ravenstonedale

OK, so it’s not exactly the Lake District, but it’s a lot quieter and easily good enough to make this selection. Start in Sedbergh (Landranger97/SD657921), and take tarmac north to Howgill where you pick up the trail heading E. It’s a huge push/carry up the Calf but the singletrack descent on the other side more than makes up for the discomfort – this really is something special. To return, follow lanes E from Wath to Ravenstonedale and then S to Adamthwaite. A good track will take you to Ben End where a riverside bridleway leads back to Sedbergh.

3. Black Combe

14km/9 Miles
Ride time: 2-3 hours
Why ride it? Definitely far from the madding crowd.
Where to eat? The Miner’s Arms in Silecroft

One of the most westerly hills in the Lakes – so far west, in fact, it offers sea views as well as mountains. From the lay-by on the A595 (Landranger 96/SD120837), head S to Whicham and turn inland. After600m take the lane then BW N all the way to the summit – a 600m climb. Stay on the BW to descend at speed and as it levels, make sure you get on the BW that heads S and follow this all the way to Whitbeck.

4. Mosedale

30km/20 Miles
Ride time: 5 hours
Why ride it? Something completely different.
Where to eat? Punchbowl Inn, Askham

Definitely one from the left field this one – but fun nonetheless. Start at Burnbank (OS Landranger 90/NY50716) take the Naddle Farm BW SE past Bewbarrow Crags then tarmac N to a x-roads, where you take a private road R. Follow this until it rejoins the road proper at Green Farm. Take the track SW and follow the BW through Mosedale, which can be boggy in places, to Gatesgarth Pass. Climb this, enjoy the descent, then take the road back.

5. Caldbeck Fells, Lake District

33km/21 miles
Ride time: 5 hours
Why ride it? A real ‘out there’ feel
Where to eat? The Mill Inn, Mungrisdale

The northern fringes of the Lakes feel quite remote in comparison to the southern side. And this ride has a real ‘out there’ feel despite a few road sections. Follow lanes N from Mosedale (Landranger 90/NY357322), and at Calebreck, head west on old mining tracks. Pick up the road at Fell Side and follow it to Green Head, where a good track continues west to Longlands. Tarmac leads south over Dash Beck, and a good track then follows this south east to Skiddaw House, continuing north east to finish.