One for the off-road
A cold pint and a warm fire — what better way could there be to end a winter ride?
1. Lion Inn, Blakey Ridge, North York Moors
Standing atop the North York Moors, the Lion Inn is no stranger to reviving adventurers with sanctuary and sustenance. Start from the pub, head along the old railway to Bloworth Crossing and turn left onto Rudland Rigg. Follow the ridge for 8km, then hang a left down the West Gill bridleway to Low Mill. Cross the River Dove and take the steep road climb back to Blakey Ridge.
2. Drunken Duck, Barngates, Ambleside
The Drunken Duck’s Red Bull Terrier, brewed onsite, might not give you wings, but it still makes a great recovery drink. The locally sourced food is equally welcome after a day in the hills.
A stone’s throw from some classic winter trails (check out our Ambleside All-Weather route), ride along the road to Knipe Fold then head up and over Arnside Intake. Explore the bridleways and byways over to Hodge Close and High Tilberthwaite to the west, and return via Elterwater and Skelwith Bridge. You never get too high or exposed and the trails are generally rocky and drain well.
3. Applecross Inn, Torridon
The owners of the remote Applecross Inn could easily make a successful business out of a
mediocre pub. Thankfully the food is as stunning as the view across to Skye, and the seafood as fresh as the westerly breeze/gale (delete as applicable). Getting there is equally tasty —
park at Kenmore and follow the wild and woolly singletrack to Applecross. Navigation couldn’t be simpler; there’s only one junction and you just retrace your steps home.
4. Cross Keys, Sedbergh
A pub without a licence? Sounds awful, but the Cross Keys Temperance Inn makes it onto our list for its renowned food and quirky soft drinks. You’re welcome to BYO, so remember to do an offy run on the way if you want a post-ride pint. The Cross Keys is on the classic Howgills loop; climb onto the summit of the Calf from Sedbergh via Winder Hill, then descend on the bridleway beside Bowderdale Beck. Follow minor roads to Ravenstonedale and over Harter Fell. Pick up the bridleway to the Cross Keys. The pub is at the foot of Cautley Spout waterfall.
5. Warren House Inn, Postbridge, Dartmoor
Off grid and off the beaten track, the Warren House Inn is the loneliest pub in Britain. The ales are real, the food is home-cooked and the fire has been burning continuously since 1845.
For a 16km ride, turn left out of the pub, then right onto the bridleway after 100m. Follow the bridleway into the valley and turn right heading into Soussons Warren. Take the bridleway then the forest road and turn right on the road to Postbridge. A left on the B3212, then another left before you cross the river, leads you onto a bridleway through Pizwell to Soussons Warren. Turn right on the road, then left to Soussons Farm and take the bridleway onto Challacombe Down. At Headland Warren Farm, turn left and take the bridleway over Challacombe Down and back to the Warren House Inn.