Summer crowd busters
The best way to get away from the Bank Holiday hordes is on your bike, so pack for the mountains and tackle something big and remote.
The best way to get away from it all is on your bike right? So pack plenty of snacks and spares, and do something big and remote this bank holiday! Here’s our recommendations…
1. Berwyn Hills, North Wales
GPS download: po.st/BerwynHills
While the crowds flock to Snowdonia, here’s a monster North Wales loop that you’re likely to have to yourself. From Llangynog (Landranger 125/SJ053261), take the B4391 NW to its summit and then break R (N) to hurdle the moor and drop into Cwm Pennant. Turn R onto the B4491 in Llandrillo and R (SE) to span the hill, pass the Wayfarer memorial, and drop to Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog. Head SW on lanes, S on a track then SW into Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. Head W then NW to Cefn-coch and cross the hills to the W on good bridleways that turn into a quagmire for a few minutes before firming up to make a top-notch finish.
2. Bowderdale, Howgill Fells
GPS download: po.st/Bowderdale
The Lake District takes a hammering on a bank holiday weekend, but the nearby Howgill Fells are a very different matter. If you want some north west singletrack to yourself, this is definitely the place to come. 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 – sorry – 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. Break for the border, Cheviot Hills
GPS download: po.st/Cheviots
It’s wild enough of the English side of the border, but it feels even more remote once you start dropping north into Scotland. This is a great ‘get away from it all’ ride with easy navigation and fairly straightforward riding. From Alwinton (Landranger 80/NT921062), head N up Clennel Street and continue through Kidland Forest and down to the Usway Burn. Keep north around Hazely Law to the border and keep ahead to drop to Cocklawfoot. Continue NW to Belford, then SW to climb onto Windy Law. Now take The Street SE to climb back onto the border ridge and stay with it to Barrowburn. Now head back N to Fairhaugh then to Shillmoor, where a bridleway cuts the corner back to Alwinton.
4. Glen Tilt, Scotland
GPS download: po.st/GlenTilt
It’s easy to get to from the A9, big enough to swallow a whole day and remote enough to really feel like you’re really ‘out there’ even on a bank holiday weekend. All in, this is a great loop and little wonder it holds classic status. From Bridge of Tilt (Landranger43/NN874662), head E on tarmac to Loch Moraig, then NE on a good track to Shinagag. Take a grassy track N and this becomes singletrack that hurdles the hillside then drops SE to Dadhu. A tough climb leads N then drops to Fealar Lodge, where you head W then SW to follow Glen Tilt all the way to the finish. Note: The river crossings could be tricky after heavy rain.