Buy the OS Route Map and instructions for this route

It’s a merciless struggle to the top of Irton Fell, and the pain’s not really eased by the steep and technical descent (read ‘walk’) that awaits you when you finally do top out. “Why bother?” I hear you ask. Because it’s an integral part of a top-notch circuit that explores some remote, rough trails within a stone’s throw of the highest ground in England. As with most Lakeland riding, the rewards outweigh the considerable effort.
This is a ride of two dales: Eskdale provides car parking, cafes and pubs, railway access and a fairly civilised trail along its rushing river; Wasdale is an altogether more wild proposition; with a windswept lake — the deepest in England — and a jagged skyline of imposing peaks that includes Great Gable, Scafell and Scafell Pike. The challenges lie on the two ridges in-between: the first, already mentioned, is a thankless push up, followed by a downhill that won’t see many clean descents either. The second offers a lot more encouragement, with a steep and stony pull from Wast Water to Burnmoor Tarn; an undulating singletrack that straddles the lonely ground that surrounds it. And then there’s a steep and incredibly rocky descent back into Boot and Eskdale…
This is a ‘medium-grade’ ride in length only; with enough full-on technical sections to keep even the most proficient riders busy. Add that to over 750m of ascent and you’ll definitely know you’ve been out riding. Aspirant coast-to-coasters will be interested to know that the return leg, over Burnmoor Tarn, usually forms the final stages of the first day.