Flowing singletrack has never been a calling card of the Lake District, which is perhaps why this little loop has become such a firm favourite with locals and visitors alike.
It’s a ride of two halves, with the majority of the climbing — certainly the bits that require pushing — in the opening stages. And then, after a short section of tricky navigation, the singletrack eases in. It’s a bit hit or miss at first; rutted and scattered with huge, slippery lumps of rock that’ll whip your front wheel away faster than you can say ouch! But it gradually improves, and after a stream crossing at half distance, it becomes absolutely delightful — a true roller coaster that’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.
A walled track at Stephenson Ground and a boggy crossing of Long Mire Beck provide a short diversion from the full-on fun, but then it’s more wonderful singletrack, sweet and user-friendly, and with fine views south. The highlight comes after Raven Crag, where the trail edges along a short section of slickrock veranda, with plenty of exposure. West of the road crossing, it does get frustrating in places; the trail vanishes completely a couple of times, and you need to keep a close eye on navigation. But stick with it, it finishes strongly, with a steep and techie descent, and then it’s a farm-track cruise and a short road blast back into Seathwaite and the waiting pub.