Britain’s Best Ride – Lakeland Loop
Once the shortlist of five was decided the routes were ridden and filmed by the Cycling plus team, with footage posted on You Tube. The votes were then cast on the magazine’s web site, with the Lake District ride taking the honours in top place.
Rob Spedding, the Editor of Cycling Plus, said: “This ride beat off some extremely tough competition but I’m not surprised – it’s got everything. Stunning lakeside scenery, quiet roads and in Wrynose Pass a proper cycling challenge”.
This Lake District loop was suggested by James Hodgson and Lindsay McCrae of Broughton Wheelers cycling group. They won a Boardman bike which they subsequently auctioned off to raise funds for St Mary’s hospice in Ulverston, Cumbria.
This route is on our doorstep here in Lowick. The ride starts off with a flowing 10 miles besides the tranquil lake shore of Coniston Water, with amazing views across the lake to the Old Man of Coniston. A sharp climb at the head of the lake tops at Hawkshead Hill, then along an undulating few miles to the Wild Boar Pub following a descent down the twisting Cumbrian lanes to Little Langdale. Be warned, the sign in Langdale saying Wrynose Pass 30% is not wrong! Spin spin keep those legs spinning is the only way to complete the climb without walking, a treble helps. From the top of the pass there is up to 15 miles of casual descending virtually all the way to Broughton in Furness, where the Square Cafe is a perfect opportunity to eat and drink. But it’s not over yet as there is still the ascent of Woodland Fell, which is quite a sting in the tail of this ride. Then the last couple of miles all down hill back to Lowick.
1700 meters of climbing in this 40 mile loop, only half a mile on a main road, the majority on exceptionally quiet roads.
How long will it take? It has been ridden in three and a half hours and ten hours, and lots in between….. it so much depends on your fitness, your bike and the weather.
This really is Britain’s Best Ride
Britain’s Best Ride… plus… 15 miles extra
This is my add-on to the above ride for the more adventurous, because at the bottom of Wrynose Pass is the notorious Hardknott Pass. Not as long as the climb up Wrynose, Hardknott is a difficult climb due to the steep twist bends which destroy your cadence. Similarly the descent into the valley below tests out even the most experienced rider’s downhill skills, with its equally twisting switchbacks. The Eskdale valley bottom gives a welcome rest for the arms, lungs and legs before climbing again over Birker Fell into Ulpha and joining the above ride in Broughton In Furness.
This add-on is only for the fittest of riders as it is an additional two climbs and about another 1500 metres coupled with and additional 15 miles.