Going: A fairly hilly outing, but with no prolonged ascents. The
bridleway section is easy apart from an awkward section in the middle, two or three
hundred yards long.
Total distance: 14 miles.
For Lakes chocolate-box views per mile, theres not much to beat a circuit around Grasmere and Rydal Water. Following minor roads and a bridleway, this route mixes with traffic for just a short distance. Dont be put off by the lateness of the year there are some wonderful autumn colours around now.
A start is made at Skelwith Bridge, by the Elterwater turn-off, heading uphill on a narrow lane. And right at the start, theres a slope with attitude! Soon levelling, little Loughrigg Tarn appears, below the low fell of the same name.
Bear right onto a road lined with mature broadleaf trees, to eventually make a steep descent towards Grasmere. Heres another lovely view, over the lake and up to Heron Pike and Helvellyn beyond.
Arriving in the village, a worthwhile detour can be made into Easedale, where the aptly-named Sourmilk Gill can be seen tumbling down in the distance. Cross the main Keswick road to Town End, passing the new Wordsworth museum, and plug uphill until a bridleway points towards Alcock Tarn and Rydal.
Bear right at the corner, and then follow this all the way to Rydal Mount. Most of it can be ridden, apart from two or three hundred yards in the middle. Fine views open up over Rydal Water, again overlooked by Loughrigg.
Back on tarmac, drop down the hill, and pick up the narrow lane almost opposite to Ambleside, a cyclists delight by the tumbling River Rothay. Here the signs point to Skelwith Bridge, but bear off the main road left for a much more pleasant return alongside another river, the Brathay.
A genuine surprise view awaits on a corner at Skelwith Fold, with a panorama centered on the Langdales, every feature picked out on a slate plaque set in a stone wall. Then its on down the hill back to the start.
This is my last On yer bike contribution after thirty-eight columns since February, its time to hang up the cycle clips! I hope a few people have been inspired to try some of the rides, and have enjoyed them as much as I did.
The rides I didnt write about? The one I really wanted to include, but didnt think fit for a family newspaper was the Ulpha - Dunnerdale Eskdale triangle, taking in Hardknott Pass. Every cyclist should aspire to this 1 in 4 up and down epic, if only for the disbelieving gapes of motorists already frit by those horrendous zig-zags!
Abiding image of the year? The guy at the 1300ft Hardknott summit, celebrating his 60th birthday with a fifty-mile circular bike ride, happily munching his sandwiches. Take heart!
Plenty at Grasmere and Ambleside, and a pub at Skelwith Bridge.
Lougrigg Tarn, below the fell of the same name.
Grasmere, seen from the narrow lane above the western side.
The River Brathay, next to the road to Skelwith Fold.
Any comments on the cycling pages would be gratefully received!
Copyright J Chambers 2005. Unauthorised reproduction not allowed. May be printed
for personal use only.
Open Country Prints, Main Street, Baycliff, Ulverston, Cumbria
LA12 9RN, England