As a mountain bike guide in the Lake District, I often get asked which is my favourite route. The truth is, it’s a really difficult question to answer, as it changes all the time. It might sound like a cop out, but with such a vast network of trails at our disposal, route options really are endless, and we’re constantly stitching together different sections of trail to make great rides even better.
Trails are also changing all the time, either due to human interference, or natural erosion, which can affect how enjoyable they are to ride. There are several routes that I used to love, which have been ruined, by either man or mother nature, and equally, some that have changed for the better.
However, there are definitely certain routes that stand out from the rest, and I keep revisiting time and time again. Who doesn’t love the feeling of summiting Helvellyn, enjoying the stunning panoramic views (on a good day!), and knowing there’s an epic descent lying in wait? But, which is the best way down – Lower Man and Sticks Pass, or Birkside? It’s so hard to say…
Nan Bield Pass is another favourite, but you’ve got to time it right, if you don’t want to disappear into a bog towards the bottom!
Walna Scar and Seathwaite are also up there, but again, route choice and conditions are key.
Langdales and Stake Pass also deserve a mention. Some big climbs, but totally worth it for the stunning views and great descents.
If pressed to choose just one, I’d probably have to go for the epic that is ‘The Four Passes’ in the North Lakes, where four gruelling climbs are rewarded with four exhilarating descents, and some of the Lake District’s finest scenery.
Ask me next week though, and it might have changed! That’s the beauty of the Lake District; we really are spoilt for choice when it comes to mountain biking!
What are your favourite Lake District mountain bike routes? Share them with us below!