This one will sort the wheat from the chaff: a 65 mile loop around the lakeland area of the Lake District is one for only the more accomplished cyclists of you out there. We recommend beginning this cycle in Elterwater as there is plenty of carparking, however you can join the loop earlier if you are heading out straight from our B&B in Windermere – it’ll only put that extra few miles on the clock! The cycle is a thrilling, tiring and challenging ride covering much of the lakeland area. With unrivalled scenery across such a large area you will see all of the top tourist spots as well as a few of some of the less frequented corners.
There will be plenty of places to stop for a drink or some food and we recommend taking a good supply to keep you full of energy. A special Windermere Guest House breakfast will get you ready for the day, full up to the brim to take on the challenge well fueled.
Elterwater is a delightful little village is worth taking in before heading towards Colwith where you will turn right and be hit immediately by Wrynose Pass which is your first significant challenge. Enjoy the last stretch of level tarmac to Little Langdale and then get ready for the pass. The incredible steepness of the ride up means there will be a stunning cycle down to pick up the pace and you will hurtle down towards Cockley Beck but with little respite as you will soon be winding your way straight back up Hardknott – as pleasant in reality as it sounds, but fortunately that bit shorter than Wrynose pass.
We recommend taking it slower on the descent into Eskdale as the corners can be tight and the road is known for its occasional pot-hole; we don’t want any broken bones coming back to our Windermere Guest House! The good news is that having made it this far you have taken on the two biggest of climbs so it’s good to have got them out of the way! From now on back to the Windermere Guest House will be ever so slightly easier.
Follow the valley down to Eskdale Green before taking on a short climb over to Santon Bridge. From here there are some easy lanes to manage to Gosforth and pick up the A595 briefly as far as Calder Bridge. There are some great views of Scafell from here that are well worth glancing up to see.
From Calder Bridge take a right past the church and head towards Lamplugh on a 300m climb that isn’t too difficult at any point. More remarkable scenery to take in as the western seascape is on show and on a clear day the distant Isle of Man can be seen from your vantage point.
Down to Ennerdale Bridge and turn right and a quick left into Kirkland and Lamplugh, heading north from here on the A5086 very briefly. The pass of Fangs Brow is next on your list north-eastwards. Turn right next and descend at speed past Loweswater and Kirkstile, climb up Scale Hill and look out for a quaint little lane signposted Hopebeck which has fantastic views in all directions. Hit the main Whinlatter Road which climbs into the forest centre before a fast descent into Braithwaite.
Take the lanes through Portinscale and into Keswick, which lies at the northernmost point of Derwentwater. Climb out of Keswick on the narrow, suburban Ambleside Road and take a right onto the A591 and follow it over the flank to descend into St John’s Vale.
Find a narrow road to turn right onto along the western side of Thirlmere and enjoy the beautiful waterside views and scenery. Follow this through lovely forestry and rejoin the A-road at the southern end. From here you’ll climb to Dunmail Raise, which is a short one before heading back down and at speed to Grasmere.
Leave on the Red Bank Road and with the last of your energy before heading back to your Windermere Guest House for the night, crank up the effort towards the Youth Hostel. Take the right fork for the short drop back to Elterwater and into the car for your drive back to the Windermere Guest house.