Description: A trip into the heart of the Lakes taking in some of the toughest climbs in the area including Hardknott & Wrynose Passes. Strong cyclists only on this one please. Distance 52 miles.
Start from the Windermere Ferry - meeting 9.45am (to allow for the train from Oxenholme/Kendal). There will be numerous challenging climbs. To warm us up is the hill from the Ferry but worse is to come.
We will skirt Hawkshead and head up Hawkshead Hill to Coniston. A severe climb awaits at Torver taking us to Stephenson Ground for a pleasant but hilly lane eventually dropping down to Dunnerdale. No morning tea stops so bring elevenses.We turn left for a short distance before another severe climb at Ulpha which will take us over to Eskdale. The gradient is kind for a while here so to celebrate we will stop for refreshment at Dalegarth Station to ogle at the engines (or anything else which catches our eye) and wonder why the heck we didn't just catch the train.
On a high from our steamy encounter (and hopefully a good dollop of ice cream) we head up the valley to our fate. Hardknott Pass from the west is acknowledged as one of the hardest routes in the land. Let us hope the weather is kind and we do not encounter too many motorists to impede our attempt to get a good line on the curves. Wrynose Pass is next before a long descent to Little Langdale and civilisation. We will then head back to Hawkshead and the Ferry by late afternoon/early evening. The route is hard so expect a low average speed and thus a fairly long day out.
Health warning: An extremely tough ride - riders will need to be able to cycle all or most of the climbs as there will not be the time available to wait for long periods. Also there are no easy get out options once we have gone beyond Coniston.