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Duration
6 Days
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    Duration - 6 Days
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    Suitable Bike - Mountain Bike
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Suitable Bike
Mountain Bike
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    Fitness Grade - 3
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Fitness Grade
3
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    Skills Grade - C
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Skills Grade
C
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    Navigation - Fully Guided
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Navigation
Fully Guided

The Lakeland "All Mountain" Epic Full Itinerary 


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The Mountain Biking - Introduction
 
The Lake District is England’s largest national park and home to some of the most spectacular biking, not only in the UK but anywhere. The sport of mountain biking grew up here – Lester Noble, owner and founder of Orange mountain bikes, lives a stone’s throw away from our Lake District offices and the Orange connection with this region and Halifax in Yorkshire spans some incredible trails.
 
If your UK mountain biking never gets much beyond trail centres, this trip will show you a whole other world: a world of high summits with jaw-dropping views, massive, gnarly, rocky descents that last for miles yet have not one other rider on them (except the rest of your group, of course), where you come off the trail and almost directly into the garden of a local pub, serving fresh Cumbrian food and locally brewed beers to help you through the afternoon… If this sounds appetising, then maybe it’s time for a change from UK trail centres or foreign holidays? Maybe it’s time for an epic, all-mountain adventure through the most awe-inspiring, technique challenging, physically demanding, big and beautiful trails that The Lake District, the UK, maybe even the World has to offer. This is THE trip for anyone who wants to sample UK all mountain biking at its absolute best.
 
Usual daily distances: 40 to 50km
Days of cycling: 5
Terrain: The ancient rights of way network, known as bridleways, allows us access to an exceptional variety of remote tracks and trails. Often rocky, often technically demanding and sometimes accessed by sections of quiet country backroads, there is real diversity on this trip.
Support vehicle: there is no allocated support vehicle for this tour as your bags will be moved from guesthouse to guesthouse on routes that do not connect with our rides. However there is a great network of café’s and bike shops, for any on-the-go pit stops, plus our guides are experts at trail fixes, to keep you on the move.
Tour staff: 1 Mountain bike guide, qualified, local to The Lakes and an expert on all of the trails, their variations and their challenges.
 
 
If you want to find out more about the mountain biking, the guiding or anything else about the Lakeland Epic – please just give us a call. Our office team is always ready to help with enquiries.
 
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Contact us to find out more or reserve your space:
Email: admin@cycleactive.com
Call: + 44 (0)1768 840400

 

 Day 1 Sunday – Arrival
   
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The tour starts on Sunday in Penrith, which is in the north-eastern corner of The Lake District, and can easily be reached by road (M6 J40), rail (Virgin West Coast main line) and air (Manchester Airport, then a train direct from the airport). You can arrive at any time in the afternoon today to get settled in to our chosen guesthouse, get your bike and gear sorted out, and maybe even take a warm up spin through some of the backroads of the Eden Valley. When in Penrith you can choose from many great places to eat in the evening and you will also get a chance to meet up with the rest of the group. Your CycleActive guide will meet up with you first thing Monday morning to get the riding started.
 
  • Guest house location: Penrith
  • Meals Included: None
  • Cycling: 0Km

 

 Day 2 Monday – Ullswater and Kirkstone Pass
   
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We pedal straight out from the door of our guesthouse today, just as we will every other day of this epic all-mountain journey. Cutting through the small town of Penrith takes under 5 minutes, then we’re on backroads past Brougham Castle, Brougham hall and out into the Lake District. Our route quickly brings us onto some little known trails to get us climbing over Barton Fell, overlooking Ullswater, the second largest (and many say most beautiful) lake in the National Park. As we spin down the first great descent, a mix of rocks, grass, gravel and some skinny singletrack too, you'll quickly get a flavour for the terrain and scenery that's in store for you. You’ll also get a sense of the majestic scenery that will dominate this journey – on the horizon is the saddle-back shape of Blencathra Mountain to the north, the giant peaks of the Helvelyn range to the north-west and winding eastwards out of view is the high ridge of High Street.

Our destination for today is Ambleside, which means we have some big hills to cross as we head into the heart of The Lakes. The route can vary depending on the group and the weather (that's why we have professional and experienced guides) but our favourite is to take in classics like Boredale Hause, site of a great many magazine photoshoots including What Mountain Bike covers and the set for our WMB/Adidas/CycleActive skills video ‘descent techniques section’ – for a very good reason! From here we tackle the mighty Kirkstone pass and Jenkins Crag to make for a really exhilarating first day on the bikes. When we roll into Ambleside we will head straight to the guest house, where you've got time for a shower and any bike fettling needed, before we walk into town to sample some great food.

 
  • Guest house location: Ambleside
  • Meals Included: Breakfast
  • Cycling: 43Km

 

 Day 3 Tuesday - Classic Kentmere and Garburn Pass
   
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Today’s ride explores the superb trails located to the east of Ambleside, with us riding a figure of eight loop finishing back in Ambleside, where we spend another night. The region we’re heading into is the Kentmere Valley, a place of open, sweeping trails made technically demanding by huge boulder fields, rocky slabs, and loose fist sized rocks that skate beneath your wheels as you tear through the turns. But that’s not all – the rests come of rolling grassy singletracks and a few ‘man-made’ type trails that are paths repaired by local charity Fix-the-Fells.

The real classic of the day, though, is Garburn Pass, voted by Mountain Bike Rider magazine as one of the top 10 descents in the whole of Britain. The climb to the summit is managed through a series of linking trails that seem not-too-technical, but at the summit you have to enjoy the views because a few seconds later your eyes will be glued to the trail. This route has many other superb, flowing, fast sections on it and there are options we can explore depending on time, weather and how people are feeling – also there are quick on-road shortcuts back to Ambleside if anyone is feeling tired. The plan, though, is to enjoy another great day of riding with the group and be back in Ambleside for a late afternoon cuppa before cleaning off the bikes, freshening up, and getting out to sample more great local food and drink.

 
  • Guest house location: Ambleside
  • Meals Included: Breakfast
  • Cycling: 40Km

 

 Day 4 Wednesday - Quarries, forests and speed records
   
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Today we blaze through the best trails in the central lakes, never going too high or crossing any major passes but instead focussing on fast, flowing, mid-altitude tracks. It’s still a challenging day with loads of singletrack and rocky bridleways to keep you entertained. Once we have negotiated the single track which hugs the side of Loughrigg, we head into the slate quarries, riding past Hodge Close and Catherdal Cavern, two remarkable and beautiful water-filled caves. Your guide will then pick a route through Grisdale Forest, riding the best bits of the man made bike routes and technical bridleways that cut through the trees and give us some great views towards the sea. Once on the ridgeline we can look down on Coniston Water, famed for Donald Campbell’s attempt at the World Water Speed Record in The Bluebird in 1967, and behind the lake and the sleepy Lakeland village that shares its name, rises the impressive peak of Coniston Old Man. Our ride ends as we drop to the south on the final breath-taking descent of the day. Home for the night will be in one of Coniston's superb country pubs, sampling the local ales and seasonal menus.

 
  • Guest house location: Coniston
  • Meals Included: Breakfast
  • Cycling: 43Km

 

 Day 5 Thursday - Crossing valleys
   
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This next leg of our journey takes us across the Lake District south-north divide, heading north to the market town of Keswick, in the shadow of Skiddaw Mountain.   The route we follows takes us under the craggy peaks of the Old Man of Coniston range, where sheer walls of rocks with waterfalls flowing freely dominate the landscape. Our first destination is the mouth of the Langdale valley with its postcard-perfect landscape. Trying not to be too distracted by the likes of Gimmer Crag and Bowfell towering overhead, we ride up the Cumbria Way to the valley head. The ascent of Stake Pass is certainly a challenge and with bikes thrown on shoulders for a section of hike-a-bike height is quickly gained: don’t forget to look back occasionally to admire the epic view. The descent will test your new found Lake District skill set with a 260m drop in under 1km. With the high mountain passes behind us for the day, we find ourselves on the last half of the Borrowdale ‘Bash’ heading towards Keswick. This classic ride is a local favorite, due to its intoxicating combination of flowing singletrack and rocky descents.

 
  • Guest house location: Keswick
  • Meals Included: Breakfast
  • Cycling: 45Km

 

 Day 6 Friday – Through the Northern Peaks
   
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For the final day on the bikes we have several great options available, all bringing us back into Penrith where we started on Sunday night. The mighty summit of Skiddaw can be tackled if people still have the legs for it, and mother-nature allows us a weather window. Alternatively we can cut in between the peaks of Skiddaw and Blencathra, traversing hill sides and descending the open valleys heading to the east.

With the mountains to our backs you will know the end of five incredible biking days is almost coming to a close. Once we reach Penrith you will have time to relax and enjoy a drink to celebrate the achievement of completing a Lakes Epic. If your body is needing a bit of TLC we can point you in the direction of a local remedial masseuse who knows all about mountain bikers, or you can just head home to relax and admire your photos!

 
  • Guest house location: Not included in the tour, but extra nights can be reserved on request, for either this night alone or for a weekend stay.
  • Meals Included: Breakfast
  • Cycling: 45Km

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FURTHER TRAVEL INFORMATION
   
Accommodation on tour 
The price you pay for your holiday includes all accommodation, staying in a mixture of good guesthouses and friendly, small hotels or country inns - all carefully selected by us. The accommodation is based on two people sharing each room, and includes a large English breakfast each morning. If you wish to have sole occupancy of a room for the whole tour a supplement will be payable. Please see the website for the cost of single occupancy.
  
Cycling Support 
Throughout the ride you’ll only need to carry the clothing, equipment and sometimes food you need each day as our vehicle will move your main bag on from point to point. However please note that the vehicle moving bags is not a rescue or backup vehicle and this is not part of the service on this tour – the whole idea behind the Epic is that it is a self-powered loop, except in the most extreme circumstances where assistance is vital, in which case your guides will take whatever steps are needed.
    
The guide leading this tour will always be a highly experienced, qualified leader and instructor, with a Mountain Leader qualification in addition to the top level MBLA Mountain Bike Leader qualification. They will also be an expert in the local trails and terrain, know how to avoid problems, fix bikes and get local assistance if needed. However, some bike problems are not easy to fix on a ride and for this reason we suggest that you bring a bike that is in good working order. Our guide will travel with a fairly comprehensive toolkit and selection of spares, and you can put your own items in your bags to travel with you from night to night too. If necessary there are bike shops along the way, which can help with major repairs.
  
Cycle Rental
If you want to use your own bike for this trip then you are welcome to do so, although we strongly recommend that you go through our pre-tour bike preparation notes with care. If you prefer to rent, we offer excellent bikes from Trek. Please call us to discuss bike rental so we can find the right option for you.
  
Clothing and Equipment
On booking, a detailed list of useful and essential items will be sent to you. You must bring your own, properly fitting cycle helmet that must be worn for all cycle rides.
 
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