Points of Interest

This page lists the points of interest found in all of our mountain bike routes here at Fat Tyres. These could be mountains, rivers, towns, castles, lakes, even ancient stone circles! If anything takes your fancy on these pages, simply click on the photograph for a list of routes featuring that particular item.

A592 in Glenridding Village

Glenridding is small village at the southern tip of Ullswater, and the northern end of the Kirkstone Pass. Its position makes it the perfect base for attempting one of the many Helvellyn routes.

If you’re staying in the lakes then Gillside Campsite is ideally situated in the shadow of Helvellyn, and the Traveller’s Rest pub serves food and is within stumbling distance of the campsite.

In terms of mountain biking options you have Sticks Pass which climbs into the Helvellyn Range, with a fork left for a more direct route to White Side's summit. Continuing up and over Sticks Pass will drop you down to Legburthwaite in the Thirlmere valley. To the east there are a massive variety of options inlcuding the Ullswater Lakeside Bridleway, the High Street Range and the climb to Boredale Hause which gives access to the Boredale and Bannerdale descents.

Sunset and Fog over the Hole of Horcum

The Hole of Horcum is an impressive glacial feature in the North Yorkshire Moors that looks more like an impact crater at first glance. It is acutally part of the valley formed by Levisham Beck and its glacial predecessors. It is situated on the A169 Whitby to Pickering road where there is also a public carpark, and in summer a food caravan selling refreshments.

There aren't any bridleways that pass through the valley itself but Levisham Moor to its west is crossed by a single bridleway which runs from Saltergate Bank in the north almost to Levisham in the south. This is a well-surfaced, easy-going track and forms part of a few routes.

To the east there are a couple of options. One track, known as Old Wife's Way, crosses Lockton Low Moor before entering Dalby Forest which was the venue for the 2010 mountain bike world cup. Another track heads north-east before descending Saltergate Bank, eventually leading to the RAF base, RAF Flyingdales. This gives access to the many routes on Fylingdales Moor.

Cairn, White Side

White Side is a fell in the Lake District which is part of the Helvellyn mountain range, situated between the Thirlmere and Glenridding valleys. Standing at 863m (2,831ft) above sea level, White Side sits between Raise and Lower Man and forms part of most Helvellyn routes.

Bridleways stretch out in four directions, with the main rocky trail that follows the ridge leading to Raise to the north and Lower Man and Helvellyn itself to the south. The westerly bridleway descends steeply via Brown Crag to the Thirlspot car park on Thirlmere. The eastern trail is also a steep descent dropping into Keppel Cove and leading past the youth hostel and eventually delivering you into Glenridding.

Both north and south directions make fast descents followed by a climb, and in the other direction make for perfectly rideable ascents. The easterly bridleway drops down very steeply for some very technical riding, and as an ascent requires shouldering the bike. The westerly bridleway is fast and steep but should be rideable at a push as a climb too.

Painter - River Brathay

The River Brathay's source is Widdy Gill, which is near Wrynose Pass in the Lake District. It flows east to Little Langdale Tarn, before continuing its journey via Elterwater and its tarn and Skelwith Bridge, eventually replenishing the mighty Windermere.

Bike routes are limited for most of the river with most tracks being footpaths, save for one notable section only recently upgraded to bridleway between Elter Water and Skelwith Bridge. This section follows the river's banks and avoids having to use the narrow with blind corners.

The Derwent is a river in the English Lake District, with its source at Styhead Tarn near Skafell Pike and its mouth at Workington on Cumbria's west coast.

The river meanders down the Borrowdale valley and flows into the southern end of Derwent Water. Exiting near Keswick it then heads west and flows into Bassenthwaite Lake and from there to Workington via the town of Cockermouth.

Mountain bike routes along the Derwent are mostly limited to near its source and the Borrowdale valley. Here is what we have.

The Final Climb to Skiddaw

Skiddaw is a 931m (3,054ft) mountain in the Lake District. It towers over the town of Keswick, dominating its skyline.

Using Keswick as a base opens up plenty of route opportunities on and around Skiddaw, including its summit which is reached by bridleway, making it the second highest legally accessible by bike after Helvellyn. Also on offer are the well known Whitewater Dash waterfall climb or descent and a wealth of routes around the 'back' of Skiddaw, meaning its northern side.

Skiddaw's neighbour, Blencathra, also offers route options and any number of routes can be constructed within this mountain range, taking advantage of all the trails that lead to and from Skiddaw House at its centre.

On the descent from Grisedale Hause to Grisedale Tarn

At the head of the Grisedale valley, Grisedale Tarn nestles between Dollywaggon Pike, Fairfield and Seat Sandal in the Helvellyn range of mountains in the Lake District.

The setting is outstandingly picturesque, a good place for a sandwich stop on one of our routes!

The bridleway that descends Dollywaggon Pike from the north has been upgraded by the fix the fells project to the point that its hardly ridable as descent, and definitely a hike-a-bike route as an ascent. To the south a singletrack bridleway (pictured) heads over Grisedale Hause and flanks the south of Seat Sandal before dropping down into Little Tongue Gill and eventually to Grasmere, and is rideable in both directions. To north east lies the 5.5km (3.5mi) fast descent into Grisedale itself which eventually leads to Ullswater and Patterdale.

Sandwick

Sandwick is a small hamlet on the south-eastern bank of Ullswater between Hallin Fell and Sleet Fell. Due to the healthy amount of bridleways in the area a lot of routes pass through here, including the Ullswater lakeside route and many others:

Bannerdale from Bannerdale Crags

Bannerdale is a valley in the north-eastern Lake District, near to Ullswater, and is part of the High Street range of mountains. Of interest here is the fun singletrack trail descending Beda Fell, from Boredale Hause to Bannerdale. It can be seen in the photo above going from left to right, and can be incorporated into many routes due to the amount of bridleways nearby.

The trails ends at Dale Head where a road continues to Howtown and Sandwick on the shores of Ullswater.

Path junction near Bram Rigg Top, Howgill Fells

Little Dummacks is a fell in the Howgill Fells range, which sits quietly between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. Its big brother, Great Dummacks, sits alongside. Both fells are a short detour from the classic Bowderdale route, but worth it if you're a peak bagger with a list to complete!

North York Moors Railway near Thomason Foss

The North Yorkshire Moors Railway is a popular steam railway and tourist attraction. It runs from Whitby to Pickering with stops at Grosmont, Goathland, Newton Dale, and Levisham on the way. The whole route is contained within the North York Moors National Park.

The train allows bikes (at least, it did when I rode it, it might be worth checking) so can be used as part of a ride, or for the return leg of a one way route.

Keswick

Keswick is a bustling community and self-proclaimed outdoor capital of England in the north of the Lake District. It is a highly popular spot for tourists, owing probably to its proximity to the A66 - one of the main routes into the Lakes.

There are a wealth of pubs, cafes, restaurants and museums to name just a few attractions. There's something for everyone. For the mountain biker, Keswick Bikes offer a very friendly service and stock pretty much anything you might need, they also provide hire bikes for those that don't fancy transporting their own rig halfway across the country.

As a base for mountain biking Keswick is perfect too, it is surrounded by a probably unparalleled amount of excellent mountain biking terrain. You have:

  • NorthSkiddaw, Skiddaw Forest and Lonscale Fell. Some amazing bridleways here, particularly the trail that skirts Lonscale Fell which has a truly alpine feel with a vertical drop off one side.
  • North-east – the mighty Blencathra. There's no legal bike route to the top (I don't think, correct me if I'm wrong) but you can do a circuit of the whole mountain for spectacular views and this route also takes in the Lonscale Fell trail.
  • EastMatterdale Common is packed full of riding opportunities and for those a little fitter, this direction takes you to the Helvellyn ridge (although usually you would begin a Helvellyn ride from a little closer).
  • SouthBorrowdale which again offers ample opportunity for exploring and is famous for the Borrowdale Bash route.
  • WestWhinlatter Forest where you can get your fix of man-made waymarked mountain bike trails.
The Honister Pass

Honsiter Pass is a mountain pass in the Lake District. It carries a road from Borrowdale to Gatesgarthdale and passes between the fells of Dale Head and Grey Knotts. It is well known for its slate mine at the top, which has visitor centre as well as various fell-based activities such as rock climbing and a zip wire.

The pass is most often used by mountain bikers as a road climb giving access to the surrounding fells. A bridleway rises steeply on its south side and climbs Fleetwith Pike before descending just as steeply and eventually ending up at Buttermere. A second rather scenic route leaves the road about half way up the eastern side and follows the contours around Dale Head and High Scawdel before meeting with the Allerdale Ramble and dropping down into Borrowdale via a descent of Castle Crag.

Rampsgill Head

Rampsgill Head is a 792m (2,598ft) fell in the Lake District, the peak of which lies just a few meters from the former roman road bridleway running along the High Street range of mountains.

Bridleways head of in three directions. Heading west drops you past Hayeswater and down Hayeswater Gill to Hartsop and Brothers Water – although the bridleway seemingly disappears before Hayeswater as you descend across a field, but just head for the dam where you can pick it up again easily. South takes the roman road route to the summit of High Street and beyond, eventually reaching Windermere. Finally north also follows the roman road route along the High Street ridge, leading predominently downhill and via some of the Lake District's best singletrack, eventually spitting you out at Pooley Bridge.

There are lots of route options available here but at 792m, be warned, there's a lot of climbing involved!

The west ridge of Arant Haw

Arant Haw is a 605m (1,985ft) fell in the Howgill Fells in the Yorkshire Dales. It is situated about 2km (1.5mi) north of Sedbergh and is reached by the bridleway that begins in the town and climbs the flanks of Winder before reaching Arant Haw’s summit. This then continues to climb in a northerly direction to Calders and The Calf before eventually descending into Bowderdale.

Ridden in the other direction, this makes for a cracking descent. At first it’s a wide gravelly belting descent, then the trail throws a few interesting obstactles at you. All this with a rather exposed drop off one side. This is soon followed by a fast grassy section as you descend Winder, bringing you out on the road to the north-west of Sedburgh.

Grange is a small village in Borrowdale in the Lake District. It sits just off the main road by the picturesque River Derwent, surrounded by impressive mountains including High Spy, Grange Fell and Ashness Fell.

In terms of mountain bike route options, Grange lies on a part of the Cumbria Way that is classified as bridleway, and forms part of many popular routes around here. The Cumbria Way to the north contours Cat Bells' eastern flank, affording stunning panoramas across Derwent Water to Keswick and Skiddaw beyond. Taking a left from this route would take you over Hause Gate, the mountain pass between Maiden Moor and Cat Bells.

South from Grange, also along the Cumbria Way, at first follows the river before climbing onto the flanks of High Spy then High Scawdel. The bridleway eventually comes to an end in this direction as it meets Honister Pass on its eastern side, about 50m below the the high point.

Track Through Heather on Blakey Ridge

Blakey Ridge is a rigg in the North York Moors between the dales of Rosedale and Farndale. The road that runs its length runs north to south between Castleton and Hutton-le-Hole.

The area offers a huge array of mountain biking route options with the main road, as mentioned, running north to south. Then there's the dismantled old mining railway, which meanders across High Blakey Moor to the west, to Bloworth Crossing and beyond. This was once off-limits to mountain bikes but has recently been upgraded to a bridleway. To the east, the same rail route skirts around the head of Rosedale leading past the old mine buildings to Hill Cottages.

Bowderdale in the Howgill Fells

Bowderdale is a dale in the Howgill Fells in Cumbria. It’s head is right on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, close to Cautley Spout and it runs north through the fells to Bowderdale village. A track drops into the dale from the summit of The Calf and descends the steep-sided valley for its entire length of 7km (5mi) on one of the best pieces of singletrack you will find in this country. It’s simply unmissable, if you’ve never rode this then do so now!

Road Bridge at Skelwith Bridge

Skelwith Bridge is a Lake District hamlet between Ambleside and Great Langdale. There are no bridleways to speak of but the quiet road is used to connect up sections of various routes.

The Esk Valley Railway runs across the northern part of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. For the most it follows the route of the River Esk. In all, it links Middlesbrough in the west to Whitby in the east, with plenty of stops along the way.

Of interest to us mountain bikers is the fact that you can take a bike on the train, this opens up a wealth of opportunities, check out the routes listed.

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