Back o' Skiddaw Mountain Bike Route
The route sets off with a decent climb to the old mine workings north of Skiddaw where it delivers a nice descent to Branthwaite, followed by an undulating trail taking you to Peter Head Farm, which marks the start of the stunning Whitewater Dash waterfall climb.
Once the tough climb to the waterfall is dispensed with, it's all downhill for a glorious 7 miles (11km) of fun, all the way back to the start at Mosedale, punctuated only with one short climb up to Skiddaw House.
Keep to the same track for around 3km (2mi) as it winds it's way through remnants of disused mines. Leave the doubletrack from here where it's signposted bridleway, dropping down to the right for a fast and fun descent. Turn right onto the doubletrack at the end of this section and then almost immediately left, through the gate, and onto the road into the hamlet of Fell Side.
There's a few miles of road from here. Take a left at the T junction in Fell Side and keep to the road. After a couple of km (1.5mi) take the turning on the left, over the bridge with white rails and continue on this road.
You will soon reach a fork, take a left here as the road turns into gravel double track and climbs gently. Enjoy the section of trail for about 1.5km (1mi) until it rejoins the road. Keep left and follow the road for about 4km (3mi) until you reach Peter House Farm. Towards the end of this section, if you look left, you can see the Whitewater Dash waterfall and the climb that you're about tackle alongside it.
The turn off is just after the farm and should be fairly easy to spot. There's a small car park next to the gate and a wooden signpost for Skiddaw House. Take this left through the metal gate and begin the ascent. The surface is road at first and passes through several gates. As soon as you can see the waterfall again, head for the track you will be able to see leading up to the top of it.
The climb is actually not as brutal as it seems and you get amazing views. Continue to the top of the falls and over the stream leading into them. You can't help but stop and admire the view from this point! When you're ready to continue the track bears right for the lsat bit of the climb before the fast descent towards and then slow climb Skiddaw House youth hostel.
At Skiddaw House turn left before the gate and head along the edge of the walled-off field. Continue in this direction after the end of the field through a short boggy section leading down to the River Caldew. Cross the footbridge and tackle the short sharp climb opposite. Once the trail tilts downwards it's downhill all the way back to Mosedale. Keep to the trail, have fun, and follow it the 7km (5mi) back to the start.
The UK once had a thriving mining industry. Those days are of course now long gone in this part of the world, but they have left reminders scattered about our landscapes. Evidence of mining is everywhere.