50 Classic Cycle Climbs: Cumbria and the Lake District - James Allen - E-Book

50 Classic Cycle Climbs: Cumbria and the Lake District E-Book

James Allen

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  • Herausgeber: Crowood
  • Kategorie: Lebensstil
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • Veröffentlichungsjahr: 2016

Riding up hills is the ultimate challange for a cyclist. This guide is a compilation of some of the best hills in Cumbria and the Lake District. It's not just a definitive list of the Top 50 toughest climbs; instead, author James Allen has selected some of the most iconic, thrilling, interesting, varied and, of course, challenging hill climbs that this beautiful region has to offer. There's something for everyone, from the Weekend Warrior to the serious road racer. Just get out there and enjoy the ride! Illustrated with maps, route profiles and photographs.

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Cumbria and the Lake District

James Allen


First published in 2016 by The Crowood Press Ltd Ramsbury, Marlborough Wiltshire SN8 2HR


This e-book first published in 2016

© James Allen 2016

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication DataA catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

ISBN 978 1 78500 125 3

All photographs by James Allen

Frontispiece: Martindale


Overview map

About the author


About the book


South Western Lake District & Periphery

1. Bank House Moor (from Beck Side)

2. Bank House Moor (from Soutergate)

3. Birker Fell

4. Bobbin Mill Hill

5. Corney Fell

6. Gamswell Hill

7. Hardknott Pass (East)

8. Hardknott Pass (West)

Story Box – The Fred Whitton Challenge

9. Kiln Bank

10. Knottallow

11. Ulpha Fell

12. Woodland Hill

13. Wrynose Pass (East)

14. Wrynose Pass (West)

South Eastern Lake District & Periphery

15. Bess Bank

16. Bigland Hill

17. Brigsteer

18. Greyhound Hill

19. Grizedale

20. Gummer’s How

21. Hawkshead Hill

22. Rickettrae

23. Scout Scar

24. Strawberry Bank

25. Tow Top

Northern Lake District

26. Blea Tarn

27. Honister Pass (East)

28. Honister Pass (West)

Story Box – The Battle of the Tour of Britain on Honister

29. Kirkstone Pass (North)

30. Kirkstone Pass (South)

31. Martindale

32. Newlands Hause

33. Red Bank

34. The Struggle

Story Box – Catastrophe before The Struggle

35. Watermillock

36. Whinlatter Pass

Eastern Cumbria (The North Pennines, Howgills & The Dales)

37. Adamthwaite Bank

38. Bull Pot Hill

39. Coal Road (from Dentdale)

40. Coal Road (from Garsdale Head)

41. Coatley Hill

42. Dowgang Hush

43. Fox’s Pulpit

44. Gawthrop Hill

45. Great Dun Fell

46. Killhope Cross

47. Lamps Moss

48. Nunnery Hill

49. Shot Moss

50. White Shaw Moss

Bike shops


James has been interested in the outdoors and fitness from an early age. He started mountain biking as a teenager, but turned to road cycling as an adult to strengthen the leg muscles following a cruciate knee ligament injury. Since then he has taken part in a range of road cycling events including sportives, time trials and road races. However, he has a particular liking for hill climb events due to their purity, but also their severity. He enjoys training and rides around 10,000 miles per year.

In the past James has also been a triathlete and competed at Ironman UK Triathlon in 2008. He has also completed a number of large cycling events on the continent including La Marmotte. James holds a degree in Physical Education and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Sport and Exercise Science. Finally, and most importantly, he is a father and devoted husband.


To all the fellow cyclists who have tolerated me shoving a camera in their face as they toil up the steepest of gradients, I thank you. I have often sat for an hour or so, often in vain, awaiting a rider to snap in the hope of adding life to my photos. When someone does arrive my trigger finger sometimes goes into overdrive. I hope the final photographs do justice.

My parents have given their usual help in terms of enthusiasm, support and inspiration. During a marathon task such as writing this book (along with a day job, family and racing bikes), I’ve been lucky to have my family there to gee me up when I’ve needed it. My Mum is tirelessly enthusiastic and my Dad is priceless in terms of his feedback on my work. His knowledge and experience has been indispensable. Thanks Mum and Dad.

Writing this book has been surprisingly time consuming. I estimate each climb required five to eight hours work to ride, photograph, describe, edit and undertake background research. It’s almost the same for those that were on the short list but which failed to make the final fifty. My wife has, yet again, been very understanding and stoic in looking after our baby and five-year-old whilst I’ve been off having fun riding up hills or sat in front of my PC. There is no doubt that without her I couldn’t have undertaken the task, both in terms of the logistics and in being sympathetic with my sometimes elevated stress levels. We’ve also had setbacks during the year or so that I’ve been compiling the climbs. Planned family trips to Cumbria have been scuppered by weather and, most upsettingly, when my baby daughter fell off the bed and broke her femur on the morning we were due to set off. However, the enthusiasm and support from my beautiful wife has never wavered. I love you, Jane! This book is for you.


The book is divided by region, starting in the South Western Lake District then running in an anti-clockwise direction and finishing in East Cumbria. The climbs are ordered alphabetically within each region.

Each description starts with a table of facts about the climb, including a difficulty rating out of 10 within the context of the 50 climbs listed in the book. Also included is the address of a local café or tearoom where tired riders can compare their own experience over a tea or coffee and slice of cake.




Av. Gradient


Max. Gradient


Height Gain


Start Point

Beck Side. GR: 235 822 (OS Landranger 96)

Local Cafés

The Coach House Cafè Ford Park, Ulverston, LA12 7JP 01229 581666


The map shows the start and finish point of the climb and the route it follows. We would recommend taking an OS map or a GPS system to help in plotting your route in more detail.

At the end of the book is a list of bike shops in the region, organized regionally. Each bike shop relates to one or more of the climbs so there’ll be one nearby if you’re in need of spares, repairs or just some good local advice.


Cycling in Cumbria is as good as it gets. Challenging gradients and quiet lanes are enveloped by majestic mountains, lakes, woodland and moorland. The hills and mountains provide some of the steepest and most testing climbs in England. The scenery here is truly outstanding which means the area is more popular with tourists, but a day on the bike is a sheer joy.

This book will direct you to the best places to test yourself amongst the stunning hills of Cumbria and the experiences you have riding here will be epic. However, it must be said that the majority of Cumbrian climbs should come with a health warning, perhaps more so than those from most other regions. You must be reasonably fit, determined and prepared. The climbs are arguably by default worth around a half a mark more in terms of difficulty. Many of the climbs here will make you question your ability to reach the top and push you further than you thought a climb could. Your legs will hurt of course, but your hands will slip with sweat and your core will ache due to the enormous effort required to sustain forward momentum. Moreover, the roads that take you to the climbs are themselves undulating at best and will make your legs heavy before you even reach the main test.

It’s essential your bike is in good condition, especially the brakes because the descents are technically challenging and very tiring. Your arms and hands fatigue at an astonishing rate from holding your position and braking. Worn brakes are a serious hazard whilst good tyres will help maintain traction on the descents, which can be greasy with broken surfaces. The roads are also very remote at times so you should take supplies such as inner tubes. Due to the higher risk of your chain snapping, it’s also sensible to take a link remover and spare chain links.

You should also carry spare rations in the form of energy bars or gels, for example. The terrain will make you burn carbohydrate at a far quicker rate than normal so you may well get the hunger knock sooner than you expect. If you are caught out here you could be in serious difficulty. Shops or cafes are few and far between and there are few ‘easy’ routes to take home. The weather is also subject to change rapidly due to the mountainous terrain and westerly location, creating peculiar weather patterns that may surprise you and contradict the general weather forecast. Spare clothing is a necessity. So if you are seeking an extreme cycling challenge, you are guaranteed to find it in the magnificent hills of Cumbria. The climbs here will push you beyond your limits and you’re often completely immersed in a personal battle to reach the top. Yet the climbs are exceptionally rewarding when you do reach the summit. Indeed, to ride here and miss the divine scenery would simply be wrong. So hit the climbs hard and give your all, but don’t forget to pause for a while at the top or on the descents to fully embrace the setting that you’re in. Cycling in Cumbria is pure cycling.

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!