Rocks and roots

Gatesgarth and Nan Bield Passes

So, I have a bit of a history with this route. But I still think it culminates in the best natural trail in the UK. Start in Kentmere, Lonsleedale or Mardale Head. From Kentmere head east from Stile End to Sadgill. Although this is just the warm up on any other route it would be the highlight. Then there's a long slog up and over Gatesgarth to Mardale Head. This isn't quite as good, as Rich put it "how can doubletrack be this hard?" with lots of loose stuff and unhelpfully placed drainage ditches.

The push up to Nan Bield is pretty brutal. The first half is just about pushable (and Rich rode most of it down while I pushed up slowly....). Beyond Small Water it is brutal - real hike-a-bike. If you're a nutter it does go but even these guys weren't on the actual trail. However, it is all worth it. The first section is all rideable switchbacks - tricky but fun. There's a middle section with just enough to keep you on your toes, then it steepends again at the bottom. Just watch out for the big drop off! .....

Rating: 4, "Among the best riding in the UK".
Added: 2014-01-26 , Last updated: 2014-03-15
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