Whinfell, Borrowdale and Bretherdale
Trail submitted by Andy Slattery
Big XC loop with some excellent DH Start Point - Morrison's Supermarket off A6 in Kendal Map - Landranger 90 & 91
- The first section uses pleasant green lanes N out of Kendal:
From Morrisons take A6 North out of town for 3K to where a 3 lane stretch starts at Garth Row. Turn right steeply uphill (Otter Bank) and left along a green lane (Dry Lane) follow this to a T junction. Go left a few yards then right onto the continuation of the lane across fields to Selside School. At the school continue along lane on right bearing right at a junction. At the end of the lane go left until a bridleway is signposted to the right at the bottom of the hill. Follow bridleway through a ford and up through farmyard to a crossroads. Go straight across the crossroads on the tarmac road towards Grayrigg. Continue across a second crossroads and a further 500m until a tarmac lane leads off to the left. The lane has a metal gate with "Please close the gate" on. (9.5km)
- Killer climb to the top of Whinfell followed by a fast and varied descent into Borrowdale.
Go through the gate and along a steadily increasing gradient to the top at Whinfell transmitter station. After a break to take in spectacular views of the Dales, Lakes and Morecambe Bay head down into Borrowdale from the back of the transmitter compound. The track is initially wet with some deceptively solid looking grass that will probably see somebody heading over the bars without warning. After passing through a gate the track changes to a series of switchback corners with some rock steps. This roller coaster ride comes to an end at the track in the valley bottom. (13.5km)
- A scenic ride up the valley that time forgot before a steep climb out of the valley and a fast grassy descent back to civilisation.
Turn left and head up the valley across the river and up to Low Borrowdale Farm. Through the farmyard and sharp right turn up bridleway which will need some pushing but it's worth it!
At the top of the ridge take care to choose the best route down Roundthwaite Common. Keep left at the col and the track sweeps round to the right down fast grassy slopes until it becomes a stony track leading steeply at the end into Roundthwaite. At the road turn left before climbing up and over a steep tarmac hill on Loups Fell. At the bottom of the hill take a sharp left towards Bretherdale. (21.5km)
- Another stiff climb up the Breasthigh Road before clattering back into Borrowdale.
Follow the road into Bretherdale until you reach a group of houses at Midwath Stead. Turn right and up steep tarmac until a green lane leads off to the left. Follow this track as it countours above the valley before dropping down to the abandoned farms at Bretherdale Head. Carry on down through the buildings and across a bridge before turning right onto the green Lane. This climb starts easily enough but soon steepens to become loose and rutted despite ongoing work to resurface it. If you ride it all then you'll appreciate a rest at the top with more spectacular views. Follow the track down into a series of switchbacks before a blast down into the top of the Borrowdale and a splash though Borrow Beck before climbing steeply out onto the A6. Follow the A6 South for 50m before turning off left onto a green lane underneath the electricity pylons. This is a good descent but don't go into the first corner too fast! At the end of the track turn right onto the tarmac and climb up to Kendal caravans on the A6. (29km)
- The final section links a number of fine bridleways together to finish.
Take the bridleway starting from the S end of the Caravan place up along the wall line. Ride a pleasant, easy gradient track with a repaired surface before blasting down the grass to Thorn Cottage. Turn right and then just before the main road go right along a bridleway which crosses fields at the rear of The Plough Inn. Go straight on at the junction with the lane and then take the next right towards Mosergh Farm. Follow the track to the right before the farmyard and climb easily for 600m or so until a bridleway heads out across fields to the left. The line of the bridleway is a little vague at first but head down and right and it all becomes clear. Go through a gate and then down a steep farm track with slate water bars into Murthwaite Farm in Longsleddale. Turn left along the valley road to Garnett Bridge, right across the bridge then keep left going over the bridge towards Garth Row. In Garth Row take the green lane on the right which is all downhill and enjoyable as a last descent. Continue along the tarmac section to the Burneside Road and turn left before a right turn takes you back through the Industrial estate to the finish at Morrison's. (45.5km)
This route can be cut short in a number of places to give a shorter ride:
Carry on up Borrowdale Valley from Low Borrowdale missing out the Bretherdale loop to meet the route at the A6.
Use the A6 to miss out any or all of the final bridleways.
Small Print: No author nor the editor shall bear any responsibility for any mishap, injury, death or other incident or inconvenience suffered whilst riding any of the routes described. Anybody following any such route does so entirely at their own risk. Anybody wishing to ride on footpaths or other non-permitted routes does so entirely by their own risk.