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Skiddaw Forest Crossing, Lake District.

Skiddaw Forest Crossing, Lake District. This superb route offers remote scenery, and reasonable riding along bridleways and tracks. Ideally you need to be met at the end of your ride although it can be made into a circuit.
Route Facts
  • Distance - nine miles (14 kilometres)
  • Start GR 281253 (OS map sheet 90)
  • Finish GR 357323 (OS map sheet 90)
  • Technical grade of ride - II
  • Effort grade - II
  • Route finding - I

  • Grades are on a scale of one to five and are subjective, most routes with a grades of one or two are suitable for beginners. The ideal starting point for this ride is the end of the steep road above Ormathwite, just NE of Keswick. This allows you to start at an altitude of over 1000 feet. Get someone to drop you off and pick you up at the other end if you can


    Follow the Bridleway from the lane end , either between the fences or just in the field if you want to avoid the stiles and use the gates instead. This leads NE to the bottom of the track that heads to the summit of Skidaw, but carry on traversing at this point, round into a short valley, dropping to a stream crossing before doubling back and out again on to the open hillside. Here superb views across to the Helvellyn range can be enjoyed on a clear day.

    The track gradually climbs before cutting back sharply into the Glenderatta valley. Some technical riding on this bit, but care must be taken as a fall over the edge could be very serious. You are strongly advised to push some of this section. Look out for buzzards on the crags high above you. The narrow track now hugs the steep hillside in a spectacular position, before more gentle terrain and a rocky descent to the head of the valley. Here, in bad weather, a quick escape route can be taken down on the other side of the valley, leading out to Threlkeld. Otherwise carry on up a gentle climb until Skidaw House comes into view. The last section leading up to this remote old farmhouse (now a Youth Hostel), is fairly steep, but a good test of riding skill. This is an ideal resting place, but beware of the hungry sheep. They will want you to share your lunch with you!

    The way ahead lies to the NE between the smooth outlines of Great Calva and Mungrisedale Common. A good steep grassy descent leads to a bridge with a boggy section at the far side. The final two and a half miles are the most technical with occasional stream crossings and boulders to negotiate (see picture on left). Its mostly down hill though and eventually a short section of Land Rover track leads onto smooth tarmac and a fast final mile and a half to Mungrisedale. If your lucky the cafe in the old friends meeting house will be open, and your transport will be there to pick you up. Otherwise it's a long ride back to Keswick!

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