From Ashness landing head south down the Borrowdale valley following the road to Seatoller. This is a relaxed undulating section to get the legs turning. Passing through Seatoller you start very suddenly up Honister Pass, your first official top and the second steepest climb. This is very steep through the trees but backs off as you come out of the trees and over the cattle grid. It is then a steady climb to the summit. Over the top it is immediately very steep and part way down there is a chicane over a bridge where you can easily come to grief if carrying too much speed. Thereafter it is a good fast run off down to the Buttermere valley. Should you spare the time to glance around you may notice that this is possibly the most beautiful place in the country!
Approaching Buttermere village you turn R up Newlands Pass towards Braithwaite and Keswick. This, the second top, is a fairly steady gradient with the middle section the easiest. For added interest there is the false summit thing going on. The top is round a sharp right hand bend. This has a great run off that goes on for miles with a couple of sudden steep hairpins to keep you awake. It is very narrow in parts and you may have to give way or find yourself slowed by cars doing so. Follow this road to Braithwaite keeping left as you come to the village and straight ahead through it, to a small T junction. Turn L up Whinlatter, the third and easiest of the ten tops. Although there are one or two short steepish ramps below the Bassenthwaite view layby, it is a fairly modest gradient from there to the top.
Once again enjoy a long run off, this time down towards Lorton, passing the first L turn sign to Lorton and taking the second L. There is then a L turn, after which you follow round right and straight down through the village to a T junction and take the L turn to Buttermere and Loweswater. When the road forks you go R to Loweswater. There is a short steep descent at Scale Hill then a small climb through Loweswater village followed by a descent to ride along the east side of Loweswater itself. Past the lake you will then ascend Fangs Brow –quite steep but not as scary as its name suggests. At the top go L and follow the road to Lamplugh [with a silent “g”]. At the T junction turn L and loop round the church and down the hill taking the next L, signed Croasdale. Follow this road until you crest a small climb flanked on the right by a haematite mine spoil heap [red heap and red stained road], and take the R turn to Kirkland. At the T junction turn L to Ennerdale Bridge.
In Ennerdale Bridge turn R and then after about 400 metres turn L to head uphill over “Cold Fell” towards Calder Bridge. You may feel this climb should count in some way but it doesn’t so just get over it! – literally. Actually, at the end of the first steep section, just before the cattle grid, on the left, there is a clearing and a great place to have your first stop. This is a bit over one third through the ride. STAGE TWO >> << BACK