Camping in the Lakes district at ‘Sykeside camping ground’, offered the potential for a number of epic mountain bike rides. The campground is located next to Helvellyn, the third highest mountain in the Lakes District, this in mind we had to do the 20km loop to the top of Helvellyn which starts and ends in Glenridding. Helvellyn itself is very steep on the eastern face closest to Glenridding, but quite flat on the backside. This allows mountain bikers to do a loop around the back that is not excessively steep; however, be warned that there is still a fair amount of “hike-a-bike” action. We did the route anticlockwise, as shown on the map at the end of this post. The first quarter is easily bike-able through a number of paddocks, there are a load of gates to open & close . The track then changes to a series of large steps for the second quarter which is almost exclusively hike-a-bike territory. Once you reach top side after the Grisdale Tarn the last half is very bike-able back into Glenridding. The decent down is amazing, view of the green beautiful meadows & as you get closer to the bottom a view through the valley into Glenridding. The track takes you down through the back of the town too which is super cool. There is an old lead mine on the way back to Glenridding that has been turned into a YHA. It would be a pretty cool spot to stay & commence the bike ride or hike!
Note if you did the loop clockwise you would be able to bike the whole way; however, the decent would be very technical (lots of large rocks and steps to ride over) and you would want to be a fairly competent rider!
Also, keep in mind, if you do not have mountain bikes, the track is a great hike. You can walk the track up to Helvellyn it would be best to complete this in the opposite direction to the mountain bike track. A possible scramble up the side of Helvellyn facing Glenridding that would be epic!
Planning our route around Helvellyn
The track starts along a road that turns into a farm track
An old shearing shed sort of building
And the “Hike-a-bike” started….
This hut was restored by the local Outward Bound School and dedicated to two of the Tutors who died on Aoraki (Mount Cook)
The Grisdale Tarn
The view from the top!
‘Geoff’, we met him at the top, he was a local and was up on Helvellyn for the day searching for an abandoned lead mine that had been washed out by floods the previous year. He love his mines & knew of ones worldwide (NZ in particular).
Here is the details of the track, enjoy!
We used Viewranger to to track our route, it’s a great App for both finding tracks and creating your own!