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Cycling in the Lake District

The Fred Whitton Challenge, week-long tours and day rides

Guidebook to the Fred Whitton Challenge ride (179km/112 miles over 7 iconic passes) and an alternative 5-day tour of the Lake District, plus 15 tough day rides from Keswick, Ambleside, Penrith and bases to the southwest and southeast of the National Park, taking in the best of the area's road cycling.


The best time to go touring in the Lake District is between April and October, when the days are longer and the weather is at its best. But even then, you will undoubtedly get wet and experience blustery days. So be prepared for them. As a general rule always plan your route so that you are riding south to north with the prevailing south westerly winds.


Ambleside, Grasmere, Troutbeck, Shap, Penrith, Stainton, Keswick, Cockermouth, Eskdale Green, Ravenglass, Broughton in Furness, Grizedale, Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands, Bassenthwaite, Buttermere


Each tour stage and day ride and is graded on two criteria: distance with rides categorised as short, medium or long, and total ascent with rides categorised as easy, moderate, hard or challenging. Easy - smooth pedalling with gentle inclines Moderate - undulating with an occasional steady climb, but nothing to get you out of the saddle Hard - involves some hard climbs with gradients up to 10 per cent Challenging - long steep ascents or multiple short sharp gradients that will most definitely hurt. Inevitably, the majority of rides fall into the latter categories.

Must See

Incredible scenery and rare wildlife - the Lake District is England's largest national park; local craft breweries; local foods; Kirkstone Pass; Hardknott Pass; the impressive panorama of Yewbarrow, Kirkfell, Great Gable and Scafell Pike from Wasdale Head
18 Mar 2024
17.20 x 11.60 x 1.25cm

Guidebook to the 179km/112 mile Fred Whitton Challenge ride, plus a 5-day cycle tour and 15 challenging day rides through the Lake District. Exploring the beautiful scenery of the national park, the routes are suitable for cyclists with a good level of fitness and are perfect for cycling from April through October.

  • Full logistical information, advice and tips for taking on the Fred Whitton Challenge
  • Day rides range from 31 to 68km (19–42 miles), with difficulty from moderate to challenging
  • A 5-day cycle tour of the Lake District taking in dales, lakes and passes
  • Key centres include Ambleside, Grasmere, Troutbeck, Shap, Penrith, Stainton, Keswick, Cockermouth, Eskdale Green, Ravenglass, Broughton in Furness, Grizedale, Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands, Bassenthwaite and Buttermere
  • 1:100,000 or 1:200,000 mapping and elevation profile included for each route
  • GPX files available to download

Table of Contents
Richard Barrett Cicerone author BARRETT

By Richard Barrett

Richard Barrett spent his working life as a professional marketer, but still found time for climbing, winter mountaineering and sea kayaking. He first visited the Harris hills as a teenager and became a regular visitor. He lived in North Harris for a number of years, where he and his wife ran a guest house and, although now a city-dweller, he still makes frequent forays to the Hebrides, reconnecting with the wilderness and catching up with old friends.

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