Mountain Biking – June 2011: Keswick

June 2011: MTB Route Keswick

A few weeks ago some friends of mine and myself decided to take two days out and go to Keswick for a good old mountain biking session. We found a very good and cheap YHA hostel in the town and the plan was set in motion. We set off on Friday and arrived in Keswick just over an hour later in the mid afternoon…..

Day 1 – Keswick to Rosthwaite

This was by far the worst route I’ve ever done! Not because its was boring or too hard, no, because it was impossible!

We planned on hitting Whinlatter on the second day, so the first day was primarily a ‘made up’ route. Unfortunately, it was totally unsuitable for biking and we spent much of the time pushing the bikes or carrying them on our backs. We all also suffered from punctures, due to snake bites, at various stages of the route which dampened the experience even further.

The only good parts were seeing Ashness bridge, which is famous for being a fine viewpoint across Borrowdale towards Skiddaw and seeing some beautiful scenery around Derwent water. I made a panorama of Ashness bridge, which you can see here.

Day 2 – Whinlatter

After a night in the YHA, Station Road (well recommended by the way) in Keswick it was off to Whinlatter was by contrast a massive improvement on the previous day! Set in the beautiful Whinlatter forest the site offers a blue grade route and two red grade routes (blue being the easier and red being the more advanced). All routes start and end at the visitors centre where there are facilities as toilets, cafe, bike hire and a car park (pay and display).

I was initially concerned by the amount of traffic at the centre. There were masses of bikes, cars, families, groups of bikes swarming around and I had the thought that the routes might be the same. My fears were soon put the rest however once we started off and got out of the crowds.

Blue route

We hit the blue route first for a ‘bit of a warm up’. As expected the blue route was easy going but still very enjoyable. There is something very unique about flying through a beautiful forest on your bike, with the smell of the pine trees, the fresh breeze in your face  and the adrenalin pumping – pretty awesome. The route kept us mostly within the forest with the odd optional jump.

Runkeeper track of Whinlatter blue route showing elevation and speed

As you can see from the elevation from the blue route the route has a few up’s and down’s but stays well below 1,200 ft. Definitely not one to miss and great to get you into the zone before trying the red routes.

Red (South loop)

The red route, as the rating suggests, was much more technical. Unlike the Blue route there was a big climb soon after leaving the visitors centre which took us up some 1,600 ft.

The climb took us through the forest and then soon rose sharply through an area, on the side of the mountain, where many of the trees had been felled. It looked a bit bleak and I was left feeling a little saddened that the forest had been cut away.

This lead to its own challenges as there were many cut of branches and sapling sticking out of the ground at the side of the path. I had the occasional thought of falling off and being impaled at any moment. Once at the top is was down hill all the way home, which was great fun! Lots of jumps, tight corners and challenges and easily the best route I have done to date.

Photos from the two days


4 Responses to “Mountain Biking – June 2011: Keswick”

  1. Lesley Wallace June 6, 2011 at 07:03 #

    Beautiful weather and fab scenery, but I’ll stick to the roads on my bike!! The only way I’ll experience this is on my 2 legs!!!

    • scrib64 June 6, 2011 at 11:23 #

      There were quite a lot of road bikes out and about as well. Such an great place to experience!


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