The Borrowdale Bash is an absolute favourite and a true classic. It has some of the best technical trails the Lakes has to offer, a road climb almost up to Honister Slate Mines, numerous descents that will test the very best and require perfect line choice and an interesting return to Keswick under the shadow of the Cat Bells. It’s a big ride so go prepared but also make sure you enjoy the views from Watendlath, Honister and Castle Crag.
The route starts from Keswick (making it easy to access directly from the A66). Take the road south along the east bank of Derwent Water before taking a left and climbing up the hill to Ashness Bridge past ‘Surprise View’ and continue on towards Watendlath Tarn. Here you’ll take on a tricky but rideable climb that will gain you height quickly giving some some stunning views of Borrowdale Valley. Cross the Ford or footbridge then head up the technical rocky bridleway which is fairly steep but pretty short.
The trail soon levels out between Brund Fell and Yew Crag before dropping down again and becoming much more technical. Birkett’s Leap is often described as the best bridleway in the Lakes. When the path forks keep to the left. This is the time to get loose, line choice is up for grabs, drop offs, rock gardens and huge drainage channels make for an challenging descent to Rosthwaite.
Buzzing from the descent it’s time to hit the valley road to Seatoller and start the gruelling climb up Honister Pass. It is a great challenge.
Close to the summit keep an eye out on your right for an obvious gravel bridleway that turns back on itself. Take a welcome break first, enjoy the views, then take this trail. Be aware it forks to the left after a little way and the small sign is easy to miss.
You’re then treated to some flowing semi-technical trails. The views are amazing too. The route flanks High Scawdel before crossing Tongue Gill. From there you will join the Allerdale Ramble, flanking Low Scawdel, before descending down past Castle Crag. The final descent to Grange village is absolutely superb, rocky, technical and fast. Speed is your friend here but please watch out for walkers as it’s a popular hiking route.
Once in Grange, take a left and head up the valley on the road. You’ll eventually see a bridleway climbing left up the side of Catbells. Take this undulating trail and basically follow it until it brings you back almost into Keswick. The last section of the trail is super fast so you’re sure to end the ride with a smile on your face.