Nan Bield Loop

This is a tidy little loop without any add-ons. Still not one to be taken lightly, but you might not need as many cakes from Wilfs café or More bakery as bigger rides like the Stavelely 3 Passes & Staveley & Nan Beild.

Start the ride at the little Sadgill at the end of Longsleddale valley. There’s enough room for 5 or 6 cars here but get there early it’s a popular spot with walkers. Ride up the rest of the valley heading for Gatesgarth Pass. This is a steady climb to start with but quickly turns into a tough series of cobbled zig-zags. Once you’ve summited the Pass (and yes, I’ve seen people clean it) you head straight on through a couple of gates to the start of some amazing switchbacks all the way down to Haweswater. This is a superb trail with stunning views.

At the junction at the bottom turn left and start climbing towards the waterfall, up the left hand side of the valley. This is the start of the Nan Bield Pass climb, a long technical hike-a-bike. You’ll hike past Small Water about half way up, then it gets serious. Near the top the trail heads left before turning right and reaching a stone shelter and junction in the saddle on the ridge, a good place to stop and regain some energy for the descent.

The descent starts with some steep, technical and very loose switchbacks. This leads on to a great section of boulder covered singletrack that traverses the side of the fell above Kentmere reservoir, on the right. Just sit back and enjoy the next hour or so because the gradual descent has a little bit of everything. It will eventually spit you out at a large farm before you get to Kentmere village. Here you make a left turn and follow this wide but varied byway over the tops and back where you started in Sadgill.

One of the Lake District’s hidden gems, the carry is arduous but the rewards are more than worth it.