3 passes route on Saturday – do or avoid?

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  • 3 passes route on Saturday – do or avoid?
  • qtip
    Member

    I recently posted on here to ask about routes in the Lakes, my only previous Lakes experience being Whinlatter trail centre. Based on the responses and some other threads I’d decided on the 3 Passes route that STW did a while back:

    The ‘very hard’ one

    I’ll be doing it on Saturday. Saturday’s weather is looking reasonable, but the run-up to the weekend is looking pretty wet and windy. What’s the STW consensus – do it and it will be fine, or look for a lower-level alternative? I’ll be riding solo, so a little wary of non-ideal conditions.

    qtip
    Member

    Bump for the afternoon crowd

    elliptic
    Member

    Why not wait until Saturday morning and see what the weather’s actually like? Plenty of low level options in the south Lakes if its slow clearing, and no need to make a final decision until you’ve finished your breakfast at Wilfs.

    grum
    Member

    What he said.

    Although….

    I’m not sure what other experience you have but you’ve picked a reasonable challenge for your first non-trail centre route in the Lakes – have you ridden much outside trail centres elsewhere? Not meaning to patronise you but I’m not sure that’s what I’d pick to do first, on my own.

    Iron Keld/Loughrigg Terrace route or something around Grizedale/Claife Heights are great intros to the LD BWs IMO.

    Premier Icon chakaping
    Subscriber

    Are you used to being out in the hills and self-sufficient? Comfortable riding rocky trails?

    If so I wouldn’t worry, it’s still relatively low level compared to some Lakes routes. There might be some boggy sections on the flatter bottom bit of the nan bield descent but I can’t think of any other problems caused by poor weather beforehand.

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    aslong as weather is ok on the day you should be fine, you’ll just get a soggy arse/feet riding round smallthwaite knott, rest will be reet.

    If it’s low cloud and reduced visibility I’d advise against it. It’s not a difficult route to navigate but on your own and from what you’ve said you don’t sound very experienced, not ideal.

    Usual precautions, take suitable clothing, make sure someone knows where you’re going etc etc

    Junkyard
    Member

    Dont listen to him on advice about suitable clothing 😉

    PS the afternoon was **** glorious and I spent it sunbathing
    A day of two halves
    That is all pretty clear on the ground and I would expect it to be the full 6 hours – not all riding
    Personally i would do the Nan bield bit then see if you wanted to do Garburn- I would also go across Harter Fell [ FP] as its a better descent and it saves on a hike a bike back up to Nan Bield

    OP when are you doing it as tempted

    qtip
    Member

    Riding experience is not the issue, just not familiar with the Lakes so don’t know how the weather in the run up to the weekend will affect the trails. Also found conflicting reports on the web – some seem to suggest it’s a sunny weather route only, others seem to have no bother in strong winds and rain. All down to experience I guess. I’ve got plenty of experience of riding and navigating in the Peaks, so rocky trails, non-waymarked routes, and poor weather/ground conditions aren’t an issue.

    My normal weekend ride is generally around the 40km mark with 1000-1500m climbing, so I don’t think the ride is beyond me, although it will be tough. I appreciate the distance and elevation don’t tell the whole story, and realise that the hike-a-bike nature of this ride will dramatically increase the amount of time and effort required.

    @Junkyard – aiming for an earlyish start on Saturday, but not sure of exact timings as yet. Will be driving to start from Grange-over-Sands area.

    grum
    Member

    qtip – no worries, just checking! Thought this might be your first trip outside a trail centre. 🙂

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    ah right, go for it then. Lakes riding is generally fairly weather proof but I tend to stay lower down when it’s wet n windy (or more likely stay closer to home) the higher up you go the more technical it gets, less traction and wind blowing you off line obviously isn’t great combo for tech riding. Coming off helvellyn in <15ft visibility on wet rocks yesterday was a bit nervy (forecast was somewhat optimistic)

    grum
    Member

    I’m with D0NK though – sounds like you’ll be fine with the route but it just might not be the most fun conditions to do it in. There’s some really brilliant riding lower down too (all miles better than the Peak District 😛 )

    qtip
    Member

    Cheers guys. Any suggestions for a good route if the weather’s not looking great? Will be based in Grange-over-Sands but happy to drive up to 90 min.

    jambalaya
    Member

    @grum’s suggestions of Loughrigg or Grizedale are the one’s for so-so weather IMO. I’ve been in Grizedale in bad weather and the tree cover helps vs being on high ground with zero viz which can be quite dangerous

    Junkyard
    Member

    OP YGM as I have a pass out that day

    qwerty
    Member

    Awesome route. Holds up to weather well.

    Pics taken by the washer of slugs:

    [/url]DSC_0360 by Richard Lowerson, on Flickr[/img]

    [/url]L1160693 by Richard Lowerson, on Flickr[/img]

    [/url]L1160670 by Richard Lowerson, on Flickr[/img]

    [/url]L1160684 by Richard Lowerson, on Flickr[/img]

    [/url]L1160700 by Richard Lowerson, on Flickr[/img]

    Premier Icon lowey
    Subscriber

    If you look really carefully on that last pic, you can see half of Junkyards face on the big rock bottom left.

    Junkyard
    Member

    It was not that rock and there would be much more blood than that 😳

    I actually have a video of me riding the rock/corner I crashed on [ after a refusal] that DONK did and then me jumping about excitedly as a result.

    I have ridden Nan Bield twice since the big off.

    I was a mess though but hey chicks dig scars

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    *checks* yes, I have that video here….tempted to post.

    Junkyard
    Member

    Please dont …really please dont.

    OP – how did it go?

    And gwerty – what is the route in the photos please?

    I have some work in Carlisle and am hoping to get a bike trip out of it…

    qtip
    Member

    Had to postpone

    qtip
    Member

    After having to bail on this ride on Saturday due to a tweaked calf muscle, I woke up this morning with my leg feeling fine and the sun shining. So, instead of leaving the Lakes and heading home as planned, I decided to bunk off work for the day and hit the hills.

    I did the route I linked to in the OP, with a couple of changes. Following the recommendations of Junkyard (with whom I was supposed to do the ride on Saturday), I started from Kentmere rather than Staveley, thus doing the Nan Bield loop before the Garburn one. I also went across Harter Fell, missing out the supposedly dull Gatescarth descent followed by the Nan Bield north side hike-a-bike. As Junkyard pointed out, starting from Kentmere makes sense as you are fresher for the sections of the ride where things could potentially go badly wrong due to the exposure (i.e. Harter Fell and Nan Bield).

    The whole ride took around 4 hours. Significantly less than I was expecting from various reports, and certainly not the ‘epic’ ride that some make it out to be. Having said that, I can see that the hike-a-bike up Nan Bield could add a lot of time and deplete energy reserves should you choose that option.

    I ended up walking down a few of the more exposed sections of the Harter Fell descent as I didn’t want to take too many risks riding solo and the sharp rocks are a little intimidating. I’d say the majority of it is rideable though (maybe one or two little sections that would be beyond me, but I’m sure some people can clean it).

    The Nan Bield descent was all rideable, although I had a few dabs at the top. I enjoyed it but wouldn’t rush back to do it again. The top techy hairpins bit was fun in its own way, and some bits lower down were great, but I felt that the descent as a whole lacked flow and there were too many inclines and boggy sections that sapped your speed.

    The other half of the figure-of-eight was absolutely fantastic though, with the Garburn Pass descent being the highlight of the ride for me and a great way to finish.

    If I were to go back, I’d skip the Nan Bield part of the loop. Not knowing the area, I don’t know what alternatives are better than Nan Bield for extending the Garburn loop. However, I’d happily just repeat the Garburn loop, it was that good IMO.

    fizik
    Member

    I dont understand why people anyone would think Gatesgarth is dull dropping into Mardale, its as fast as you want to make it (even better in ice/snow) fairly loose and flowy if you like wide open high speed blasting – the climb back up Nan Bield is fun if you enjoy that kind of exertion, the drop down the grass after the long flat section at the bottom of Nan Bield has a few little drops that can catch out cold/tired arms and hands but all in its a fantastic ride that got much better when I got my on one codeine, done 4 times now.

    Thanks for that OP. I’m trying to line up a route that’s not too tricky for navigation or stupidly unwise for a solo ride the weekend after next.

    Premier Icon tomaso
    Subscriber

    Its a good day out and even in the rain it would be fine. Least weather proof bit is bottom of Kentmere from Nan Bield where a good mudguard or two will be your best friend.

    On the north side of Nan Bield it can be a different season and always for the worse. As hike a bike goes that side of Nan Bield is quite a rough trail. Its all worth it for the descent.

    The rocks can be quite punishing so tubes patches and a tyre boot for repairs may save your day, especially if you are at Haweswater.

    Alternative route and my preferred way is to turn left at top of Gatesgarth and go over Harter Fell and down to Nan Bield pass.

    Premier Icon tomaso
    Subscriber

    I am not a fan of flowy trails and that is why I like Nan Bield! I think bits of Barter Fell requires more balls skill and commitment than I have! No shame in walking when an accident would cause so much bother.

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