Alston to Kirkland route

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  • Alston to Kirkland route
  • benjag
    Member

    Any-one know if the route from Alston to Kirkland via Black band/Skirwith fell and back via Maiden way is rideable?

    Alston to Kirkland I've ridden. No problems. It's double track all the way to Greg's Hut, just a relentless gradient. From there it's a bit indistinct over the top of the moor until you get to the bothy, then more good doubletrack all the way down. No problems at all, even in poor weather. Can't help with the Maiden Way but, never been there.

    benjag
    Member

    cheers dude.

    The corpse road (ie the main track up form Garrigill towards Cross Fell passing Greg's Hut etc…) is easy navigation unless low visibility and snow cover- in those conditions make sure you know what you are doing (they used to lose coffins up here in winter storms at this time of year and not get them out of the drifts till May). That said it's wide double track all the way. Few options for the descent which are the highlight.

    Maiden's Way takes a bit of navigation to locate a route when exiting the Eden valley. The way is grassy (fields) lower down, then tussock-covered rocks and bog up top. Historically, it has some interest as a roman road and for mining remains etc. Plant and bird lovers may like it in the spring. Under heavy snow it has some potential for skiing into the higher areas on. At this time of year though I wouldn't bother unless it's very heavy frost. The descent that is obvious on the OS and visible from Hartside is not as good as it looks- fairly short and gravelly.: over very quickly and no technical interest. In fact, I don't really rate Maiden's way at all for biking in either direction, almost always boggy and cut up in places, though if it's hard frozen it's possibly worth a trip. Just my opinion though, I've ridden plenty round here and others may disagree.

    benjag
    Member

    Right, I'm up at the Alston YHA for a climbing club meet at the end of Nov, I don't climb anymore and just go for the craic, so please recommend a decent day loop in the vicinity.

    ta!

    OK, 2 quick options for you (well they're longish rides- not that long, but for short days and not fast ground they're an ok length).

    1. Alston- Nenthead on road. Over Flinty fell, turn left, drop down to Tyne, up towards confluence of the Tyne and Tees, climb up to Great Dun fell (this bit will be a nightmare if wet and is the worst bit of the ride- avoid if you don't like mud, river crossings etc (the track hangs over the river, or used to, it has now largely been eroded into the flow itself, leaving river or bog as options in some places). Off the tops on a variety of descents of your choosing, over the corpse road to Garrigill and road to Alston.

    2. Alston- Garrigill on road. Up Cross Fell, down into Eden Valley. North through Melmerby, then east up Byways and bridleways towards Hartside summit. Down the road for a couple of k, Left on an obvious track on a corner for an off-road descent that brings you out near where you start.

    2 is probably better for most people and wet conditions. 1 is good if you get a good cold spell, otherwise probably give it a miss. Whatever you do, avoid biking the blanket bog that is the bridleway marked on the OS that splits off the coach road and circuits around to join the pennine way to the south of CrossFell- non existent in places, always saturated if not under snow. It looks a tempting loop on the map, but if tempted its's always regretted. All the descents to the west are better than those to the east and north- much bigger drop, and steeper.

    benjag
    Member

    cheers Crouch.

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