Lake District bikepacking

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  • Lake District bikepacking
  • Premier Icon simon1975
    Subscriber

    I wouldn’t like to sleep out without a sleeping bag… I more often don’t bother with the bivvy bag unless it’s likely to rain, because it just isn’t breathable (so I just use it as a groundsheet).

    A decent sleeping mat is vital to keep warm; self-inflating ones are miles better than foam.

    It’s supposed to be easy to ride up onto Grisedale Pike from Whinlatter but I’ve not done it myself.

    Not bivvied on Hellvellyn itself, but have done near Grisedale Tarn which is popular for camping.

    padkinson
    Member

    Got a few days of bikepacking in the Lakes planned for July, and having never done anything like this before, looking for a few tips and route advice.

    We’re pretty set on going up Helvellyn at some point, but I’m not sure whether to head North from there to Ullswater and Keswick, it seems like bridleways are a bit further between up there? I’ve ridden a lot in the South Lakes from Ambleside, but never really ventured further North, anything that’s a ‘must ride’?

    For Helvellyn, what would be the best side to come up/down with loaded up bikes? We’re both elite cat XC racers so wouldn’t normally worry about fitness/tech but I’m guessing it’ll be a different story with the bikepacking gear on board.

    Does anyone know of any routes going up into the fells from Whinlatter, and if these would be any good? I was thinking along the lines of the South loop climb at the trail centre being a nice easy way to gain height, is there anywhere worth going from there?

    Kit: current plan, seeing as it should *touch wood* be fairly warm, is a cheap bivvy bag, foam mat, and sleeping bag. Would it be a reasonable idea to ditch the sleeping bag and just wear some fleecy things in the bag?

    I don’t really fancy spending heaps on frame bags for 4 days of the year, sp I’ve got hold of a load of cheap dry-bags and straps, and just plan to strap them to the frame, terrible idea or reasonable?

    Any other tips/thoughts welcome

    Premier Icon blastit
    Subscriber

    Kit, get a good bivvy bag as it amazing how much you sweat at night.
    Always remember mate brought a mountain warehouse bag , he tipped the water out the next morning look like he had peed himself. How we laughed 😀
    Never had a problem with moisture with my not much more expensive Alpkit one. Coupled with a Tesco lightweight sleeping bag £25 and Karrimor air bed mat £15. If the sleeping bag is a bit crap you can leave clothes on etc to stay warm and if the mat is rubbish you can find a softer area to sleep but its hard to make a Bivvy bag breath more when its raining/damp.
    Ex Army Gortex bags can be had for not much £££

    jekkyl
    Member

    The easiest way up Helvellyn would be the standard way up past the yha and up keppel cove, you’ll be pushing at points but it’ll be on a hard pack path and won’t be over rocks, at least not at that section.

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    Does anyone know of any routes going up into the fells from Whinlatter, and if these would be any good? I was thinking along the lines of the South loop climb at the trail centre being a nice easy way to gain height, is there anywhere worth going from there?

    There’s a thin path leading away from the high point of the south loop heading onto the ridge of Grizedale Pike. Some pushing on the ridge will be involved! Not sure the ‘normal’ route down off Whiteless Pike will be that enjoyable fully loaded. But if you search for Whiteless Pike and Rigg Beck MTB on youtube you’ll see the kind of terrain involved.

    Premier Icon TomB
    Subscriber

    If it’s really dry, the old school xc way up helvellyn is via the dodds from the matterdale end of the old coach Road. Can be a slog but you sound fit, and a lot of it is rideable. Alternative as mentioned is the zig zags on to raise from keppel Cove.

    Easy (relatively) height gain for mountain access: grisedale pike from whinlatter south, blease fell / Blencathra from threlkeld, stake pass from langstrath in to the central fells, dale head from honister. All require pushing but can avoid carrying. Obvs not all are BWs!

    padkinson
    Member

    Duly noted about the bivvy bag. I’ll give it a test run somewhere close to home to suss out how sweaty I’m going to be and go from there!

    Looking at maps, I think the best bet is to stay south of Keswick tbh, plus I know the area better so less potential for getting lost! I’ve heard good things about Nan Bield, and never ridden it so might head out that way. Is it better North to South or S-N?

    Premier Icon crazy-legs
    Subscriber

    I’ve heard good things about Nan Bield, and never ridden it so might head out that way. Is it better North to South or S-N?

    Head south!!
    It’s a push/carry up from Haweswater > Small Water > summit but then a lovely long (quite technical in places) descent south down to Kentmere.
    If you go north, it’s a long draggy climb / push to the summit and then still a push/carry DOWN to Small Water.

    For bikepacking in the lakes why not have a look at the southlakes 100 route (jennride) Or the lakes 200 route. The 200 is fully epic with lots of hike-a-bike but you could look at some of the route and make a shorter version with less hiking.

    Premier Icon simon1975
    Subscriber

    I rode down Nan Bield to have breakfast at Staveley last year after spending a night up there – there’s loads of empty space for a fantastic bivvy with great views from the High Street ridge or Yoke. It can be a bit exposed, though!

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Does anyone know of any routes going up into the fells from Whinlatter, and if these would be any good? I was thinking along the lines of the South loop climb at the trail centre being a nice easy way to gain height, is there anywhere worth going from there?

    It’s a scramble to the top with a minimum shove, but most of the time a carry up, it’s not something I’d want to take a laden bike up. You can go up the valley to the left, can’t remember if it’s all rideable, it’s a slog though.

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