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  • Riding the Wainwrights
  • fergal
    Free Member

    Just wondering how many of these Lakes summits make great descents, certainly the northern Lakes/ Skiddaw area seems to be gifted with predominantly ridable natural descents* (footfall or animal tracks*) a plethora of the famed gravely singletrack with the odd rocky feature thrown if you are lucky! being a bit obsessed i tallied up my personal count recently, it’s about sixty summits so far, the criteria is usually a descent that is 99% rideable with only the odd walking section. I would be interested to hear about your’e own exploits in the fells, or any descents you think have real merit or that may well be an unknown quantity.

    mark88
    Full Member

    How many of the 60 would you recommend riding?

    At a guess I’d say I’ve ridden about 15, walked another 40. There’s not many of those 40 I’d bother riding.

    I’ve not done any of the north western ones yet which as you say seems to be where most rideable ones are.

    fergal
    Free Member

    To be honest the majority in the North west Lakes are worth repeating and have done some numerous times, i’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to the quality, the bench mark would be a mix of slow rocky tech and fast flowing singletrack (fix the fells have not been to active in the NW lakes yet!). If i haven’t previously walked it ( i spend a lot of time in the fells) some research checking out fell walking sites or google will find something, usually pics. Some have been real eyeopeners considering they are only known to a select few.

    thenorthwind
    Full Member

    Pretty much what Mark said. I’ve done 184 now (mainly on foot), and there aren’t that many I’d take a bike back too. By all means do it, it’s been done, but if you value the best riding, why not just just ride the ones you’ve walked and think would make good riding? Otherwise you’ll end up doing a lot of pushing for sake of a list.

    thenorthwind
    Full Member

    PS I was researching some routes a while back, and came across a thread on here where someone had asked exactly the same question. Turned out it was me, and I’d forgotten all about it 😄

    fergal
    Free Member

    Well that is the rub if i havent walked it then it’s an unknown entity, all the wainwrights don’t interest me at all. it was just a reference to the Lakeland fells people understand.
    Guess i’m just fishing for ideas in other areas, there is always a list of new places to discover.

    StuF
    Full Member

    I’ve ridden Blackcombe a few times. It’s a slog / push up and then 10mins down from 2000ft to sea level. Not techy

    fergal
    Free Member

    Hey there are a few grassy descents in the Back of Skiddaw area like High pike and Great Scafell, no tech but still
    fast and fun, an hours blast descending into the sunset is all good to me.

    mark88
    Full Member

    Have you done Red Pike down to Buttermere? Looks techy but I think it’ll nearly all be rideable

    stevedoc
    Free Member

    I think last count ive done 42 with the bike, a few more without. Some i wouldn’t go back to others ive done to death.I know thats not as much as most but I love the stuff around Whiteless , Causy Pike and Grasmoor.

    Red pike is one id like to have a play on.

    thegeneralist
    Free Member

    Good thread. I’ve been planning to get loads more of these done as it’s so far to get from Manc to Scotland to do Munros.

    Blencathra west to east was pretty good, but not a patch on Ullock.
    Whiteless, Causey, Grisedale are givens.
    BowFell was a bit rubbish. Just a means to an end. Though I’m keen to know if The Band goes.
    Esk Pike was quite good, though of course the best bit is from Esk Hause.
    Very keen to do Great End for above reason.
    OM Conniston was good northwards, takes in Cairn and Swirl How

    Fairfield and Great Rigg were brilliant descent.
    Red Screes above Ambleside was a bit meh.
    Yoke, Bell, Froswick are brilliant.
    Harter (east) also brilliant.

    Don’t think I’ve done many others ( Helvelyn and High Street with associated tops, obvs)

    stevedoc
    Free Member

    Old Man is a challenge. Id have liked to do a loop inc Weatherlam and finishing back Via Holme fell in Ambleside

    mark88
    Full Member

    OM Conniston was good northwards, takes in Cairn and Swirl How

    Where did you go from Swirl How? Can’t recall much that way looking too interesting

    Red Screes above Ambleside was a bit meh.

    Interesting, I’d heard this was good. Meh in what way?

    Yoke, Bell, Froswick are brilliant.

    Been on my list but haven’t got round to yet. Did you link this into Nan Bield? Or down another way?

    thegeneralist
    Free Member

    Where did you go from Swirl How? Can’t recall much that way looking too interesting

    Wet Side Edge and then Rough Crag. I was on my own and not not hugely pushing it. I’d say it was pretty mellow rather than full on. I reckon you would probably prefer the ( almost) reverse route tbh. Up Wrynose, then up Wet Side, over Swirl How then down the OMC tourist path, which looked mental to me. You done it?

    Red Screes…
    Interesting, I’d heard this was good. Meh in what way?

    We went SSW from the summit. It was a bit damp after a huge dry spell so the few rocky bits were well greasy. But TBH I dibt recall many rocky bits…. just lots of grass. We shuttled up Kirkstone so only had a bit of HaB, but even then it didn’t seem worth the effort. TBF we did Fairfield->Rydal just after, which was a mind blowing descent, so maybe it just suffered by comparison.
    You * must* do Fairfield to Rydal by the way

    Yoke, Bell, Froswick are brilliant.

    Been on my list but haven’t got round to yet. Did you link this into Nan Bield? Or down another way?

    Yep, into Nan Bield. The drop from Ill Bell into NB has a few too many uniform steep steps to be perfect, but is still good ( though not as hard as the Harter Fell Side that we did.

    I think someone on the forum posted about it last week, I’ll see if I can shake them up.

    Oh to be well again 🙁

    justinbieber
    Full Member

    @mark88 – I’ve carried up from Buttermere to Red Pike several times and thought most of it would go, but there are a few awkward looking sections. I’ve always done it the other way – heading south east along the ridge to descend via Scarth Gap. Which reminds me – I haven’t done that for a while, need to head back…


    @thegeneralist
    – I actually enjoyed Bowfell. We mucked about on the slab, then did The Band. To answer your question, it goes very well. Just make sure you turn left early and avoid the farm at the bottom. As for Blencathra, try Doddick Fell next time. It’s a peach of a descent.

    lowey
    Full Member

    Just make sure you turn left early and avoid the farm at the bottom

    Glad its not just me that has felt the wrath of the Stool End farmer.

    thegeneralist
    Free Member

    We mucked about on the slab,

    Ooh, did you manage to get up it? I didn’t quite manage the first bit. Was just a tad damp. Quite scary feeling the front lift…

    then did The Band. To answer your question, it goes very well. Just make sure you turn left early and avoid the farm at the bottom.

    Sounds good, excellent

    As for Blencathra, try Doddick Fell next time. It’s a peach of a descent.

    Righto

    If I can ever get rud of this lurgy it would be great to meet up for a ride at some point.

    justinbieber
    Full Member

    @lowey – I’ve not encountered him, but have been warned to keep well clear.


    @thegeneralist
    – no, didn’t try riding up it, just rolled down it pulling a few (tiny) rolling endos! And yes, a ride sometime would be good

    mark88
    Full Member

    I reckon you would probably prefer the ( almost) reverse route tbh. Up Wrynose, then up Wet Side, over Swirl How then down the OMC tourist path, which looked mental to me. You done it?

    I’ve not ridden round there. I did run down Old Man tourist path a while ago and thought I’d be interested to see how rideable it would be. I think techy but doable. One you’ve tried @justinbieber ?

    justinbieber
    Full Member

    I’ve done Wet Side the other way – from Dow Crag down to Goat’s Hawse then Swirl Band to Swirl How and onto Wet Side Edge and down into Langdale. Was a gloriously dry and dusty summers day, so that probably influences things. Would happily ride it again.

    As for the Old Man, I rode it a few years back (Walna Scar, Dow Crag, OMC, Low Water) and thought it was ace. However I was up there this summer on foot and the top section looked daft. Need to go back and try it again with a bike

    munrobiker
    Free Member

    I’m up to sixtyish. I’ll list my favourites and the ones that I didn’t like-

    Best

    Old Man of Coniston (Walna Scar Rd > Dow Crag > Old Man > Low Water > Church Beck > Dixon Ground)

    Skiddaw via Ullock Pike

    Grisedale Pike is my all time favourite (Braithwaite>Force Crag Mine>Hopegill Head>Grisedale Pike>Sleet How)

    Whiteless Pike (any old way, mix it in with other stuff or do it on its own)

    Blencathra – both ways I’ve tried off this have been good

    St Sunday Crag – a real belter if you descend from the summit to Grisedale Tarn, avoiding going up Fairfield.

    Worst

    Red Pike/High Stile/High Crag – it’s OK, but really it’s a load of slabs and the descent from Scarth Gap isn’t my cup of tea, and the climb is a lot of effort. Lovely spot though.

    Wetherlam Edge – it’s just grass. Really not worth the effort.

    Yoke – as a descent, Yoke to the south isn’t engaging enough. Best done heading north and round to Nan Bield.

    Causey Pike- Good going to the west, but descending to the east involve a few climb downs and doesn’t really go.

    There are others I’ve done that I know won’t be a lot of people’s cup of tea (Thornthwaite Crag, Dale Head) but I enjoyed. I’m lucky in that most of the ones I’ve done have been good and rideable, but I do put in a lot of research first. I’ve only walked a couple – I’m not really into hiking.

    fergal
    Free Member

    A few descents from the ministry of the lesser known variety, a teaser.
    Bowscale – a real surprise, head east just pure joy, beware of the very steep loose chute to finish.
    Atkinson pike – drops straight from the summit into shale switchbacks, with a nice little qualifier into Mousethwaite Combe.
    Skiddaw – via Birkett Edge a nice alternative.
    Mellbreak – Vertical grass surfing leads into Get Knotted, slightly spoiled by a bog garden to finish.
    Gavel – Under the Gavel, singletrack lovers will rejoice at this one.
    Blake – Slowburner with some great switchbacks to finish on High Nooky.
    Ard Crags – airy Ridge traverse, hike up past force moss to a real treat onwards to Buttermere.
    Whiteside – Grin inducing flow in to a white knuckle ride.

    munrobiker
    Free Member

    @fergal – Ard Crags looks good. How techy is it? Assuming you’re going from Buttermere, up the road to Rigg Beck, up the paths marked on the map then down to the road, up to the waterfall and back down to Buttermere?

    Or do you climb along the path following Mill Beck, ford that then plough straight up the north side of the crags?

    munrobiker
    Free Member

    I’ll agree that Atkinson Pike is very, very good too.

    Neb
    Full Member

    I think I’m up to 58 wainwright’s by bike. I’m not really actively seeking them out, think I was a bit bored at work a few months ago and totted them up. I do<span style=”font-size: 0.8rem;”>n’t think I’ve done any that I’d not do again in the right circumstances. </span>

    In terms of off the beaten track..

    Atkinson pike is good, then down on the North side of the glendermackin and back up to mousethwaite comb.

    I really like causey pike, up to the shoulder between sail and scar crags (to top of the rigg beck descent). The scar crags descent is good fun upto causey, bit of a scramble down the first rocky bit of causey then really technical before going flat out.

    Ard crags North (Aikin knott) is the steepest little descent I’ve done in ages, was tempted to divert onto rigg beck, but noticed there is a little fell runners trail off the end. Really really steep..

    High snockrigg is fun and flowy, we did it on a dry evening so Buttermere moss wasnt too moist. Off Dale head and across Little Dale Edge. Worth a go for something different

    Outerside, stile end and barrow also good fun, techy in places and a bit off the beaten track.

    Hindscarth is great until the last bit which involves carrying bike down. Real shame as its great until the end.

    fergal
    Free Member

    @munrobiker Yep Mill beck approach to the col mainly rideable, short carry to Ard crags not overly technical, lots of ambience though, delightful from Snockrigg.


    @Neb
    Outerside and Barrow are superb, have the same outlook just enjoy being in the hills with no intention of doing all the Wainwrights.

    fergal
    Free Member

    @thegeneralist Really enjoyed Red pike above Ambleside, an evening blast with my son as wingman (his nickname is Goose) we had fun.


    @mark88
    Red pike above Buttermere is the classic taking your bike for a walk! not really worth the effort imho.

    thegeneralist
    Free Member

    Really enjoyed Red pikeScrees? above Ambleside,

    FTFY?

    Did a quick Google, which suggested a Red Pike at Buttdale but not at Ambleside.
    Am I being useless?

    fergal
    Free Member

    My mistake Red Screes, to be fair was surprised at the amount of bog and grass present after previously watching a video, of course it only showed the good bits.

    PS. To further confuse things there is another Red Pike above Wasdale!

    Sanny
    Free Member

    Fairfield is an absolute banger. Quite possibly one of my favourites. Whiteless Pike and Grizedale Pike loop is also terrific. I would say Scafell Pike down the Corridor route would be a classic. I walked it with my daughter in 2019 and all at could think of on the way down was “this would go!” Only one awkward but small scramble part way through on the descent.

    Quite fancy the path that heads north west off the back of Skiddaw. Looks fun and flowy.

    High Street? Dear Lord, how can what is a very gradual descent feel like that it is mostly climbing?

    Great thread this!

    Cheers

    Sanny

    PS Greenup Edge was a lovely day out for me meaning that you could take in three Wainwrights on the way.

    PPS Helm Crag. One side steep and tech, the other switchbacked flowing loveliness……

    Sanny
    Free Member

    Bikepacking the Wainwrights

    This is a great wee read to inspire!

    Cheers

    Sanny

    thegeneralist
    Free Member

    I would say Scafell Pike down the Corridor route would be a classic.

    Interesting. I met some muppet in Wasdale this year who had attempted Scafell Pike on August BH. He got a third of the way up and got told off by a ranger. So he went down a bit, round, and up a different path. But the Ranger spotted him and cane running over again…

    I’m all for access rights, but there’s a time as well as a place 🙂

    Fairfield is an absolute banger

    Agreed. Is thd anticlockwise horseshoe any good, or mostly pushing?

    thegeneralist
    Free Member

    This is a great wee read to inspire!

    Inspire us not to steer well clear. On reading the title I thought ” that sounds pretty shit”
    Reading the article made me realise ” that is indeed very shit”

    Sorry, I reckon cycle touring is a great idea on the right terrain but carrying a loaded bike up and down the Wainrights sounds like purgatory 🙁

    I recall watching the JennRiders come down from Styhead into Wasdale this year when I was walking up with the family. Can’t recall the exact numbers but around 3 out of 20 of them was riding. The rest were all walking. Seemed like such a waste of an awesome descent.

    I love techie riding and I have enjoyed the odd minor sufferfest, but carrying all that shit up and down hills ….. no way.

    fergal
    Free Member


    @sanny
    By NW off Skiddaw do you mean NE as this is the one mentioned above, really nice flow into Birketts edge, or did you mean the Wainwright route heading NE from the col between Skiddaw and Carlside, this is described as pathless to begin with in Wainwrights book on passes.

    fergal
    Free Member

    A really good loop on Fairfield is to Ascend ST Sunday Crag from Grisedale tarn, delightful singletrack from the summit leads down the ridge to the col below Copa pike, carry up this to Fairfield, then join the classic descent to Heron pike taking the right exit at a small cairn to Alcock tarn and swithchbacks galore.

    stevedoc
    Free Member

    Fairfield is brilliant. Im just debating tomorrow . Start in Keswick and spin up to Whinlatter to do the north then South loop with a carry up Grisedale and over Sail and Causey. Did it a few months back a bit of both kind of day.

    Anyways for those who want a little more help mapping https://maps.walkingclub.org.uk/hills/2442/causey-pike 😉

    Sanny
    Free Member

    @fergal

    https://www.ascendancyapparel.com/blog/2018/1/28/skiddaw-mtb-epic-do-not-try-this-or-maybe-do

    This is what I have been looking at but doing the climb as a descent.

    Cheers

    Sanny

    fergal
    Free Member

    Sanny fantastic looking adventure in winter conditions and well written!, reminded me of a minor epic a couple of winters ago on Skiddaw, Battling a whiteout with deep drifting snow on the upper mountain, the traverse below little Skiddaw to the gate was just banked out with drifting snow, we made it above the gate but visibility was down to a few feet, the path obliterated, amazing to think we were so close to Keswick pushing bikes like a couple of arctic explorers we turned around metres from the summit, Conrad was pretty oblivious to our predicament it would be dark in an hour, lower down the mountain descending icy trails we whooped with joy as the sun set.

    Sanny
    Free Member

    St Sunday Crag down to Ullswater is also a very worthy trail. I did it with my mate Pete and the wind was so fierce at the summit, we were blown around 180 degrees and slid towards the edge despite our brakes being locked up. It was a cracking day out though……..

    Cheers

    Sanny

    Sanny
    Free Member

    https://www.mudandroutes.com/hill_list/wainwrights/

    Here is another good resource for planning adventures…..

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