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Tucked away on the western side of Borrowdale is an old packhorse track. It descends towards Grange from part way down Honister Pass and nips behind the craggy ramparts of Castle Crag. It's a great descent on a mountain bike with a consistent gradient and the odd technical section for added interest. By making an ascent of Honister Pass on the road, an excellent tour of Borrowdale can be completed. There are plenty of opportunities along the way to stop and explore, most notably the Bowder Stone. So although it's not an overly hard ride it's worth setting aside a day to do. Terrain is craggy wooded valley, lake and high road pass.
Keswick - Bowder Stone - Grange - Portinscale - Keswick
3 - 4 hours
1. Head out of Keswick on the B5289 and South down into Borrowdale. Pass the turning for Grange and continue for 750m to a car park and turning on the left.
2. Take the track which leads after a short climb to the Bowder Stone. Continue past the Bowder Stone and descend the rocky track back to the road. Follow the road South, first through Rosthwaite, then through Seatoller and then to the bottom of Honister Pass. The first part of the climb is steep but eases after 1km allowing a breather before the final short pull to the top of the Pass.
3. Back track 1km down the road towards Seatoller until a left turn can be made onto a bridleway (just before the cattle grid). Follow the track as it contours round the fell to a col between High Doat and Dale Head. From this point make a short climb over the col and ignore the paths that temptingly drop down towards Rosthwaite. Once the col is crossed the track again becomes clear and is followed down for 3.2kms of exciting riding past Castle Crag and through a couple of fords in Dalt Wood to Grange.
4. From Grange follow the minor road on the West side of Derwent Water North past Manesty and Hawes End to a junction. Turn right then right again and continue North to another junction. Turn right and follow the road to Portinscale. From the East end of the village take the lane North to a footbridge over the River Derwent and then follow the lane on the other side to join the B5289 which is then followed back to Keswick.