5 - 6 hours
The Caldbeck Fells lie to the north of Skiddaw, they are an area of high moors and rolling hills. Bleak and lonely these fells do not attract the crowds as do their southern neighbours. Great sweeps of open fells dominate the landscape relieved only by the becks. A network of ancient bridleways and old mining tracks circumvent this wilderness and provide excellent off road riding. The complete circuit of this area gives a long and exciting mountain bike ride for experienced riders, on good tracks with well-graded ascents and amongst lonely but spectacular scenery.
1. From Cockermouth head to the Overwater car park (GR NY 234 282). From the car park turn left to the T junction, then turn left again and head southeast to another T junction. Turn right and follow the road south for 3.2km to a bridleway on the left near Peter House Farm at GR NY 249 323 (signed for Skiddaw House).
2. Join the bridleway as it climbs southeast, first under the dark rocks of Dead Crags to Whitewater Dash, then up and over to Skiddaw House (Hostel).
3. From Skiddaw House take the bridleway that descends northeast across boggy moorland for 800m to a footbridge over the River Caldew. Cross the river and continue along the bridleway which climbs the other bank. The bridleway continues northeast following the River Caldew to a rough car park and road head after 5.6km. This section gives an excellent steady descent - enlivened by the odd beck!
4. From the road head follow the pleasant road east to a junction at Mosedale. Turn left and follow the road north to Calebreck.
5. At the bend (before the cattle grid) turn left and follow the track that climbs southwest (ignore the bridleway that climbs south). This track is followed generally northwest as it works its way around the hill side passing old mine workings to join the road at Fell Side.
6. Turn left onto the road and follow it through Branthwaite to a junction at Green Head. Turn left and climb the road to Holborn. Join the track and follow the Cumbria Way southwest to Longlands. Turn left onto the road and follow it for 1.3km to a turning. Turn right and follow the road back to the car park at the start.
|Time/Effort:||3 out of 5|
|Navigation:||3 out of 5|
|Technicality:||3 out of 5|
|Height gain/loss (metres):||950metres (3,117feet)|
|OS map:||OS Landranger 85 & 90, OS Explorer OL4|
- Start point: NY 122307 (near Cockermouth)