The Lakeland Loop


  • 202km / 125 miles – approx. 80% Off Road
  • A complete circumnavigation of the Lake District
  • A great mix of technical trails & wilderness riding
  • 3 days / 2 nights
  • Take a Bike Staycation in 2020
  • Some sections of old school hike-a-bike
  • Qualified bike guide & baggage transfers included
  • Over 7,000m / 23,000 ft of ascent
Number of Days: 3
2020 Land Only Price From: £495
Grade: Spicy
Group Size: 4-14
View: Kit List


Sat 21 Mar – Mon 23 Mar 2020 
Sat 4 Apr – Mon 6 Apr 2020 
Sat 11 Apr – Sun 13 Apr 2020 (Easter – Early Booking Essential) 
Sat 25 Apr – Sun 27 Apr 2020 
Sat 02 May – Mon 04 May 2020

If our published dates don’t suit then don’t worry.  We often run this trip for groups of 4 plus on demand. 
Call us on 01768 778848 to discuss your requirements.

Trip Overview

Day 1 Lakes & Passes – Keswick to Nether Wasdale

Starting from underneath the historic clock tower of Keswick’s Moot Hall it’s a flat warm up on tarmac for the first few miles.  In Thornthwaite we join the forest road and climb up through the verdant Whinlatter Forest – home to the superb Altura MTB Trails.  Topping out on Whinlatter Pass off road, we descent to Lorton before heading up and over the hills to Mosser and then down to picturesque Loweswater.  We loop around Loweswater on some sweet trails before a quick coffee stop at the famous Kirkstyle Inn.  Next it’s through boggy Mosedale and a lovely blast down to Ennerdale Water, where we meet the van for a picnic lunch.

The ride through Ennerdale and past Pillar on forest roads is stunning and has a real back country wilderness feel to it.  Soon we’re at the remote Black Sail Hut YHA Hostel at the top of the valley and a quick brew if they’re open.  The next 30 mins is the toughest part of today with the hike-a-bike section up to the top of Black Sail Pass (1,800ft), however, the superb technical descent down to Wasdale Head is the reward for the effort.

We finish Day 1 by winding down along the the tarred road by the shores of Wast Water, England’s deepest lake at 258ft, before arriving at our Hotel in the small village of Nether Wasdale.

What better way to round off a superb day’s biking than with a meal in the hotel followed by a pint in one of the village pubs and a sharing of today’s riding tales.

66km / 41 miles – approx. 77% Off Road. Overnight in a B&B/Hotel. Meal/s included: L

Day 2 Cross Cumbria County – Nether Wasdale to Crosthwaite

Today starts with a prologue ride through a gentle pastoral landscape which is soon left behind as we leave the valley and ascend onto the moor and up and over Irton Fell, including a short section of hike-a-bike.  The fast flowing descent that follows to Eskdale Green is a delight – technical enough to be interesting but not intimidating.  A little bit of tar follows along the Esk Valley to the foot of the ledgendary Hardknott road pass, where we turn off onto the trails again and some technical climbing.

Some bog hopping follows and we’ll soon see our next objective across the Duddon Valley – the Walna Scar Road.  Before that we’re on a nice descent on forest roads and bridleways down into the valley.

There’s no denying that it’s a tough climb up to the col at the top of Walna Scar Road (1,900ft).  Some folks ride a bit, others walk but either way our efforts are rewarded with a blinding descent on a loose and, in parts, rocky trail all the way down to Coniston and a picnic lunch.

It’s up and over the Grizedale ridge next including a detour around the best sections of the purpose built North Face MTB Trails which are followed by a couple of memorable descents (and short climbs) before catching the ferry across stunning Lake Windermere.

As per yesterday we use the last few miles of tarmac to wind down as we enter the lovely Lyth Valley and our welcoming B&B for the night.

63km / 39 miles – approx. 77% Off Road.  Overnight in a B&B. Meal/s included: B & L

Day 3 Not Your Average High Street – Crosthwaite to Keswick

Again quiet lanes and bridleways help ease us into the day as we meander our way to Ings.  Although early into the ride we stop here to top up our supplies for the day’s ride as the next stop and van meet up isn’t for 28 miles!

Hitting the trails once more we pass Dubbs Reservoir before soon starting the long climb up onto High Street (2,717ft) by following the route of the Roman Road of the same name.  Today is a stunning journey following an ancient road – one simply marvels at the thought of who must has passed this way over the years.  On a clear day the views are stunning – the Pennines, the Backbone of England, to the East and the, now familiar, Cumbrian Fells and Mountains to the West.

Today we spend a long time above 2,000ft on the High Street ridge so we need good weather for this section*.  The moor tops as we descent can often be boggy but the payback is a very long descent down to Ullswater and Pooley Bridge and. of course, a coffee.

A tough few hilly miles follow on quiet lanes before we’re back on the trails once again.  Joining The Old Coach Road we follow this hardpacked trail as it contours around the fells.  We’ve gained a lot of height so a plummet follows back down to valley level at St. John’s in the Vale.  Finally we join the old railway track for a traffic free off-road spin back to Keswick and journey’s end where it all started at the Moot Hall.

73km / 45 miles – approx. 85% Off Road.  Meal/s included: B & L

* Please note that in the event of unsuitable weather we have an equally challenging but lower level route for Day 3.  The Bike Guide’s descision, on the day, will determine which route is taken.

What’s Included

  • 2 nights accommodation*
  • All meals as detailed in the trip overview.
  • Meal Key: B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner. Please note that all lunches are picnic style and are designed to suit cyclist’s appetites.
  • All baggage transfers in our baggage vehicle.
  • The services of a Rather Be Cycling qualified Bike Guide.
  • The services of a Rather Be Cycling baggage vehicle driver / assistant.
  • A daily provision of Clif Bar nutritional products.
  • Access to commonly required tools, mechanical advice & assistance.

* All accommodation is allocated and priced on a twin occupancy basis. Please contact us for Single Occupancy Rates.

What’s Not Included

  • Travel to and from Keswick – the start and end points of the trip.
  • Suitable Travel Insurance covering you for mountain biking – recomended.
  • All drinks e.g. bottled water, coffees, teas, alcohol, etc.
  • Entry fees e.g. to visitor attractions, etc.
  • Spare / replacement bicycle parts & accessories e.g. tyres, tubes, wheel/s, etc.
  • Other expenses e.g. souvenirs, additional food, laundry, etc.
  • Tips – at your discretion.

Bike Spec

  • This is a cross country mountain biking cycling holiday over rough mountainous terrain and a modern, quality mountain bike – either full suspension or hardtail with suspension forks – is required.
  • The Lakes have some very rocky sections of trails and we suggest a minimum width tyre of 2.1 front & rear.
  • There are hike-a-bike sections where you will be carrying your bike.  The longest carry is on Day 1 and it’s approx. 30 mins, so please give some thought as to how you will carry your bike comfortably.
  • Your bike should be fully serviced, and thoroughly tested, before your holiday.