This was part of a Lakes camping trip.
A lot of riders don’t think much of the North Face trail at Grizedale. e.g.: “pretty crap and dull TBH, got to the end and nearly asked for my car park money back,” (from Singletrack forum). Now I don’t think it’s that bad a route though it wouldn’t be my first recommendation for the area. The volunteer built trails at Gisburn or the superior centre at Whinlatter would be the first trail centres I’d suggest visiting.
It wends its way round the forest in typical trail centre style. After the initial climb it’s quite flat and it’s quite hard to work out where that height is given back as descent. It does have a fair amount of wooden board walks and a few bits of rock here and there. There’s nothing startling about it, agreed.
What it is needs is an extended remix. Take ingredient A: a slightly tired trail centre. Add ingredient B: some old school natural trails from Jame’s guide book. Mix them together. Whip it. Shake it. Stir it. Bake for 2 hours at gas mark 5. What do you end up with? A natural route with some bits of trail centre in it.
Only James and myself had the enthusiasm left for pedalling around after several days of rain. We parked at the Grizedale centre and set off on the bridleway east. After a steep climb this fairly wide track levelled off and then lead to a surprisingly fun descent. We’re talking rocks and drops on a gradual track descent. A road link lead to another climb and descent. A less interesting section between the saw mills and Dale Park.
It was worth it for the Breasty Haw descent. I was giggling like a girl by the bottom of this. A brilliant descent down a twisty track in a deep rock cutting with steps and jumps. We carried on giggling at the Old Breasty Haw sign.
After this we joined the North Face trail and followed that to its highest point. Then we turned west down a bridleway into the Coniston valley. This was long and flowing rather than steep. The descent was followed by a big climb back up to the trail.
We followed the trail almost to the end and then turned right up a big track climb to the top of the woods. Here we took another gem of a bridleway descent. This was quite steep and strewn with rocks and steps.
Finally we linked back onto the North Face trail via a track climb.
Verdict: an interesting ride that adds rocky bridleways to a so-so trail centre.
39km (24 miles), approx 1100m. gpx file
Back to the Lakes camping trip.