- Admiring the rugged natural beauty of the North Pennines
- Riding up to the top of Hartside – a Tour of Britain favourite – from both directions
- Miles and miles of quiet picturesque valleys and dramatic moorland
- Pedalling up to Alston, the ‘joint highest market town’ in England
- Cycling through the Howgill Fells, perfectly situated between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks
- Enjoying a well deserved pint of Sneck Lifter at the end of a day in the saddle
- Ascent: Non Riding Day
We arrive today at our perfectly situated hotel ready for a week of great riding through Cumbria, Northumberland and the Yorkshire Dales. Those choosing to drive to our base in the Eden Valley will be able to leave their vehicle safely in the hotel’s ample parking area for the duration of holiday. Rail travellers will be collected from Penrith station at pre-arranged, scheduled times and transferred by minibus to the hotel.
There are no guided rides scheduled for the arrival day however, depending on arrival times, those bringing their own bikes may wish to stretch their legs around the local lanes.
We’ll meet in the hotel bar or beer garden before dinner for introductions and an initial briefing from the Skedaddle team before enjoying our first evening meal together.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1100 Metres Approx.
The fun, and the challenges, begin almost immediately as we set out from the hotel, crossing the River Eden for the first time before we’ve barely completed our first kilometre. Having crossed the river at such an early stage, it should come as no surprise when the road starts heading uphill, which it does, as soon as we’ve ridden through Langwathby village centre, and continues to rise for 15km as we tackle the magnificent Hartside Pass.
At only 580m above sea level, Hartside could never be described as “a giant” but with its multiple switchbacks, steady gradient and wide-open views it certainly has the feel of something much bigger and it’s easy to understand why it has become a regular fixture in the Tour of Britain.
Having reached the summit, we will take a few minutes to admire the far-reaching vistas over the Lake District and beyond before preparing for the fantastic, rip-roaring descent into Alston, the “joint highest market town in England“, a title it shares with Buxton in Derbyshire.
At Alston we take a left turn and head west along a rolling road in the direction of Brampton, before joining a maze of minor lanes which lead us, ultimately back to where we started.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1800 Metres Approx.
We head out this morning to revisit the Pennines but this time in the opposite direction, travelling to the southeast initially as we warm ourselves up for the longest and most challenging day of the week.
We climb gradually as we weave our way through numerous small villages via gently rolling minor roads, reaching Appleby-In-Westmorland, itself straddling the River Eden and, at 32 kilometres into our ride, the perfect spot for a mid-morning coffee. Appleby-In Westmorland is renowned for the world-famous Appleby Horse Fair, the annual four-day event dates back to the 18th century and these days draws up to an estimated 40,000 visitors. Things will hopefully be a little quieter during our visit!
The roads continue to roll for a further 20kms until we reach Brough where we begin to rise out of the valley once again and head back into the Pennines. Here the gradients begin to increase and although not extreme we will experience double digits a few times before we reach our first significant summit 7kms along the road.
Our efforts are rewarded with 6kms of generally descending roads which lead us to Middleton-In-Teesdale where we cross the River Tees at a point that, historically, marked the boundary between County Durham to the north and Riding of North Yorkshire to the south.
Cycling on along the Tees valley the day is far from over as we press on to complete two more lengthy climbs, the second of which takes us back over Hartside Pass from the opposite direction before delivering us back to base.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1500 Metres Approx.
Having enjoyed two wonderful days riding in the Pennines, it’s time to head south for an excursion into Howgill Fells in the Yorkshire Dales. The terrain here is noticeably different, equally beautiful but somewhat lower with numerous shorter but punchier little climbs.
The Howgill Fells lie roughly in a triangle between the towns of Tebay, Sedbergh and Kirkby Stephen and our route today will cover two sides of that triangle and take us either through, or very near to, the centres of all three towns.
We begin gently with 20kms of rolling lanes before a series of short sharp shocks take us over the highest point of the day and around the western side of Tebay. It’s at this point that we enter the Howgills as we head south via a roller coaster profile, to the lovely, bustling Sedbergh. Thanks to the re-drawing of county boundaries, Sedbergh is a Cumbrian village, sitting within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. However confusing that may be, this most southern point of our tour is a perfect spot to regroup and enjoy a coffee.
A fantastic 15km climb followed by a steep 6km descent follows, taking us to Kirkby Stephen, soon after which we will retrace a short section of yesterday morning’s ride before the final, mainly downhill 20kms lead us home.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch
- Ascent: 1300 Metres Approx.
A slightly shorter day lies ahead as we round things off with a route that takes us along much of the northern section of the Eden Valley.
We change direction before reaching Carlisle in order to avoid riding through the city itself and head for the first time into the region to the northwest of Langwathby. A series of quiet country lanes will lead us into the far northeastern edges of the Lake District National Park where we spend much of the rest of the afternoon riding through delightful and seldom-visited, rural villages such as Heskett Newmarket, Mungrisdale and Greystoke.
We descend down into and through Penrith before one final, steep but short climb delivers us safely back to our hotel where we’ll pack up the bikes before one final evening together.
- Meals: Breakfast
- Ascent: Non Riding Day
All good things must come to an end and, sadly it is time to bid farewell. Drivers are free to check out and leave as they please and scheduled transfers back to Penrith Station will be arranged for rail passengers.
From our base in the Eden Valley our route takes us over a variety of terrains, ranging from some classic climbs over the wide hills of the North Pennines to the punchiest of short steep climbs and descents.
Road surfaces are generally good, however, as is the case in all rural regions, it is not uncommon to encounter occasional gravelly sections and potholes in some areas. Similarly, cattle grids, wandering sheep and other livestock are frequent. Good bike handling skills and a reasonable level of fitness are required.
For the most part, small, quiet country lanes have been chosen however we do occasionally venture onto larger busier roads. Traffic levels are generally low but can increase during holiday periods.
Road Cycling Grade
Moderate to Challenging. For more regular riders who like to push themselves a little from time to time. Not extreme but certainly challenging on occasions with some good climbing opportunities. Distances between 80-120km per day.
Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!
For more information about our grading system click here.
Is this suitable for you?
You’re an enthusiast. Road cycling is probably your main hobby and you ride regularly at weekends, staying on the bike for much of the day. You’re in pretty good shape, and you might also participate in cyclo-sportive events. You also love a challenge and are looking for a tour with some good climbing, preferably with an opportunity to tick off some famous Tour de France cols, or the like. You’re a competent descender, and you’re not afraid of speed, but you ride safely and within your limits at all times. You understand road etiquette and you’re comfortable riding in a bunch. You might even take a stint at the front of the pack if the need arises.
For more information about the grading of this holiday in particular, please check out the terrain section which will give you some specifics of what to expect on this tour.
Dates & Prices
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A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)
B) Meals as itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
C) Full support service including a guide qualified in First Aid and a back up vehicle carrying spares, snacks and extra equipment not needed on your bike
D) GPX files available upon request
E) Scheduled train station transfers on arrival and departure days
G) Financial Protection through ABTOT
What's not Included
A) Personal clothing and equipment
B) Travel insurance
C) Bar bills, telephone calls, souvenirs, etc.
D) Bike & helmet rental (available if required)
E) Travel or flight costs and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)
F) Single room option (may be available if required)
G) Entrance fees to cultural or historical sites and visitor centres
H) Other optional activities
I) Train station transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days
Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.
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