Lakeland Passes is Cycle Britain’s tour, inspired by the Fred Whitton, recognised as one of cycling’s hardest one-day sportives. Our two-day itinerary allows more riders to tackle this epic route, but even over two days it remains a tough challenge. The elevation profile resembles the teeth of a crocodile, climbing up and whizzing down six of the Lake District’s most legendary climbs. These are mountain passes of fierce repute whose names evoke a mix of terror and excitement in even the most steely-legged cyclist: Honister, Hardknott, Kirkstone, Wrynose… Each climb seems to stretch forever. Brutal gradients tax tired legs. This route is a rite of passage for every road cyclist – and with the support of Cycle Britain, your attempt will be a success.
Of course, the backdrop for this grand theatre of cycling is the Lake District National Park, which offers some of England’s most rugged and remote landscapes. Panoramic cycling abounds as you pedal past glittering lakes and head into mountain scenery that verges on the alpine.
Over 2 days we rode all 6 major mountain passes including the infamous Honister Pass and Hardknott Pass on a grand tour of the Lake District. I had forgotten just how beautiful the UK can be. The support van followed us in case of mechanical failures or in case any participants could not make the ascents. The van set up frequent welcome feed stops en route, occasionally at the tops of the mountain passes.
109 miles / 2 Days
The fully supported, guided tours remove the hassle so all you have to focus on is the riding. Allow our guides to lead the way and teach you tips and tricks that will improve your cycling ability. Let our support vehicles carry your bags, resolve any mechanicals, and replenish your energy with feed stations and drinks. We’ll overnight at Hundith Hill Hotel, a Country House which guarantees rest, delicious food and splendid views of the Cumbria Fells.
For cyclists looking for fully supported independent cycling experiences, Cycle Britain offers a fully supported tour. Our support vehicles carry your bags, assist any mechanicals, and support you fully and are never far away. We monitor your progress and ensure you arrive safely.
For the cyclist that wants just baggage transfer, we provide the route and accommodation. This fully independent option has us in reserve just in case you need further support.
We restrict group sizes to a maximum of twelve riders to ensure our guides and support vehicle can exceed your expectations.
Tackle the Lake District’s six most legendary climbs and mountain passes.
The brief respite of riding beside tranquil lakes (Windermere, Ullswater, Loweswater.)
Accommodation and dinner at the Hundith Hill Hotel.
The satisfaction of completing Lakeland Passes.
Making new friends and enjoying the camaraderie of riding in a group of 12.
Exceptional service that exceeds your expectations.
Coaching from our expert guides.
Full vehicle support. We’ll carry your bags, distribute food and assist with repairs.
Clear options to cater for all cyclists. Fully guided and coached cycling, fully supported or self guided with baggage transfer.
Fully qualified cycling leader with British Cycling road cycling qualification and first aid certification
Full picnic lunch from our support van team on supported and guided tours
- Summary of the Tour
- Dates and Prices
- What’s Included
- What’s Not Included
Summary of the Tour.
Ambleside to Cockermouth (59.6 miles)
Leaving Ambleside, you have two flat miles to warm-up as you pedal along the shore of Lake Windermere. As you peel away from the lake, prepare to switch down to granny-gear for Kirkstone Pass. At 1490 feet (454 metres), this is the highest elevation of the route. It’s a long slog but only reaches a maximum elevation of 16%; far tougher awaits! After the descent, a rare flat section awaits as you head to Patterdale and then ride beside Ullswater in a coliseum of mountains. Most cyclists leave Keswick with trepidation; Honister Pass looms. Its relentless gradient reaches 25% and lift you up to 1168 feet (356 metres) before a steep and twisting descent demands extreme caution. Your tour guide will teach you techniques to help you descend safely. There’s not much chance to recover before Newlands Pass drags you to 1093 feet (333 metres), steepening to 25% at the top to reveal a stunning panorama. There’s even less chance to rest weary legs from the bottom of Newlands Pass before your climbing again. Whinlatter Pass (984 feet/300 metres) is the only climb that is forested almost to the top. You might appreciate the shade or windbreak these trees offer! From Whinlatter Pass, finally, the day’s end is in sight. Roll through Lorton Valley to your accommodation in Hundith Hall. Put your feet up; you’re only halfway around the Lakeland Passes!
Cockermouth to Ambleside (49 miles)
The second day’s riding again starts in a merciful manner, heading south on flat-ish roads through the Lorton Valley and beside Loweswater. Not until 15 miles in, do you reach the first major challenge of Cold Fell (951 feet/290 metres). This climb is as tough on the mind as it is on the legs, with many false summits and brief moments of respite yet the climb continues ramping up and up. From the top of Cold Fell, the route relents slightly. Sure, there are several climbs and undulations that extract more of your energy, but this is the calm before the storm and every mile you pedal drags the goliaths of Hardknott and Wrynose a little closer. Hardknott Pass (1289 feet/393 metres) is the toughest of all, reaching gradients of 33% on tight hairpin bends. Few cyclists make it to the top without walking the steepest sections. Even on foot, with 96.2 miles of cycling behind you, just making it to the top is to be commended. Be careful not to lose control on the steep and twisty descent. At last, only Wrynose Pass (1289 feet/393 metres) remains. This is shorter and gentler (*only* 25%) than Hardknott Pass, but this late in the tour you are sure to be dreaming of your victorious return to Ambleside. After a cautious descent, 7 miles of undulating terrain will bring you back to where you started. Congratulations, you’ve gone full-circle and completed the Lakeland Passes!
This two-day loop ride starts and finishes in Ambleside. Over 109 miles, it takes in six of the Lake District’s toughest mountain passes – a whopping 10,000 feet of elevation. The achievement of topping out one climb quickly gives way to anticipation of the next.
The Lake District National Park is one of England’s most-loved landscapes and this two-day itinerary allows for a more leisurely pace so you can really enjoy the riding. It’s hard not to love pedalling beside shimmering lakes and coursing through sheltered valleys. Even the challenging mountain passes become memorable with the support and coaching of the Cycle Britain team.
Dates and Prices.
4th September -5th September 2021£320
Two days of fully
supported cycling, lunch, drinks, bed and breakfast based on single occupancy
4th September -5th September 2021£280
Two days of fully
supported cycling, lunch, drinks, bed and breakfast based on shared occupancy
4th September -5th September 2021£275
Two days of self guided cycling, lunch, bed and breakfast based on single occupancy
4th September -5th September 2021£240
Two days of self guided cycling, lunch, bed and breakfast based on shared occupancy
4th September -5th September 2021£325
Two days of guided and fully
supported cycling. Includes lunch, drinks, snacks and bed and breakfast based on shared occupancy
4th September -5th September 2021£360
Two days of guided and fully
supported cycling. Includes lunch, drinks, bed and breakfast based on single occupancy
All our routes are available to our Komoot followers. Follow Cycle Britain on Komoot.
We book one night at the Hundith Hill Hotel, a luxurious Country House in the Lorton Valley.
Full Vehicle Support.
Our support vehicle and driver work hard behind-the-scenes. They carry your bags, prepare lunch, and distribute snacks, and assist with any medical and mechanical problems. The self-guided tour provides Exact detail dependent on the choice of tour as outlined in dates and prices section of website.
Our guides and mechanics are available to support your trip and answer any questions. Exact detail dependent on the choice of tour as outlined in dates and prices section above.
We provide breakfast, lunches, snacks and an evening meal at the Hundith Hotel. Exact detail dependent on the choice of tour as outlined in dates and prices section of website.
Daily luggage transfer.
We carry your bags between hotels so you don’t have to!
We are an official Komoot partner. Our full route notes will become available as soon as you are booked onto a tour.
Unrivalled knowledge of cycling in Britain.
We pride ourselves on being the experts in British Cycling.
Free nutrition, training and bike setup guides.
To help you prepare for this demanding tour, we provide information on what to eat, how to train, and how to setup your bike.
What’s Not Included.
Bike and Helmet.
Please provide your own road bike and helmet for this trip. Get in touch if you have any questions regarding whether your equipment is appropriate.
Transport to/from Ambleside.
This tour starts and finishes in Ambleside. The nearest train station is Windermere, four miles away.
We highly recommend you purchase travel insurance.
If you wish to stay in Ambleside the night before or after the trip, we would be glad to assist with this.
We provide one night of accommodation at the Hundith Hill Hotel, a beautiful Country House in the Lorton Valley. You are guaranteed a comfortable night’s stay with views overlooking the Cumbria Fells. Hungry cyclists will demolish the delicious, locally-sourced dinner found here.
This is a Grade 4 tour which means it is suitable ‘for those that want a challenge. These routes provide a challenge to complete steep climbs and descents’ and involve ’60 – 100 miles per day.’
The average daily distance is 55 miles. Over two days, you will climb 10,000 feet (3,000 metres).
Frequently Asked Questions.
Do you cater to vegan and vegetarian diets?
Absolutely! Inform us in advance of any dietary requirements and we will be glad to cater to you.
What level of fitness do I need?
This is a Grade 4 tour which means it is suitable ‘for those that want a challenge. These routes provide a challenge to complete steep climbs and descents’ and involve '60 – 100 miles per day.' The average daily distance is 55 miles. Over two days, you will climb 10,000 feet (3,000 metres).
What level of support is offered?
This trip has full vehicle support meaning everything you need is taken care of. We will deliver your bags to your hotel and provide breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinner. Our guides will lead the way and offer coaching technique to improve your climbing and descending abilities.