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The Fred Whitton Challenge

This year the Fred Whitton Challenge is to take place on Sunday, 10th May.

Last year the weather was OK - though rather cold at times and occasional showers. It was the first time that the event had started and finished in Grasmere.

The official website is

The start and finish are at the Sports Field in Grasmere - the site of the annual Grasmere Show. From the start, the first 6 miles is pretty flat along the A591. The route passes through Rydal, Ambleside and Waterhead, then south along the East side of Windermere, before turning left into Holbeck Lane soon after the Low Wood Hotel. This is the start of the first major climb of the day - Kirkstone Pass and immediately the road begins to climb quite steeply.

The first section of Holbeck Lane involves quite a bit of steep climbing, before levelling out through Troutbeck village. After the village, the rooad undulates somewhat and then descends to a slightly awkward T-junction with the A592 - the main road from Windermere to Patterdale and Glenridding.

A left turn here and the road climbs steeply in places for about 3 miles before reaching the highest point of the day - Kirkstone Pass, 454 m and 14.7 miles into the ride.

Follow the ride up Kirkstone here :

From the top of Kirkstone, the very steep descent drops down past Brothers Water, through Patterdale and Glenridding then along the western edge of Ullswater, before turning left on to the A5091. This road climbs quite steeply up through Dockray and Matterdale End, before flattening out, eventually reaching the A66. Here, the route turns left and follows the main road for several miles into Keswick (37 miles).

Through Keswick and on to the B5289, down Borrowdale, along the Eastern shore of Derwentwater. Shortly after passing through Rosthwaite, the route reaches Seatoller, where the road climbs VERY steeply at the start of the ascent of Honister Pass. The lower part of the ascent is a challenge (to say the least!) then levels out somewhat before the final climb up to the Youth Hostel and slate mine at the top of the Pass (356m).

I recently cycled up Honister and recorded the ascent. Unfortunately, I had some gear problems and had to stop and sort them out - so terminated the video recording. I did climb all the way up (honest!) - I will do it again in the near future and post the video.

From Honister Hause, the descent is extremely steep down to Gatesgarth and along Buttermere to the very welcome (and much needed!) feeding station at Buttermere Youth Hostel (52 miles)

Shortly after leaving the feeding station, there is a right turn by the little church of St James (where there is a memorial to Alf Wainwright) and the start of the third major climb up to Newlands Hause. This involves an initial steep climb, before a long drag, then another steep bend up to the Hause (333m)

Ascent to Newlands Hause :

From the top, there is a long descent to Braithwaite (60 miles), before the fourth major climb, Whinlatter Pass.

More to follow!

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