Trail submitted by Jonathan Walkingshaw


This ride is great because it's fairly short and can easily be polished off on a long evening, and because in the main it's not too testing. Dodd and Latrigg both have a number of other choice routes and are worth exploring. This route is flexible with variations which mean that it maintains your interest. Give it a go and see what you think.

Park up at by Keswick Spa where the parking is free, don the lycra and head into left at the mini-roundabout. You're heading right at your next T-junction and taking the exit for the A591 towards Carlisle at Crosthwaite roundabout. Get ready for a couple of road miles, tell yourself that it's good training and reflect nostalgically on the eighties when all you had to provide you with two wheeled pleasure was a Raleigh Winner and the open road!

Passing junctions for Applethwaite and Millbeck on your right, you'll notice Dodd Wood (AKA Thornthwaite Forest) stretching down to the roadside. This is the site of your first ascent and descent. You'll spy a neat little quarry on the roadside and a wide fire trail with a serious looking barrier across it, go around the barrier & fear not, you're allowed in and start ascending the fire trail. This climb isn't technical in the least, but it's fast which of course means that the descent comes all the sooner!

Follow the fire trail switch-backs until the road levels and you reach a turning circle. Here the fire trail splits, take the left fork and keep climbing. This trail takes you to the edge of the Forestry Commission property and you should find yourself with the open moorland of Skiddaw on your right and Dodd on your left. As you reach this point a narrower path doubles back left, ascending towards the summit of Dodd. Take this path and allow yourself a smile - that's the first ascent over!

The descent is every bit as straight-forward as the ascent, not technical but extremely fast. The narrow path begins to descend and takes a couple of long straight(ish) switch-backs back to the turning circle. Be warned, a fast finish on this section can mean propelling yourself over a fairly sizeable jump as you hit the fire trail. Try it if your insurance is good!

Now you're back at the turning circle, only this time you're smiling when you reach it. Now you can take the right-hand fire trail that follows the contours of Dodd until you reach an enclosed mossy knoll with a singletrack path leading right. Follow it if you dare! No, I'm serious, this section is not for the faint-hearted, it drops at about 1:5 on pine needles and then loose gravel taking a direct line to Scalebeck Gill where you need to be able to stop sharp or make a fairly serious jump & the choice is yours. Once you're over the beck you soon reach a small narrow road leading through Millbeck and Applethwaite. This is your next ascent.

Now I know that this ascent is on road, but a climb is a climb if you ask me, and this is a strenuous stretch of tarmac by any measure. However it's worth it because it takes you right to the top of that old favourite - Latrigg. This is a popular bump as it's high enough to be called a hill, yet low enough that most of the British public can ascend it without a guide - and they do! Ideally this descent should be made 'off-peak' during the evening or on a weekday for best results.

Taking the right at the car park on the top of Latrigg, drop down the trying lip into a fast and furious descent. There are gutters and two gates on route, but it's amazing fun, especially as it's wide enough to pass each other at most points. My only words of warning are watch out for the blind left-handers. There are a couple of them and to disrespect them is to enter a world of pain! At the bottom the track meets tarmac at a T-junction. Take the left and you'll soon find yourself back at the car with a thermos in your hand and mud on your teeth.

Small Print: No author nor the editor shall bear any responsibility for any mishap, injury, death or other incident or inconvenience suffered whilst riding any of the routes described. Anybody following any such route does so entirely at their own risk. Anybody wishing to ride on footpaths or other non-permitted routes does so entirely by their own risk.