Finally! I’ve been trying to hit up this ride for a good while. The last attempt at this ride had to be abandoned, as I found some dodgy mechanical issue with my brakes at the top of the climb… and since Ullock Pike is supposed to be an exposed, technical trail… I decided to play it safe and go down an easier route.
Today though, the stars aligned and I got to go ride Ullock! I’ve heard lots about the ride previously – it’s just out of Keswick, a big slog of a climb to the top, and then a technical, singletrack descent over a bumpy ridge-line for a couple thousand feet. Apparently most of the trail rides well aside from a scrambly rock wall that requires climbing skills and a lot of dodgy manoeuvring to get you and your bike down. Looking down on the Ullock ridgeline from Skiddaw, the trail does look like a bit of a knife-edge… but in reality it’s not too exposed at all.
Started the ride with a bit of a road sesh – over past Applethwaite and turning into Millbeck to join a footpath that ascends straight up to Carl Side fell. It’s pretty much a steep grassy slope up to a ridiculously steep rocky slope….. which maintains its ridiculously steep pitch until the top. It does ease off slightly just below the summit, but by that point your calves are so fuckered it’s still a nightmare.
It was a stellar little ride – techy, fun, singletrack with fabulous views across the North Lakes one way, and out across Southern Scotland the other way.
The only catch was the ride was punctuated by a few little rocky outcroppings that I wasn’t too keen to ride by my lonesome (just in case I fell off!), and then a couple big rock walls that really aren’t rideable. This slowed things down a lot, but for me, the overall ride was worth the aggravation of the occasional stopping and starting. Really though, any mountain trail that I can hike-a-bike up and (mostly) ride down with a smile on my face, is worth the effort :).
Alrighty then, I will leave it at that for now. I highly recommend riding Ullock Pike, even though it’s a footpath (so in England, bikes aren’t technically allowed). Just pick your timing wisely (ie. not a bank holiday weekend), be gracious and courteous with any walkers you meet, and go enjoy the fabulous singletrack that Ullock has to offer.