5 Toughest Cycling Climbs in the UK

Think your quads are up to a challenge? Or want to test out that new electric mountain bike or electric road bike on an incline that will put your new model through its paces? Here at Swinnerton Cycles, we know a thing or two about tricky terrain and we have created a list of 5 of the toughest cycling climbs across the UK for you to try out – if you’re brave enough of course. 

Cycling Incline

The United Kingdom has a whole host of terrains, tracks and routes for you to explore and depending on your experience level and fitness capabilities. So without further ado, here is our list of the 5 toughest cycling climbs in the UK and how to tackle them. 

1. Hardknott Pass, Cumbria

Situated in Eskdale, Cumbria – Hardknott Pass is one of the hardest inclines in the UK (the word ‘hard’ is even in its name). Notoriously difficult from both directions, the Hardknott Pass includes a steep climb into woodland and onto 25% corners and 30% slopes which will either require you to use your electric motor or sustain stamina and willpower to continue. The maximum gradient is along the stretch is actually 33%. The length of the Hardknott Pass is approximately 2.25km with a height climb almost totalling 300 meters (it actually sits at 297m – but your cycling friends will benefit from you bragging and rounding up to 300m). Estimated at around a 15-minute climb, Hardknott Pass is designed to be ridden by the elite – do you have what it takes? 

How to get to Hardknott Pass

To get to Hardknott Pass, you should leave the A595. Once you have left the A595, you should head East towards Eskdale to Irton Pike and along through Eskdale Green. Continue through Beckfoot and you will find the base of the climb at Jubilee Bridge. 

2. Great Dun Fell, Knock, Cumbria

Now you have to be either a professional or completely crazy to try this one. Great Dun Fell is located in Knock and like most of the best/trickiest inclines in the UK is in Cumbria. At the top of the ridge, you will be welcomed by the incline’s ‘golf ball’ like structure and a sense of pride in your chest and quads that are on fire. 

With a length of 7.25km, this is one of the longer climbs on our list and has a whopping height of 638m. The average time of completion is around 40 minutes and you will find inclines of around 25%. 

How to get to Great Dun Fell

To get to Great Dun Fell, you will need to leave the A66 on Appleby-in-Westmorland. Continue north past Dufton and you will arrive in Knock. You will then find the base of the climb on the first right out of the village. 

3. Fleet Moss, Yorkshire Dales

A change of scenery from the climbs of Cumbria with the next on our list with Fleet Moss, Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales. The Fleet Moss climb is scenic and you will be surprised at the amount of sheep that you see on the climb. One to watch out for on this particular climb is the road quality as it is located by farms and you will find that large sections of the road aren’t in the best condition from tractors. 

With challenging inclines, you can expect to be riding for around 20 minutes from the bottom to the top. Fleet Moss sits in the mid-range of difficulty at 5.34km and a height of 323m. 

How to get to Fleet Moss

Leave the A684 and head south on Gayle Lane towards Gayle. Continue through the village and over the river and you will need to turn right and find yourself at the bottom of Beggarmans Road where you can begin your climb.

4. Bushcombe Lane, Gloucestershire

At its steepest point, Bushcombe Lane in Woodmancote, Gloucestershire is at a gradient of 27%. The gradient of Bushcombe Lane kicks in and gets steeper, so this is the perfect choice for you if you want to test your endurance and stamina. This has been named as one of the trickiest climbs in the UK, due to the way in which the gradient increases and because of its evil left-hand bend. 

Bushcombe Lane is 1.54km and has a height of 167m. The average cyclist will complete Bushcombe Lane in around 9-10 minutes. 

How to get to Bushcombe Lane 

On the ​​A435, head East towards Bishop’s Cleeve on Finlay Way. Once you are here, you will find yourself on Station Rd where you will continue and take the 3rd left after the railway crossing onto Bushcombe Lane. It is clearly signposted as you will see below.

5. The Lecht, Cock Bridge, Aberdeenshire

Our final climb is The Lecht in Aberdeenshire and this one is trickly from the offset. This is your warning. You will start your journey at Corgarff castle to stunning views and as you climb the 20% gradient, you will appreciate the surrounding beauty as well as the motor on your electric bike

After the initial climb, the terrain will level out and even descent slightly before you get to the mammoth climb that will take you up to ​​Alpine-style Ski Centre.

The Lecht sits at 3.01km and has a height of 245m. On average, The Lecht will take you around 20-21 minutes to complete from the bottom to the top. 

How to get to The Lecht

To reach The Lecht, you will want to head into the mountains from the Ballater on the A939 where you will come to Gairnshiel Lodge. You can then begin the climb just past the bridge near Corgarff Castle at Cock Bridge.

Now that you have seen the challenging terrain, how many have you completed or plan to take on? Let us know and follow us on Instagram and tell us which climb you found the most challenging.

Comments are closed here.