New 800-mile cycle trail links Peak District to Cape Wrath for the first time

A new 800-mile trail has been launched linking the Peak District to Scotland’s most northerly mainland points for the first time.

Cyclists tackling the climb cyclists up Ingleborough. Picture credit: John Giles

Cycling UK said they were responding to the demand from cyclists to get away from traffic and city pollution.

Around 98 per cent of the Great North Trail is on bridleways, byways, cycle routes, unpaved roads and very low traffic minor roads.

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Established trails, such as the Pennine Bridleway and Cross Borders Drove Road, have been incorporated into the route, but research was also used to link these up with a network of trails, forest roads and abandoned railway lines.

Duncan Dollimore, Head of Campaigns, said: “We know that around a quarter of people who use the National Trails do so on bikes, yet only two of the 15 National Trails in England and Wales are fully open for cycling.

“We’ve created the Great North Trail because we recognised very little has been done to promote national off-road trails.

“For example, plans to extend the Pennine Bridleway to Scotland were published 20 years ago, but still haven’t been implemented.

“And yet we know there is an appetite for more cycling access to the countryside. Off-road trails can be ideal for families to ride safely, away from traffic and city pollution.”

The route runs through some of the North’s best-known landscapes including the Yorkshire Dales, Kielder Forest, Corrieyairack Pass, Loch Ness and Cape Wrath.

The cycling body was assisted by the Obscura Mondo Cycle Club’s work, who created a route from Glasgow to Cape Wrath called the An Turas Mor, Scottish Gaelic for “The Long Journey”.

The 354-mile stretch is said to require only “intermediate” off-road mountain bike skills - but is not for the faint-hearted, with riders having to contend with Scottish weather and 26,981 feet of ascent, and another 28,907 of descent.

The route is available to view online on the Cycling UK website.