#ColdDarkRides - Tim Fulford
#ColdDarkRides are here to inspire your winter planning and give you an insight into the roads that our friends in the Cold Dark North love to call their favourites.
The brief for some of our favourite local riders, brands and photographers remains the same: give us 5 photos and descriptions of the places you love to ride and a bit of blurb on yourself. Over the coming months we'll be sharing their secret climbs, epic rides and favourite spots here in the Road Gauge and on Instagram.
Tim is a recently qualified northerner having now lived and worked up here for 5 years. Originally from the south coast Tim initially moving to Cumbria to work in the Submarine Shipyard on the coast but it wasn’t long before the climbs and terrible roads of the Lake District had had their effect on him and he launched CyclingHub a social agency for Cyclists and the cycling industry.
Having been sporty all his life it was the routes, views and challenges around the north west that has now fully converted Tim into a cyclist. Despite it being glorious in Cumbria about 95% of the time, Tim is also partial to a little indoor racing (#UpYoursIndoors, Ed).
Corney Fell || 5.5km, 6.9%av
There are many different ways to approach the top of Corney Fell - which is effectively the Western-most fell in the Lake District - I have chosen the Duddon Valley route (and we usually choose the south-western most approach - it's great to have options - Ed).
You head alongside the River Duddon for a short time surrounded by lovely woodland, after the first mile is in the bag the gradient kicks up and you break out of the trees and over the first cattle grid. This is where the mental challenge kicks in as you are able to see the rest of the climb in front of you.
Whilst the climb doesn’t have the killer gradients of other lakeland climbs, it is right by the coast and any wind appears to be magnified. After cresting the climb you are faced with an infinite view to the Irish Sea and a superfast descent of the Northern side of the Fell.
Mill View (aka Bank House Moor) || 2.2km, 10%av
As you wiggle through Kirkby in Furness you see Kirkby Moor stretching out in front and more importantly above you, once out of the village you are surrounded by high hedges as the gradient begins to kick up. This is a real horror-show of a climb.
Once you see the first cattle grid you know it is about to get serious, not only is the next kilometre going to be averaging around 15% but it is also laid out in front of you, a straight line up the side of Kirkby Moor.
I tend to stem stare at this point so not to look at the pain to come. I can reckon looking behind you when you get the chance, the views of Black Coombe and the Duddon Estuary are fantastic.
Kiln Bank Cross || 1.8km, 9.7%av (on the harder North side)
I couldn’t really decided from which side to take on Kiln Bank Cross, but if you have made it to this climb you are guaranteed to have had a great ride, either down from Cockley Beck or up from Broughton in Furness.
From the south, you are climbing out of Broughton Mills, through some trees, past some houses and the odd farm. The climb works in pitches with the last being the steepest, just after the gate, yes you have to open a gate to finish the climb. From the North, you are most likely to have tackled Birker, Hardknott or Wrynose before getting there so your legs will be tickling.
I would say the northern side is more brutal, shorter, steeper and usually into any prevailing wind. The road surface doesn’t help either, a narrow Cumbrian road up to the summit and ensure you are seated over that last cattle grid. Kiln Bank does reward the effort though, to the north and west is the quiet Duddon and to the South and East is the industrial Furness Peninsula.
Torver (aka The Old Rake) || 1.4km, 7.6%av
As you are riding the Coniston to Broughton road you see the Old Rake climb rise up to your right, It is brutally steep from the road and gets down to business straight away.
Once the first kilometre is dispatched with, the climb really begins to reward you for your effort, not only do you have the glorious Cumbrian views of the lakes, but also down the valley to the Irish Sea and also north west over the climb towards the western lakes and Scafel Pike.
I would say it is a less ridden route than most, tricky at the start and end, but well worth it. (and Tim's the second Western Lakes local to choose this climb, so it must be a cracker- Ed)
Pork Hill || 8.7km, 4.7%av
I have been allowed a wild card into my top 5 and this one comes from the South West of the UK. Despite having lived in Cumbria for 5 years now since setting up CyclingHub, I spent my childhood in the south and south west. Pork Hill/RundleStone is known for it’s Tour of Britain appearances and is really a climb of two halves. Firstly out of Tavistock the road rises quickly away from the valley and up onto the lower slopes of Dartmoor.
Once you have tackled the first cattle grid you get some rest, diving down into the tiny hamlet of Merrivale. Once you have used as much speed from the downhill as possible you are out on Dartmoor Proper, little cover from the elements you are on open moorland, You still have 3km to Princetown where the high security 19th century prison greets you.
The sense of achieve is high with this one as you can see all the way down to Plymouth in the south and Cornwall in the West.
Tim's Cycling Hub brand is all over social media and you can find them on Instagram and regularly posting great cycling content on YouTube. In 2019, they helped us promote the Struggle Hill Climb and we're all hoping that's back with a bang in 2021!